An indoor venue like a shopping mall is not my preferable place to wander around. I prefer to go outdoor below the sun’s shade or the moonlight. This fact doesn’t change after I have a baby. But as a new mama of an almost 8-month-old baby girl and a still-in-learning-phase breastfeeding mama who loves wandering around, I find that breastfeeding is quite challenging. Especially in an outdoor setting where there isn’t any nursing room available (most of the times!).
I took baby A out of the house for the first time before she reached her 30-day milestone. I was worried if she cried asking for a breast milk, therefore, I brought bottles of my expressed breast milk. However, the act didn’t turn to be a successful one because like a common newborn, she demanded more. We were running out of milk, she cried asking for it, and our tram hadn’t arrived at that moment. Since then, my #BreastfeedingAnywhere begun.
Based on my #BreastfeedingAnywhere experiences for almost 8 months, here are four basic things I consider to overcome the challenge of nursing outdoor.
OK, when I mention comfort, this must mean: you (as the mama) are comfortable to #BreastfeedAnywhere, so are your baby and the environment around you.
I found that the Portuguese people in Lisbon (adding neighborhood cities and Porto on this list as well) were quite ignorant (and respectful) if there’s any mom breastfed in public setting. Surprisingly, I wasn’t alone! There wasn’t only me who breastfed publicly. During these 8 months, I only found one lady staring at me when I breastfed in a bus, but then she smiled ( so maybe she remembered her good old time with her baby?).
But now the challenge lies on Baby A. As she grows older, she easily gets distracted by any movement in her surroundings and my letdown reflex (or known as the milk ejection reflex) makes thing worse. My breast milk completely spills over A’s face, ahaha. So nowadays I prefer to take some delays and move to a corner with less distraction.
2. To Cover or Not to Cover?
On my first try, I was reluctant. of course! I was not comfortable on showing my bare breast to the public. I had a nursing apron but I never used it because I found it difficult to see my baby’s face and help her latching on. Instead, I used a slight of my veil (hijab) to cover my breast or A’s blanket when it was windy outside.
3. Nursing Wears (or Alike)
I only have one nursing wear and it is a gift from a friend. I do think that nursing wear is important for breastfeeding mama since it enables mama to provide quick access while at the same time refrain the breasts to be fully exposed. I
haven’t didn’t find any nursing wear here so I had to figure out how to do the tricks most of the times. Of course in my case, a bit of hassle in taking off my shirt’s button will do. Well, I am fine with that too!
4. Next level: Using a Baby Carrier
Let’s count on how many baby carriers/wearers I have: Baba Sling, a stretchy baby wrap, a 3-in-1 baby carrier, and a traditional Indonesian baby carrier called Jarik. The first one I used was Jarik because I had my guru (read: my own mother) taught me how to carry baby A with it. Of course, the other carriers weren’t available yet during the time my mama raised her kids. Jarik was comfortable enough unless we had to walk for quite a while because the position for jarik that I knew of was only the very basic one (pictured on the first picture above) and that caused my sore arms after a long walk. Ps. We don’t have our private car here. So I looked for other alternatives in order to save my arms. The other reason was that jarik wasn’t easily adjustable when I had to breastfeed baby A. Pss. Please note that baby demands for immediate supply of milk once she cries out of hunger.
Baba sling’s breastfeeding position was similar to jarik, only that it was easier to adjust baby A to breastfeed-ready position to an M-shape rear-facing position with Baba Sling. I stayed with it until baby A was 4 month old then I used either my baby wrap or the 3-in-1 baby carrier. Both enables me to have baby A to face myself and adjusts her position towards my breast. After mastering this next level of breastfeeding with a baby carrier, I found that I even could breastfeed while walking, still had my breasts covered, and voila, no one noticed!
In a nutshell, it is OK to #BreastfeedAnywhere when I take those four points into account. Anyway, have you nursed outdoor? How did you overcome that challenge?