Tag Archives: nursing in public.

Breastfeeding and the Tire Garage

A few months ago, as I walked across the parking lot toward our local Michael’s craft store, a man approached me.

He looked to be about 75 years old or so, with white hair and a hunched-over posture. “Hey! You wanna see somethin’?”

Oh sh*t, are you serious? A dirty old man, in the middle of the day, on the ONE day I ever get to go out by myself for an hour?

He was. (Serious.) And he wasn’t. (A dirty old man.) He showed me a license plate on his car with characters on it I didn’t recognize. He explained that it was from Japan, and that his wife had had it shipped here for him. He explained that he had met her back when he was serving in the war overseas, and that he had brought her back with him and they were still married today. He told me that I’d never see another license plate like that again, and that I should take a look at it now, while I had the chance. And then, he pulled out an old, weathered photo of his wife, a very young Japanese woman in a flowered dress, and told me that she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, and that he only wished he had more years to spend with her. Continue reading

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Breastfeeding Blog Hop: Overcoming Obstacles

Hi, friends! This post is my contribution to Week 6 of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop, hosted by Life With Levi(@LifeWithLevi.) This week’s topic is Obstacles. When you’re done reading, please visit the rest of the blogs on the link list and share the BF love! I can’t host the linky myself for technical reasons, but you can find it, along with the instructions for the hop, by clicking on the button here:

Overcoming Obstacles

Is breastfeeding easy, or is it hard?

I often feel like I contradict myself when discussing the topic of breastfeeding. On one hand, I feel like it’s the easiest, most natural thing in the world. Your body is made for it, it doesn’t require any mixing, heating, measuring or sterilizing. You don’t even have to get out of bed at night to nurse if you don’t want to. It’s the biological norm, custom formulated for your baby, always available, and free!

On the other hand, breastfeeding has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced.  No matter how dedicated you are, it can be hard.

But how is that possible if it’s so easy?

Because as a breastfeeding mom, everywhere you turn you will find an obstacle in your way.

My obstacles? I had headaches for months that made it so I couldn’t even hold my baby, and then I had to return to work 65 miles away, which made for long days of pumping on the job. At 15 months, my son still doesn’t sleep through the night, and I’m always exhausted. I don’t know any other breastfeeding moms, so I get questioned (challenged) a LOT and had few places to turn for help until I sought them out.

Common obstacles to breastfeeding are many, including:

  • Interventions during birth that delay the initial breastfeeding experience, making it harder to initiate…
  • A myriad of health issues and physical differences (mom or baby) that can cause difficulties without the specific knowledge of how to accommodate or fix them
  • Sneaky formula samples or propaganda featuring charts on transitioning your baby to formula as though it were just the normal, expected thing to do…
  • Well-meaning but misinformed peers telling you that you can try to breastfeed, but it most likely won’t work (because it “didn’t work” for them) so you should have a backup plan…
  • Workplaces that are not supportive of breastfeeding or do not allow working moms the time and space to pump as needed…
  • A cultural perception of breastfeeding as “weird” or “inappropriate,”  which can cause women to not want to breastfeed, or cause them to feel self-conscious, ashamed, or even fearful of confrontation when they have to feed their babies away from home…
  • That friend or family member who wants you to hide away – even at home – and constantly tells you that it’s time to stop nursing now for one reason or another…

I could go on all day. Obstacles and “booby traps” are around every corner, but I think that trying to take on each one individually would require more time than any of us busy moms have.

In thinking about the topic of “obstacles,” I am reminded of the obstacle courses I used to play on as a child. Even at that age, I knew that an obstacle was something to dodge, climb or hurdle so I could reach my goal of finishing the course. So, my advice after 15 months of nursing is to put your effort into tackling the biggest obstacle of all: self-doubt.

How?

Read books. Research online. Learn, learn, learn. Anticipate common problems, and find out what to do before they arise. Talk to other nursing moms. Find a support system that you can call on at 3am. Get to know your local LLL. Save a Lactation Consultant’s number in your phone. If you are told to supplement or stop nursing, seek another opinion. And then seek another one. When those things sound enticing to you because you are sore, tired and frustrated, ask for help. When you are told that nursing will be hard, know that you are up to the challenge. When you need to nurse in public, ignore those who gawk and know that there is an entire community of moms – generations of moms – standing beside you. Be firm with your employer that time to pump is necessary and non-negotiable, then negotiate how to make it work. Be proud of your milestones. When you are told that you can’t for any reason, know that you CAN, and don’t let anyone plant that seed of self-doubt.

Because once you empower yourself and overcome the obstacle of self-doubt, none of the other ones will have the power to trip you up quite as much.

Jump those hurdles, mamas! Yay boobies! :D

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(note: I fully recognize that there are some rare issues that make breastfeeding impossible, and the intent of this post is not to discount those issues. I am a firm believer, however, that the vast majority of negative or unsuccessful breastfeeding experiences could be remedied with proper support and education.)

What obstacles have you faced in your breastfeeding journey?

