I love being a breastfeeding mother. Yes, you read that right, I love breastfeeding. Sure we (breastfeeding and I) have had our ups and downs, we almost broke up once when BooBoo was about 3 weeks old, but we managed to put our problems behind us and keep going. Let me share with you some of those ups and downs. :)
When I had BooBoo I was unable to nurse her within the first hour of her life because the doctors had knocked me out after my c-section. Right from the beginning BooBoo had some problems latching on. I, as a first time mom, had no idea what I was doing during her feedings. The LC at the hospital was no help, I think I met her once! The nurses were not supportive and I had one that roughly shoved BooBoo on my breast causing me severe pain. So, the first three weeks of BooBoo's life involved me having raw, bruised nipples (TMI-but part of my story) and so much pain that whenever she nursed my toes would curl. J hated seeing me in pain and told me that if I wanted to I could just switch BooBoo to formula. I decided that I would just keep trying different nursing positions and continue correcting BooBoo's latch. J even asked if there was anything he could do to help! It took two more weeks but finally Booboo and I had got the hang of nursing. She began nursing like a champ and I no longer curled my toes.
Then came our next obstacle, nursing in public. I like to believe that today I am an old pro at nursing in public. But back in the day, it took a little while to feel comfortable nursing around strangers. I thought that covering up with a blanket would help, WRONG! BooBoo consistently tried to claw her way out, got overheated and would not nurse for long. So I quit covering up. Wow, I gained more confidence in nursing by giving up the blanket. BooBoo was happy and I realized that people stare MORE when I covered with a blanket than without because they KNEW what was going on under there. It was like a giant "look at me" sign. I learned to wear button-down, v-neck or wrap around shirts. If I wore a t-shirt, I made sure to wear a nursing tank underneath. BooBoo gave up nursing at 14 months and while I was a little heartbroken, I was happy I never gave up and we made it more than a year!
Bug has been completely different. In the hospital, the nurses brought her right into the recovery room to nurse. They were amazed that she latched on perfectly the very first time! Bug never once had a bottle and I am so glad. We did see the LC a couple of times but that is because Bug started having trouble latching (which the LC said was from my having large nipples, again TMI). But by the time we left the hospital, we were back to an enjoyable nursing experience. When Bug was 10 days old, I ended up in the ER with Mastitis. I knew what was wrong right away because I felt like I had been hit by a bus, my breast had a huge hot, red spot and it hurt my chest to lean over or feed Bug. I was given a prescription for antibiotics and told not to nurse Bug from the infected side, just pump and dump that side. But I took the advice of a few moms and continued to nurse Bug on both sides and just watch her for any problems. Thankfully, my Mastitis cleared up and I have not had another bout since. I will be honest, it was the worst pain and I felt awful.
Nursing in public with Bug has been a piece of cake. The first large place we nursed at was the zoo. Sure a few people looked as they were walking by, but they were more interested in seeing my gorgeous baby girl rather than my "girls". Now, I have covered up myself a few times while nursing but never Bug. I am currently reviewing these wonderful burp cloths (review coming this week) and they are perfect for covering my breast but not Bug's face.
Again, I love breastfeeding and I have no problem nursing in public. Now, there has been large debate on Twitter over the past few days about whether or not a woman should have to cover up when nursing in public. I say no, I should not be made to cover up my nursing child just because it makes someone else uncomfortable. If that makes me sound selfish, well then I'm sorry but making sure my child is getting the most out of a feeding is more important than you seeing my breast. Quit staring at me and it wouldn't be a problem. I will not be made to nurse my child in a bathroom (ewww), under a blanket, in a corner, or another room. If you have a problem then maybe you should be the one to leave. It is my legal right to nurse in public. It is not as though I am completely taking my top off, throwing my breasts on a plate and saying " Here little one, eat up!". Breastfeeding is natural and those who complain about see a breast are the ones who make it seem unnatural. Do not make my feeding my child sound like a criminal offense.
In the spirit of Dirty Dancing: "Nobody puts Baby under a blanket!".