Nursing in Public | Giftie Etcetera: Nursing in Public

Monday, October 6, 2008

Nursing in Public

Sigh. It sucks.

We had a ped appointment and my doctor's appointment, with lunch in between. To date, I've just pumped and brought a bottle, but this time we were just going to be out of the house for too long. So off I went, armed with a sling, a nipple shield (sorry, really should start reading the titles of my blog entries ;)), and a blanket.

Loki is almost done with jaundice. He even gained a tiny bit of weight. But, of course, at 2 1/2 weeks, he hasn't gained enough. My doctor suggested nursing at least 20 minutes each time. My baby, of course, objects and refuses. He nurses for 7 minutes...and that is it. There is no waking him. There is no getting him to relatch. 7 minutes and he is D-O-N-E.

After the appointment, we went into the "newborn" waiting room, which was empty, to nurse the baby. I am not a "brazen breastfeeder" (a term I'm stealing from another person's blog entry, where she suggests nursing openly and without cover-up in public). I won't be hiding in the back room, but I don't want booby exposed, either. (Yes, yes, I've heard the "babies have a right to eat" argument. For me, it comes down to the fact that all humans eat, but we have manners. There are times and places where it is impossible to feed a baby while covering up. In those cases, feeding the baby trumps all manners! It is the polite thing to do. But if you can be more discreet, using a cover-up, sling, or a quiet corner, that's just good manners, in my humble opinion. I'm not telling anyone else what to do, of course. I'm simply stating my personal position on the matter - a position that matters a lot at this moment in time.) So I tried to nurse discretely, and for 20 whole minutes.

Boy, we suck at this!

First, Loki does not want to suck for 20 minutes. HE SIMPLY REFUSES. Gre-ate. Second, we managed to stay covered, but not without my husband freaking out over a sidewards glance of flesh. (Did I mention the room was EMPTY? {rolls eyes}) And...I leaked all over when Loki suddenly pulled away. Ever see boobies cry? You should have seen my t-shirt.

My doctor's office was MUCH, MUCH WORSE! The doctor was running late, between the two kids there were four poopy diapers, the baby was wailing, and there was no private place to nurse. Well, how bad could it be to nurse in an OB's waiting room, right?


A 3 year old kept trying to peek into the sling. A snotty, gross 3 year old whose nasty nose was not getting near my baby. Everyone was really nice about it, but I was so awkward and the baby was so hungry that we managed to get even wetter. I had major leakage, despite a bath towel, cover, sling, and nursing pads. I looked like two water balloons had burst, right under my breasts. Terrific. :( Plus, Lokin refused to nurse. He was too hungry, and I couldn't cover him and keep from leaking and let him breath and hold his head up all at once.

I really, really hate NIP. Hate it. It does get better, right? I guess I'll carry an extra t-shirt from now on.



Stac Cole said...

For me I was never really comfortable nursing in public. Oh, I did it, and it does get easier with practice, and once Loki learns to hold his own head up. For me, even though it was a natural thing and all, I still didn't want anyone staring at my boobs. And people do stare.

Derwinicus said...

It's funny, I never even gave NIP a second thought. The baby was hungry, I fed her (and now him). I always covered up though. With Kirsi I had a receiving blanket but once she got older, she started pulling it off. So with Aidan, I invested in a nursing cover and I really like it. It folds up nice and small in my diaper bag and it's super handy. The leaking part sucks, though. I like wearing white because you can't notice the leaks nearly as much. lol But yeah, maybe packing an extra shirt would be a good idea. It will get easier, I promise.

Frog said...

I have to agree with you. I don't know if I could do it.

Brien Louque said...

You should explicitly state in the title "Brien beware".

pacatrue said...

It's even more embarrassing when the dad tries to nurse in public.

Anonymous said...

I nursed my daughter for 10 months, and I got the hang of nursing in public finally. Once I even did it while shopping in Target (walking around clothes shopping with my baby under a blanket latched on). A woman stopped me and asked me if I was nursing under that blanket, and as I said yes I prepared for the worst. She patted me on the shoudler and said that I was doing a great job, and you could hardly tell I was even nursing. It was nice to hear something positive from a stranger, usually they aren't so kind. :)

Mathochist said...

Yes, it does suck. Yes, it does get better. It took me a LONG time to be comfortable NIP. Didn't stop me from doing it, but it was super-hard and very uncomforatble for me in the beginning. (Like first 6-8 weeks, at least!) I think large breasts make it 100x harder, too.

It will get easier as you two get more used to nursing together, your supply regulates and you don't leak (or leak as much), etc. You will get better at staying covered, too, with more practice... until he learns to grab the cover and fling it off himself!

If you can't/don't want to afford
a nursing cover (the ones with the stiff wire in the neck so you can still see the baby are really nice), I've heard of people buying a pair of those alligator clips they dentist office uses to clip the paper bibs on, and using that with a lightweight receiving blanket.

If you are still having a lot of oversupply, maybe he is not getting enough hind milk to gain more weight??? I'm sure you know you won't be able to *make* him nurse for 20 min if he decides he's done at 7. But you can nurse him on the same side twice in a row to help your supply even out, and give him a better chance of getting more hindmilk. (Again I'm not a LC, just a mom with a little experience, so ask a LLLL or LC you trust about this before trying it yourself; YMMV)

I have to admit I'm surprised you own a sling. Hope it is working out for you. What kind is it? The best luck I've had staying covered in public is nursing in a (homemade) ring sling with an extra-long tail. I open it nearly all the way, flip the rings over to my back side, and use the front of the sling to pretty much hide my whole torso, tucking the bottom under the baby. What I liked about it was I could still hold the whole thing away from my body (at the top) and see the baby, make eye contact, make sure nostils had a valid air path, etc., while still remaining completely covered - even on the side where my shirt was hiked up. But it wasn't "discreet" in the sense that anyone looking at me couldn't help but know I was nursing. (That was a goal of mine I'm not sure I ever achieved...) In a pinch without a blanket or other kind of cover, I have also worn my blazer backwards (like scrubs) to stay covered.

Also, if you haven't tried any nursing shirts yet, I really love Motherwear's value line v-neck T's. Not appropriate for a workday, but GREAT for doc visits, park days, etc. When baby's head getss big enough to hide you, you can nurse in those and hardly expose any flesh, even without a blanket/cover. Also FYI, side-opening nursing shirts do not work well with large breasts. Nor was I ever able to make a button-up over a tank top work for me as I had to completely unbutton the shirt to get the boob out. I am most comfortable in the all-around underlayer nursing shirts (like the t-shirts I mentioned).

Giftie Etcetera said...

My sling is a lot like a ring sling, but it has an extra strap because ring slings torture my back. And I don't mind one bit if someone knows I'm nursing, as long as I can avoid showing booby. ;)

Where do you get the Motherswear shirts?

Mathochist said...

IKWYM about the back torture... I am hoping someone will be very nice to me and buy me a Beco baby carrier for this kiddo. ;) Although I will still probably carry around my ring sling for NIP.

(Look around at their other stuff, too... they may have some decent work shirts for you. But of all the styles I've tried, I found the T's most comfortable/user friendly for large breasts.)

Stac Cole said...

You can also try looking on Ebay for nursing shirts. That's where I got all mine from!

Mathochist said...

I haven't tried eBay. I have bought from once, but almost everything I got from them faded in just a couple of washes, so I wasn't a repeat customer. (Perhaps people who meticulously follow their wash instructions have a better experiece.)