one of the things i have loved most about these last four years as a mother, has been my experience nursing my babies! i know not everyone is able to or chooses to, and it also might not be a pleasant experience at times for many women, but for me, it’s been incredible and has made me feel very grateful, especially since others aspects of having kids hasn’t come easily.
for example, i’m not one of those lucky ladies who blinks and suddenly is pregnant, or has had birth experiences i have all loved. when someone starts talking about how “…and then i was pregnant with twins and we weren’t even trying!” or, “and then i pushed once after my water broke 5 minutes beforehand and there was my baby!” i try to make myself feel better by telling myself, “well naomi, you’re basically a milk maid, so at least you have that!” so i know it can be hard to talk about or listen to others talk about these sorts things. but acknowledging everyone has her own trials and that nursing is different for everyone, i’d love to share a few of my own experiences and things i’ve learned along the way in case they might be helpful for anyone else!
so far, all three of my babes have been breastfed. while i was still nursing eleanor and pregnant with samson, my doctor gave me the ok to continue nursing her, and so i did through samson’s entire pregnancy and then tandem nursed (breastfeed them both) once he arrived. after a break, it’s been such a fun experience for me once again nursing conrad. i have felt this close bond with each of my children as they often look up at me while feeding, and for me and my little ones, it’s been a really great and intimate thing. when my day can feel hectic or rushed or my little one is frantic and unconsolable, i know that stopping whatever we’re doing and taking a moment to nurse, calms and comforts us both. it’s a really special thing.
i mentioned this in my baby essentials post last fall, but i loved reading the womanly art of breastfeeding before eleanor was born. also, if you can find a le leche league in your area, they hold several types of meetings and support groups which are incredibly helpful too as you get started.
over the last few years, i’ve pretty much ditched the slings and blankets often sold that you can nurse under mainly because my kids were always pulling them off and hated being covered up. so instead, i try to always wear a really loose shirt or button down that has a lot of “give” so i can lift it up a bit and still tuck the fabric around his or her head somewhat and be modest while nursing in public. side note, i laughed SO hard the first time i saw this commercial, because that “first time mom” was so me with eleanor during her first months of life. if we were out, i felt i had to find a restroom and nurse her in a bathroom stall, because i just wasn’t comfortable with it yet and truly felt like it was the only way. it’s different for everyone, and like all things in motherhood, i don’t believe there is only one correct way to do it, but i really appreciate that here in new york city, no one even looks at you twice while you’re nursing in public. but i also think i’ve figured out how to be pretty discrete about it, although i’m sure i’ve accidentally flashed someone somewhere once. :\
below is a quick round up of a few nursing friendly tops and dresses… they are also great options for those several months after baby arrives when you aren’t feeling totally ready to get back into your regular wardrobe and appreciate anything with a little extra room as your body adjusts to its new self (at least in my case)…
1. tisket popover
2. color block boyfriend shirt
3. dip-dye linen tunic
4. summer winds dress
5. spot printed blouse
6. striped cowl dress
7. color block high neck tunic
8. collarless denim shirt
it can also be helpful to keep track of your feedings during the first few weeks as a new breastfeeding mama, until you and your little one find your own groove. there are several apps that are great at tracking feedings as well as sleep and wet diapers, like this one. eventually, you’ll find a pattern or schedule that works for you. although i prefer nursing on demand, rather than keeping to a schedule. when i’m trying to get out the door with my little ones, i like to have everything ready to go, bag packed, coats on even, and then nurse conrad one last time as the final thing i do.
i also use nursing pads during the first few months as my milk supply and self get acquainted. and i’m still always on the hunt for a better nursing bra option (do you have one you love?) but this bravado seamless nursing bra has been my best find so far. and even after my pregnancy ends, i keep taking my prenatal vitamin while nursing, as my doctors have always recommended. also, you can never drink enough water while you nurse! so keep a water bottle on you if you can.
i wanna wrap this little post up with a thought based on some of the best mama wisdom i ever got. basically, you know you, and you know your baby best. educate yourself with all the options and advice you can, but then find the way or method that works best for you and your little one, and don’t let anyone make you feel like your choice is second best.
(ps. i’m wearing these boots in the top picture. i’m asked every time i post pics in them where they are from, so i am trying to remember to share that sort of thing at the bottom of the post more often. and yes, they are rain boots, but yes, they are very comfortable, so i tend to wear them everywhere in this city.)