Today, we are addressing the awkward subject of breastfeeding and specifically how to do it in the outdoors.
Truth: breastfeeding isn’t easy.
When they first brought my baby girl to me after the c-section, all I remember is the nurse saying, “Go ahead, let her latch on.” And me thinking, “um…how?”
I was told breastfeeding was natural. I was told it wouldn’t hurt, as long as they latched right. I was told the baby knew just what to do. I was told it was easy and I’d soon find myself able to nurse a baby and cook dinner at the same time. [Never reached that milestone, even after three.]
What I wasn’t told:
- That both the baby and I would have to learn how to nurse and it might be very frustrating.
- That it would most likely be painful and could result in blisters and bleeding. That when my milk came in it meant my chest quadrupled in size.
- That Medela breast pumps would become my new best friend.
- That I would feel like a milk machine, on call 24 hours a day…
So if you are in the gruelling first weeks and feel like this…know it will pass. Get yourself a good lactation specialist, or a good friend. After 2 weeks, I felt better, the baby was eating well and life was back on track. One year later I was sad to wean them. Sad and reluctant. If anything, that should speak volumes of the journey I was on.
This post isn’t going to be on the ins and outs of nursing how tos. There are other sites better for that. But I do want to share some tips, products, etc that helped me get outdoors while nursing. Cause that is sorta what we are about at the Kid Project.
If you are wondering how on earth you will ever nurse your baby at the park or on a hike – keep reading. Or if [like me] your chest is huge and uncomfortable and the thought of even a brisk hike with a terribly unsupportive nursing bra makes you grimace – there might be hope. So, let’s hop to it!
Want to get outdoors again but know you’ll need to nurse the baby?
- Start by getting yourself a good nursing cover. I like the ones from Bebe au Lait, also known as Hooter Hiders. [I love that!] Practice at home with them first, and beware the breezy afternoon that tends to send it flapping up by your face. But they are a vast improvement over the blanket in your teeth method. I also loved my little Medela battery operated breast pump. I wasn’t comfortable nursing in public at first, so when the time came I’d run to the car or bathroom and pump for 10-15 minutes and bottle feed the baby. This worked best when Chris was there to run interference.
- Get a good sports bra that works for nursing also. Want to easily nurse during or after walking, hiking or exercising? Cause I did. And nursing with a traditional jogging bra on is nearly impossible [I’ve tried] but doing something active without A LOT of support was painful.
Here are two products that changed my life:
- Moving Comfort Fiona Sports Bra – Not a “nursing” bra but the Velcro adjustment on the straps could be easily undone, making nursing hazard free. Very supportive!
- Essential Nursing Tank from Bravado Designs – Thick durable fabric that doesn’t break down and stretch out after lots of washing. Good support, cute style [gathers in the middle], and not obviously for nursing, as in the strap attachments are hidden well. A confession: I haven’t nursed for nearly a year, and I still keep two tanks around. I wore my black one climbing yesterday. [No joke!] I’ve had 6 or 7 of the cheaper ones from Target – none compare to the Bravado tanks.
Here are some articles to give us all hope:
- Nursing and climbing (Some great pics!)
- Breast feeding whys and hows
- Nursing and hiking
- Mountain Mama Nursing top review