Friday, July 30, 2010

Do It All Over Again

A couple of months ago, McKay and I were talking to someone about nursing in public. Overall it was a positive discussion, but there was one comment that has stayed with me. I had been saying that Margaret doesn't nurse much in public anymore: about 1-5 minutes when it does happen.

"But you'll need to think about how you'll be doing it again pretty soon," he said, eyeing my belly.

"Oh, right."

I think he thought that with all I've been through about nursing in public that I would be more "careful" the second time around. You know: make sure I 'train' my next baby to be under a cover or make sure I always use layers of clothing (I did this for 18 months with Margaret until she decided that she didn't like cloth by her face).

You see, with my second baby coming, I have the chance to start over! Be a 'good' public nurser and not cause waves. And this made me wonder: what would I say to the person who was myself 2 years ago when I was learning to nurse in public the first time around? What would I do differently this next time around?


The first time you nursed in public, it was at a Burger King. You were nervous. There was a table of teenage boys a couple of booths away and Margaret was only a few weeks old. You were leaking, leaking, leaking and still learning how to help Margaret latch quickly and on the first try. You didn't know how your first attempts to nurse in public would be and your hands were shaky and you looked around nervously as you latched her on. That's ok. Take as long as you need to make sure the latch is good, accept the fact that you just might be soaked in breastmilk for months, and know that no one's really looking at you and no one really cares.

When you wrote your first post about nursing in public, you nervously clicked "publish." Try clicking "publish" with purpose instead of anxiety. It'll be good for you.

There's a secret to nursing in public: do it confidently, even brashly. Be strong. When your baby is hungry, don't hesitate and put off nursing until later because of what others might think. That stranger isn't the one who will be in bed for the rest of the weekend getting over mastitis if you put off the next nursing session too long. Also, it's better to latch when the baby's first hungry instead of waiting until they are screaming their lungs out. Breastfeed the way that is most comfortable for you and the baby. This will make it easier to latch and relax which will reduce squirming and fussiness in your baby - ultimately leading to less attention on you! The more you do NIP, the easier it will be. Each stage comes with its own difficulties, but you can do it. I promise. After all, hindsight is 20/20.

-The More Experienced Heather

So yes, I will be doing it all over again. And this time, I'll have new challenges to consider: Will I tandem nurse in public? Will I even be able to do that at home with a limited-size lap? But I also have 2 years' experience and a lot more gumption this time around. I will make this "first time" better than the last.
___________________________ is grateful to Heather for allowing us to share her NIP guest post. Heather/TopHat is a mom to a 2 year old nursling, Margaret, and just recently little Isaac who was born last weekend. She knits, blogs, and is most well-known for organizing the nurse-in at Facebook Headquarters in December 2008.


I love this! Thank you for writing and sharing it! I could definitely teach the first-timer version of myself a thing or two now as well. : )

Great post. Pretty much sums up what I would've told myself before I had #2. He's 4 1/2mths old now and NIP is so much easier this time around. I have a lot more confidence in myself and know that it's no big deal -- the little guy's gotta eat!

That made me tear up a bit. It was so touching. Great idea!

If I could do it all over again, I would make sure my husband understood NIP the way I do. I would get him on my side. Having that support would have done so much for me.

I see that younger version of myself all the time in new moms! I cant remember the last time I saw a person besides myself nursing in public without one of those ridiculous covers! I always used a blanket with my first, but now with my third, I dont even hesitate to pop a boob out of the top of my shirt ;) I figure if it gives the teenagers an eyeful, Id rather have them looking at a normal functioning breast than an airbrushed, fake-tanned, plastic one! when my sons are teenagers I hope they'll be able to notice a woman breastfeeding without turning red or gawking.

That's wonderful! I'm so glad that your resolve for the next time is just to be more resolved. I would write a similar letter to my new-mama self.

I am so grateful my husband has had nothing but good to say about nursing in public. Having a partner's support can make such a difference in your own comfort. I'm glad that even those of you without complete support have been able to make it through.

I hope you feel more comfortable this time around. You are brave, and your courage will inspire others! You are doing more good in the world than just giving your baby excellent nourishment!

I do feel more confident this time around! Being the mom of 2 means I don't get "well-meaning" new mom advice. It's wonderful. I have nursed both my kids in public over the past few weeks without any reservation! At this point with my first, I was still nervous and fumbling.

Post a Comment

Please read the comment policy before posting. In short, "We encourage thoughtful, mature debate on everything we post. It is our desire to host a thoughtful, encouraging community for breastfeeding parents and those who support us. If you find yourself disagreeing with most of the content here, there are many other websites/communities where you might feel more comfortable."
If your comment does not conform to the policy, it will be deleted without notice.
All comments will be held for moderation, we apologize for the delay.