Did you overcome them? How?

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Breastfeeding Blog Hop: NIP with a Toddler!

Hi, friends! This post is my contribution to Week 5 of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop, hosted by Life With Levi (@LifeWithLevi.) When you’re done reading, please visit the rest of the blogs on the link list and share the BF love! I can’t host the linky myself for technical reasons, but you can find it, along with the instructions for the hop, by clicking on the button here:

So there I was, in the mall on a snowy day in January, with a rambunctious 14-month-old who would not hold my hand or allow me to carry him. He wanted to run, and he let me know it. Rather than completely “abort mission,” I called my husband to come pick him up so I could finish my errands.

“I’ll be there in a half an hour.”

I figured I could kill that much time, but I was exhausted, and my son was getting hungry. Then, he pinched my nose – a sure sign he wanted to nurse. Now.

So, the answer was obviousJust sit down and nurse him, right? It would give me the chance to sit and relax, while reigning in the hungry monster and undoubtedly replacing his defiant mood with a much happier one.  (I’m always amazed at the magical effects a few minutes at the breast can have.)

Except that our mall doesn’t have a nursing room, and I haven’t nursed in public in a loooong time. It just doesn’t come up that often for us anymore, and this is no docile, cooing infant.

I’m now nursing a toddler, which is a whole different ballgame.

Why?

Because a toddler doesn’t just lay there in your lap and nurse like an infant does. Not in my experience, anyway. My son can start out being cradled in my arms, then turn in the complete opposite direction, get down off my lap, stand on the floor, grab a toy, and crawl back up on me, all without unlatching! And he does it often.

He also has a tendency to get my milk to let down, and then unlatch to yell “Dada!” or grab a cracker, leaving me spraying the room.

Or, he twiddles, or pats my breast, which he insists be bare. The very idea of a nursing cover is downright laughable at this point. When I nursed him as an infant, nobody even knew. But things are much different now….

None of this bodes well for a “discreet” nursing-in-public experience. But the question I asked myself that day myself was, why do I even feel like I need to be discreet?

It’s no secret that many people have a problem with women nursing in public. I see it on the social media sites I frequent, I hear it in the news, I feel it out in public. I experience it firsthand from people who know me personally and tell me that nursing my son is “disgusting.” (Notice I don’t refer to them as my friends.) When people aren’t telling you it’s downright weird to nurse your child, they’re usually telling you that they don’t mind what you do, as long as you’re discreet.

…as if giving you their conditional permission. :???:

First off,  “discreet” is a totally relative term, and frankly, I have to look at offensive indiscretions all the time (Hello butt-crack dude, I’m talking to you!) In my opinion, a statement like the one above does nothing but negate itself and cause nursing moms to know, without a doubt, that they are being judged.

Plus,  I’ve noticed a huge change in public perception since I’ve been nursing a toddler. Some many people get more than rude when they find out you’re nursing a child over a few months old.  I guess maybe it comes down to the inability to separate the sexual breast from the nourishing breast, but they think it’s just downright WRONG, and they are not afraid to speak their minds.

Now, I’m not a timid person, and I’m known to speak my mind when I don’t agree with the masses, which is often. But when it came time to nurse my son in public because he was acting out and obviously hungry, I couldn’t help but think about the anti-BFing hatred I’ve seen spewed on Twitter, and those moms I see in the news who are thrown out of public places for nursing. I will freely admit that there was a part of me that felt intimidated and scared without the safety of my home around me.  But then I thought of the many other groups who feel that way when they leave the house, those who are told, “I don’t care what you do in the privacy of your home, as long as nobody has to see it …” as if that remotely resembles acceptance.

….the same-sex couples who fear holding hands in public

…the interracial couples who have to stand up to disapproving glares in public

…those who do not fit traditional dichotomous gender roles who have to put on an armor of defenses just to step out into public

…It even reminded me of the young boy from my local area who recently walked 11 miles in the rain, and stepped out in front of a truck to end his life because he was sick of being scared and bullied every day.

Because that’s exactly what it is when you infringe upon someone’s legal rights, and belittle them or attack them or harass them because what they’re doing doesn’t fit your personal idea of what “should” be. It’s bullying. And it’s wrong.

Let me be clear before you think I’m the most dramatic woman on the planet: I wasn’t terrified of nursing my boy in public. It just really, really  bothered me that such a simple thing made me so uneasy, and stirred up so much emotion in me. It bothered me that our culture, as a whole, has made the climate such that I had to even think twice about meeting my son’s needs. So, when I was faced with the question  – To NIP or not to NIP – I thought about the kind of person I want my son to see when he looks at his mother. So I found a bench, and I put my walking, talking, mouth-full-of-teeth, “old enough to ask for it” toddler son to my breast, and I did it for everyone who ever felt singled out, discriminated against, judged, or harassed. I did it for the one young mama-to-be who might walk by and feel inspired. I did it for the children who need to see breastfeeding mothers in the mall more than they need to see 10-ft. Victoria’s Secret posters.

