Experts agree that breastfeeding supports the healthy development of your baby and your overall well-being while establishing a lasting bond with your little one. And breastfeeding is also conveniently portable. But if you're like many new moms, embarrassment and a fear of judgment may make you nervous about nursing in public.
"Feeding Baby on-the-go is very doable and takes just a little know-how and practice to get the hang of it," says lactation consultant Marji Stark, BAEd, IBCLC.
Start slowly: Give yourself time to adjust to new motherhood and your baby's feeding habits. Plan to keep your outings short, nurse your infant before you leave home and again before you get out of the car.
"Practice at home in front of the mirror," says Kelly Josephine, R.N., IBCLC. And for your first few outings, choose "a low-stress environment such as a park."
Plan ahead: As you get more comfortable with breastfeeding and predicting when your baby will want to eat, you'll feel less anxiety when you head out. Wear clothing that makes nursing easy. Many moms opt for nursing tops or tanks with an over-shirt. Light scarves or blankets can also provide coverage. Pack an extra shirt in case of leaks or spills.
"There are many breastfeeding covers that vary in complexity from the type of fabric, slings and other customizations. Find one that works for you," Josephine says, who recommends babywearinginternational.com.
DO YOU NEED THE PEDIATRICIAN'S INPUT?
If you have any middle of the night health concerns about your baby, don’t feel uncomfortable calling the pediatrician or advice nurse. Trust your instincts and call. Always call the doctor if the baby develops a rash or a very high fever. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, call your pediatrician if your baby is under 3 months old and has a fever; if your baby is under 2 months and has a fever it is considered an emergency. Other times you should call: If your infant is lethargic and unresponsive; has problems breathing or eating; is very fussy and difficult to calm down; has a rash; shows signs of dehydration; has a seizure. Remain calm if you call the doctor and be ready to share your baby's symptoms.
LET OTHERS HELP YOU!
If someone offers their help (bringing dinner over, doing your laundry, holding the baby while you shower or sleep), let them! Put the "I can do it all myself attitude" on hold for this short time and get used to letting people help you. And when it comes to your partner and wanting him or her to KNOW what you want without telling them? Get rid of that. You MUST ASK to get what you want. Ask and you shall receive!
PERCHANCE TO DREAM ...
“Sleep when the baby sleeps" is actually excellent advice. Who cares about the cleaning and the laundry, you need sleep! But if you have other little ones around, sleeping when the baby sleeps may be impossible. Make arrangements with your partner for "sleep appointments."
ENJOY MOMENTS AND TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
You know when you have that sweet little bundle in your arms and you are rocking him and he's settled? SAVOR the moment. Etch it on your heart. And make time for yourself as you go ... work a little "me" time in for yourself whether that means a mani/pedi or taking a walk or getting a bath by yourself.