My daughter is exclusively breastfed, and she asks to eat about every 2-3 hours. Sometimes it is just not practical to rush back to your house to feed the baby. My liberty of movement is important to me, and as such has led me to feed my little girl in various different places that I would never have expected throughout her first 3 months of life.
Places I have breastfed my baby:
- On the side of the highway at a park-n-ride overlooking the St. Lawrence River
- My father-in-law’s bedroom (uh…it was way less sketchy than this sounds)
- In a yoga studio
- At a CLSC (community health clinic)
- In the parking lot outside my office (in the car)
- Ikea Boucherville (they have a sweet set-up for nursing!)
- Waterbury, Vermont
- Promenades Saint-Bruno (top of the line “salle d’allaitement”, but a bummer men aren’t allowed. Papa waited outside.)
- US Consulate in Montreal (security cleared!)
- On a movie set (no joke, but no, we’re not stage parents, it was a favour for a friend who is a filmmaker)
- In the bathtub, in bed, on the couch, in front of the TV, in the kitchen…
- All over my house!
I’m looking forward to feeding her:
- At the office on lunch break when Papa brings her to visit
- In the garden on lazy sunny summer days
- Anywhere, every day!
Some general observations about feeding your baby on the go:
- What you wear makes a difference. Whether you are a fan of the tank top underneath tactic or the draw-back v-neck thing, there are two major comfort/practical considerations: 1) you need a good nursing bra no matter what and 2) make sure you are comfortable with the various states of undress you may find yourself in. For instance, if you are wearing a dress that zips up the back that you need help getting in and out of – that may not be your most pragmatic choice.
- If you ask, “Are you comfortable with me feeding my daughter here?”, people either say “No problem, go ahead!” and actually mean it or they say “No problem, go ahead!” with a terrified and freaked out look on their face. And then they proceed to either frantically avert their eyes, stare at my breast, or make intense I’m-not-looking-at-your-breast eye contact with me. Either way, I appreciate every effort made to make me feel comfortable while I care for my baby. It is very endearing.
- Nursing covers or hoods are crap. At least in my experience. My baby doesn’t like having the hood over her and she gets all hot and agitated. When she starts squirming around, the hood gets all displaced and I end up flashing people anyway. Also, it’s not true that you can see your baby while nursing with the hood unless you position it perfectly and then neither of you move! Like that is going to happen!
My advice to new nursing mothers:
No matter where or when you end up feeding your baby, like other parts of parenting, go with what feel right and comfortable for you. Your baby and its health comes before anyone else’s breast issues.
My feminist rant:
I never intended for this post to be about public breastfeeding as a cause. I am not even terribly comfortable feeding my baby in all of the wacky places I’ve done it so far. Sometimes, though, duty calls. Baby gets hungry. And when you are a mother, your baby’s needs just surge ahead of anything and everything else. I am physically incapable of letting my child cry or stuffing a pacifier in her mouth when she is hungry. And babies can get hungry any time! Even when you just fed before leaving and hoped to be back in time for the next one. Parenting is a lot of gray area – things don’t always work out the way you planned!
Nonetheless, I had never really considered my feelings about what I considered a battle that I felt concerned others willing to take up the fight, not me. My thoughts on the issue started to gel for me when reading this fabulous blog post by the Feminist Breeder. I realized that if you are a nursing mother, you automatically have to deal with the nursing in public issue unless you plan to hole up in your house for 6-12 months and never invite anyone over. If that’s your plan, great. If not, there will likely be a time in which you’ll have to breastfeed in front of relatives (some of whom can be the most freaked out!), strangers, medical professionals, men, children and pets.
I now firmly believe that it is good for everyone to observe breastfeeding. Not ALL the time. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish my sweet, intimate feedings with my little girl with her beautiful eyes looking up at me as we snuggle and feed. But, it should not be treated as something that is secret or shameful that must be closeted and put out of sight, either. In fact, I believe that public exposure to breastfeeding would go a long way in the battle against they hypersexualization of women and girls. If we demonstrated and accepted the breast as something other than an object of sexual arousal and desire, but rather as a life-giving resource, perhaps the way women’s bodies are viewed in general would be more balanced. The more we saw it, the more comfortable everyone would be! Youth would grow up respecting the power of a woman’s body to create and carry life for 40 weeks and then provide nourishment for that little being into toddlerhood.
It really is a beautiful and amazing thing. We should all revel.
Feel free to comment: Where are some notable places you’ve breastfed your baby?