There could have been no better day posting about this than today. Its the day two of BIG LATCH ON, a worldwide breastfeeding/nursing in pubic support program. Thank you the new mom on the block TP for reminding me to post about this.
I am keeping this post dedicated to Nursing in Public i.e NIP. Most of us aware about how important Breastfeeding is for our babies, barring few cases where it turns out to be actually difficult or need medical intervention, Breastfeeding is as natural for women as it can be.
I have read quite a lot, is a part of this amazing support group (link with a little description in the end), and is now adamant to keep breastfeeding Bunny as long as possible or till he self weans. As this post is not actually about Breastfeeding, I will just write one line about it, which struck me like lightening while i was consuming all the information about Breastfeeding. Breastmilk is something that your body naturally produces for your baby, don’t underestimate its value and go for unnatural options like formulas or cows milk which is primarily for calves.
For most situations there is always a way around less supply, flat nipples, latching problems and the list goes on. For most unwarranted suggestions – tumhara doodh kafi nahi hai, fir woh kabhi nahi chodega, uska pet nahi bharta, formula peene se baccha ratbhar sota hai (read her why and why its not the best solution ) , just play deaf ear and do your own research and follow what your own motherly instincts say. Moms and MIls are not wrong if they suggest starting formula as formula was marketed more than ever when they were new mothers.
Okay so coming back to NIP, nursing in public is an extension to your commitment to breastfeed your baby, its about comfortably and confidently nursing your baby when outside your home without any inhibitions. Babies need to be fed on demand and not on schedule so practicing NIPing is a boon for new moms who wouldn’t like to be confined in four walls of home or run to car/feeding room every time they are out.
For me a lot of things work in favor, first our life requires movement, we cant even confine ourselves to our home even when we want to.
Second amazing breastfeeding and nursing relationship with Bunny from day one. Doctor teaching me how to nurse lying down which turned out to be a boon in initial breastfeeding journey.
Support from both TBH and family to feed Bunny when need be, irrespective of where we are. Though my MIL was feeding formula as suggested to her by her doc that time, and asking me to start as well, and me gently saying No every time.
And more importantly landing into the Breastfeeding Support Group for Indian moms, exactly at the time when i started doubted my supply at around 4 months of feeding Bunny. Its a support group that is closely monitored with right kinda advise and directions.
Earlier I was feeding him only in car, changing rooms, feeding rooms, when we were out. But once we were in a very busy Mcdonalds, and Bunny was hungry. There was not even a single corner seat available or a decent place to feed him. And my MIL was like yahi feed karlo, whats the big deal, i wasn’t sure how, I went to whatever place I could find to sit, made her stand behind me with a shawl and fed Bunny, that was first and then there has been no looking back. I have fed him in restaurants, in trains, airports, flights, gardens, taxis, food courts, theatres and where not.
NIPing doesn’t necessarily mean exposing, you can be as discreet as you want to. The whole point is making your breastfeeding journey a part of your regular life, the more you do it, the more normal it becomes for you and other fellow moms. Irony is because we have means and options we rather go for bottle feed or formula rather than choosing the most natural option.
– Practicing at home, finding what cloths work for you. Do it in front of mirror so that you know how comfortable you are with how you look, how much exposing or not you are doing. Two t method like below is great tool if you wear western cloths like me. Kurtas with slit are also great option so as loose ts/shirts.
– See what type of bras work for you. I have hated all the nursing bras i have bought, its too much of trouble, regular bras or the sports bra (without any hooks) is working great for me from past few months.
– For the initial few times use a regular scarf or a nursing one if you wish to.
– Being confident when you do it, babies catches your feelings very fast, so if you are unsure more likely they will be a lot fussy than usual.
– Talking it with husband/partner and bringing him on board. Very very important, nothing gives you more confident than a supportive partner.
– Being unbothered if you expose a little, it really doesn’t matter.
– Keeping in mind that’s its not shameful in anyway, in fact you should be so proud of yourself for taking this step.
– Getting hang of NIPing is a boon when traveling with, teething baby or when the baby is hurt or in unknown surroundings.
– Always give a reassuring smile if you pass by another Bfing mom.
Step by step instructions to become a NIP pro !!!
Specially for moms among us who feel quite overwhelming when we suggest them to just go out in the open and nurse in public.
Disclaimer: to be read in a light hearted manner only.
1. Become a feeding pro. Practice. Practice. Practice feeding your baby in both different sitting and lying down positions. Specially in the first couple of weeks because that time we have relatively less opportunities, strength and will to venture out. And the frequency at which the baby feeds during those initial few weeks only helps us to get the hang of it.
2. Gradually, when it’s the feeding time, stop asking people to move out of your room or go out in a separate room just to feed the baby. That would really help you to shed your inhibitions, also you will learn to be discreet in your approach. The best time to learn the much talked about two t method or basically figure out which type of nursing friendly cloths work for you. And check if nursing covers are for you. I have seen most babies not liking it including mine.
3. Bring the partner/family/ caregiver on the same page. Talk it out that you wouldn’t stop going out or modify your plans around baby’s feeding time. Say you would be nursing in public when time comes. Awkward spouses are more difficult to handle than a hungry baby.
4. Now when you finally start moving out, the first couple of times you can start by asking to use the feeding room facility of some baby stores/ malls or changing rooms of other stores or even the corner seat in a restaurant. IMO even mentioning that you need to feed the baby right here, is like coming a step closer.
5. Now within no time you will master the art of nursing in public. And then there is no looking back. I have nursed in really busy restaurants, airports, trains, theatres, right in front of friends and family, in the flight, alone in a taxi and where not.
Breastfeeding shouldn’t hinder your normal functioning of life like roaming around, traveling or socializing. Also not being able to nurse in public shouldn’t be reason to start formula or alternatives before it’s the right time. And that’s why not only we need to master NIP but also do our bit to normalize it.
This post can’t end without thanking these awesomely managed support groups who helped so many like me in shedding inhibitions and helped in taking informed decisions for our babies.
Link to group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/breastfeedingsupportforindianmoms/
Images Source – www.google.com
Leaving you with a pic of NIPing in a HRC, when he was around 9 months. Hope this helps, please free to directly get in touch with me if you wish, join the group above for a much guided approach.