Now that I've been a mom for about three months and am like totally a veteran and know how to do everything perfectly (*read with heavy, heavy sarcasm*), I would like to chat a bit about breast feeding. Not everyone will breast feed - whether it be because they don't have children, or a mom had difficulty nursing, chose to use formula, adopted their children, didn't want to breast feed at all, or (more obviously) they're a guy - this also means not everyone will understand the challenges nursing moms face. That's why I've developed awesome ninja skills when it comes to nursing outside of the home.
Not everyone out there is comfortable being around a nursing mom. Before I had Quincy, I was kinda weirded out at the thought of nursing. But once I began, it wasn't a big deal at all. In fact, nursing has been a great experience to bond with Quincy and it's a great feeling to be able to provide him sustenance that only I can make.
Anyhoo, back to ninjas. I definitely don't want to make other people uncomfortable, and I also still don't want to nurse in front of strangers, acquaintances, men, teenagers... okay, so there are a lot of people in whoms presence I'd rather not nurse. That's why you have to have stealth like a ninja. Here are some of my ninja skills I wanted to share:
Five Ways to Nurse Like a Ninja
1. Be One Step Ahead of your Enemy. In this case, baby's hunger is your enemy. No baby will ever be on a perfectly timed schedule. You may have a rough estimate as to when they need to eat, but there are other factors - growth spurts, naps, over-stimulation, sickness, tiredness - that can change when baby gets hungry. In order to avoid a big meltdown of a screaming, hungry baby, have an idea of where you can take them if they suddenly get hungry. When entering a store, someone's home or a public setting, scout out ideal places for nursing. My back-up plan is always the backseat of the car while using a nursing cover. No, my car is not heavily tinted but if I calmly sit in the back with a cover over top, no one will realize I'm feeding my child. For all they know, I just enjoy hanging out in my backseat, chilling in the parking lot, with a pretty piece of fabric draped over me. Who doesn't?
2. Find your Safe House(s). Often times while running the usual errands, you will frequent the same stores and locations, so keep an eye out for nooks and spaces that can be your go-to nursing spots. Malls sometimes have lactation rooms to use, but otherwise try family restrooms or a department store dressing room. Most of the time, if you go to the women's dressing room, the attendant will be female and if you just ask to use a room to nurse, they'll be understanding. And I'm speaking from experience - thank you Gap Outlet Dressing Room Attendant!
Recently while downtown with another friend who is also nursing, we shared our favorite spots which included the bathroom of a children's boutique (they have a chair inside the family size bathroom for nursing), the back stairwell of a home decor shop (secluded and quiet with minimal traffic), an indoor hallway between shops (another stairwell or be bold and sit on the antique organ bench on display), and a park bench offset from the main street (open area but again minimal traffic and peaceful).
3. Strength in Numbers. It's usually easier to nurse in a semi-public setting when you are with friends or family. I usually ask those around me if they are bothered by me nursing, and still use a nursing cover so that the conversation can still keep going and doesn't suddenly grow silent while I "whip it out". Once you have established that your own party is comfortable with you nursing, they are more likely to stand up for you if someone outside of your group may disapprove of you nursing.
4. Seek the Wisdom of Others. I once was getting an oil change that turned into a lengthy car repair, and found myself in a fairly public setting needing to feed Quincy. Thankfully, one of the employees at the dealership was so helpful when the time came to nurse. He - and I want to emphasize that this was a man in his 50's who had never dealt directly with nursing as he and his wife had adopted all three of their children - kindly let me use a secluded conference room to nurse privately. He even wrote a note on the door so no one would burst in the room while I was inside with Quincy. Honestly, looking back at that experience it pricks my eyes with tears because he was so kind and understanding. So if you find yourself in a similar situation - no clue where to nurse and a baby that needs food now - just ask if there is a private room or office that you could use for a short time in order to feed your child. You may be surprised (as I was) at who rises to the occasion to help you.
5. If All Else Fails, Surrender Stealth Mode and Just Go for It. Ultimately, your number one priority is the well-being of your child. If you can't find the perfect perch to hide away to nurse before your child has an absolute meltdown, just go with your gut on how to get them calm, fed and happy.
The final goal of a Nursing Ninja is to cause a Milk Coma, a blissful state of your baby caused by a full belly and content demeanor. In adults, these symptoms are commonly seen with Post Thanksgiving Meal Satisfied Sleepiness Syndrome (PTMSSS).
|Over-the-Shoulder Milk Coma|
|Wrinkly Milk Coma|
|Sprawling Milk Coma|
To the other members of the Nursing Ninja Clan, or spouses, partners, coaches, and friends who have helped nursing mommas, feel free to add any stealth skills you've developed down below in the comments.