I did it for my son’s sons and daughters.

And I’ll do it again.

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Thanks for sticking it out through my novel-length post. Have you ever nursed a toddler in public? I’d love to hear about it!

About me: I’m Wendy, the first-time breastfeeding mama of an almost 15-month-old little boy. I don’t know another BFing mom IRL, so I’m happy to meet you! I’ve been working full-time away from home for the past year, and we’re very proud to have made it this far – 18 months is our next goal! We are a cloth-diapering, bedsharing, AP-style parenting family, and we love to garden and learn about how to make our lives happier and healthier, day by day. Thanks for visiting ABCs and Garden Peas!

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One Whole Year Event Day 4: BabyBond!

Welcome to Day 4 of my One Whole Year Event! (Remember, to enter you must visit the original One Whole Year giveaway post, and complete the mandatory entry first. ALL extra entries must also appear on THAT post!)

So far, I’ve announced 3 prizes in the package:

  • One Kawaii Minky Bamboo one size cloth diaper in the new olive green color
  • The in-stock baltic amber teething necklace of your choice from Inspired by Finn!
  • A prize bundle from HappyBaby, including the book, HappyBaby: The Organic Guide to Baby’s First 24 Months!

This is kind of fun, isn’t it? :D

Today’s featured sponsor is BabyBond!

As I’ve mentioned, my son and I have been nursing for over a year now. We haven’t nursed in public much, although I believe that every woman should have the right to nurse, and feel comfortable about it, wherever and whenever the need arises. I don’t do it often because we usually keep our shopping trips, etc., pretty short, and because I am not that excited about pulling my shirt up…not because I don’t want to show a boob, but because my post-pregnancy tummy is not something I want to show off. But I don’t have to worry about that anymore! BabyBond is the answer to easy nursing any time, any place!

The BabyBond nursing wrap is brilliant! It’s a small, discreet wrap that is worn like a sash, allowing you to nurse from the top of your shirt. It covers mommy, not baby, allowing for a much more pleasant nursing experience than you get with most nursing covers. Many people will say, “Oh, just cover yourself up with a blanket.” But it’s not that simple. It never worked for us.  Sometimes it’s too hot, and sometimes baby just won’t have it. My son would never nurse with a blanket over his head. Can you imagine eating that way? No baby should ever have to.

The other big plus about the BabyBond is that it allows a face-t0-face connection between mommy and baby. I absolutely live for those moments when my son looks up at me with sleepy eyes as he eats, or when he reaches up and touches my face or my hair and flashes a sweet smile. BabyBond allows me to keep those moments, and that’s a true gift.

Other items of note:

  • BabyBond is made in the USA.
  • Machine washable
  • Rolls up into it’s own self-storing pouch, and takes up very little room in a purse or diaper bag.
  • 100% cotton (a lovely, soft fabric that looks great and wears comfortably.)
  • Check out BabyBond’s philanthropy page. Impressive!

I tried really hard to get a photo of us nursing with our BabyBond, but my son happens to be going through a phase where he is incredibly distracted by the camera. These shots are not the best (yes, that is what my hair looks like on the weekend :( ), but I think you’ll get the idea. (For lots of great pics of the wrap in action, visit  BabyBond’s website )

FYI, he IS latched on in this photo, and you can’t even tell…

The decision to breastfeed your baby should never mean that you have to feel lonely, left out, or self-conscious. With BabyBond, you don’t have to.

BUY IT!

Want to try a BabyBond? I’m sure you’ll love it, so why not try 2!? Different colors for different outfits, maybe? BabyBond has offered a 75% discount on their site for any reader who orders a BabyBond at BabiesRUs.com! This means you can buy TWO BabyBonds for less than $46! (A STEAL!)

All you need to do is email a copy of your receipt from BabiesRUs.com to missy@babybondnursing.com and they will supply the discount code to order another BabyBond on their site at 75% off! You will need to place your order with Babies R Us within 4 days of this review’s post date, and order with BabyBond within 24 hours of receiving the discount code!

WIN IT!

BabyBond has ALSO generously offered my lucky One Whole Year winner a BabyBond wrap! (In the pretty turquoise color, Size 2)

For an extra entry into the One Whole Year giveaway: Visit BabyBond’s website and leave me a comment on the original One Whole Year post letting me know when you think you would use your BabyBond! Good luck and thanks for celebrating with us!

**Make sure to complete the mandatory entry first! Mandatory entry and ALL extra entries must appear on the original One Whole Year post! (NO entry comments on this post, please!)

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Disclosure: I received a BabyBond wrap for review purposes. I was not compensated for my review and all opinions are my own based on personal experience with the product.
Sorry, this contest open to US residents only (Please note: My EcoMom giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada!) Entries will be accepted through 11/18. I will choose a winner via Random.org on 11/19. Winner will be contacted via email (please leave your email address!)  and will have 48 hours to respond and claim prize package or a new winner will be chosen.

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Filed under Cloth Diapering, Green Living, Parenting & Family, Product & Service Reviews