What to Wear to Nurse in Public

Breastfeeding in public can seem very daunting to some moms. Whether it's your first baby or your fourth, the thought of managing a hungry baby and a breast in a new place can cause your pulse to race. Here are few tips and tricks that have helped me nurse two very different boys in public. Since I'm a jeans and shirt kind of girl, that's what I'll be discussing below.



Dress for (Breastfeeding) Success 


While pregnant with my oldest, I spent about $100 on a few nursing shirts from a popular maternity chain. I was less than satisfied with them: by the time I managed to get my breast out to nurse, my baby was wailing, and it seemed like everyone was staring at me. Red faced and fumbling, I'd pray that he latched on quickly. I also found that the holes in the shirts for my breasts to be too small for my breasts and that baby wouldn't get a great latch. These shirts work very well for many moms, but they didn't work for me.

These days, I either wear a nursing tank under my normal shirt or a nursing bra and camisole. This lets me wear my existing clothes - good for my budget! I've raved about Undercover Mama nursing camisoles and use those often. I also have a ton of inexpensive, stretchy tank tops. I have amassed quite a collection over the years: they came in very handy when I was pumping at work for my older son. I've purchased Merona brand from Target, NY&Co's house brand, and Forever 21's Plus Size department.

When wearing a nursing bra and stretchy cami or a nursing tank with a t-shirt (or any shirt without buttons), I lift the shirt up, unhook my nursing bra, and pull the neck of my stretchy cami down. I use the t-shirt to cover the top part of my breast and the cami keeps my back and stomach under wraps, and baby's head blocks my breast. I call this a boob sandwich -  my breast is between my regular shirt and the tank top I'm wearing. This is my preferred way to breastfeed in public.

When wearing a nursing bra/stretchy cami or a nursing tank under a button down shirt, I unbutton the first few buttons, unhook my nursing bra, and pull the neck of my stretchy cami down. There is no shirt covering the top of my breast. Alternatively, I can do the boob sandwich here as well.

Boob sandwich while wearing a button down

You'll notice I didn't mention nursing covers or blankets - that's because it is up to you. I encourage you to nurse as you feel comfortable. If that's with a cover, great. If you're more comfortable without one, then that's fine too. I used a nursing cover for the first 4 months of my older son's life, because he was tiny and I have large breasts. I considered it similar to using training wheels: once my confidence was up and it became easier, I was able to nurse without a cover.

I hope these tips enable you to feel empowered when breastfeeding in public. It can be quite overwhelming being mom to a new baby and navigating breastfeeding. Mom-to-mom support groups (like La Leche League) are a great place to practice nursing in public. You'll be surrounded by other like-minded mamas and may even pick up a tip or two.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!


Things I Like - 2014 Edition

For the past few years, I've been writing a year end list of my favorite purchases of the year. This year's list is a little different. While I didn't do as much shopping (thanks to bed rest and a new baby), I did buy a few baby-related items I had to share. I thought that there would have been more breastfeeding things on here, but other than the items below (and a few other items to replace worn out staples), I didn't purchase many breastfeeding items. You can see past years here: 2013, 2012, 2011.


Things I Bought & Liked in 2014


Double Pearl Earrings. I was obsessed with these earlier this year. In addition to being on trend, the lack of dangly shiny things make them baby friendly. I love wearing them to dress up my mom uniform of jeans and a t-shirt.

Boba Wrap in Starburst. I've worn this baby more than his older brother and I'm especially thankful for this stretchy wrap. Between seemingly non-stop growth spurts and wonder weeks, it made the first several weeks of life more bearable. You can read more about it here.

Tarte "Lights, Camera, Splashes!" mascara. I typically use a fantastic drugstore waterproof mascara, but gave this a try after a friend raved about it. Not only is it easier to take off at the end of the day, it's got a fantastic formula which makes multiple layers a breeze, without the clumping my drugstore brand would bring about. Luckily Tarte had a great Black Friday sale, and I was able to snag a two tubes for the price of what one normally costs!

Motherlove Nipple Cream and Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter. Again, both of these items were lifesavers during the first several weeks of life. Rohan was born with a class 3 lip tie and a severe tongue tie as well. I would coat my nipples with one of these after every feed and it made a world of difference until we were able to get his ties revised. Why did I buy two different brands? I kept one near the place we frequently nursed (our living room couch) and the other in my bathroom. Sometimes one would go into a diaper bag if we were heading out. You can read more about my breastfeeding experience the second time around here.

Leopard slip ons. There have been several versions of these leopard slip ons available, in a wide variety of price ranges. I love these because they're sporty, comfortable, and great to chase around. They've quickly become my go to shoes for everything: a run to the grocery store, a few hours at the park, even kids birthday parties. They look great with skinny jeans and a t-shirt, and are neutral enough to pair with a plaid shirt or scarf for the fall and winter.

Boyfriend jeans. My new favorite cut of jean! I'm probably a little late to this trend, but better late than never! More forgiving than skinny jeans, they're available in a wide variety of colors and washes. My most beloved pair are a distressed wash from Old Navy. They're cut a little higher, which is great for masking my postpartum belly. I usually pair mine with the leopard slip ons above.


Those are my favorite purchases of 2014. What did you buy that you absolutely loved?

Reinvention

Something that's been on my mind lately is the new identity that a woman takes on after becoming a mother. Not necessarily the role of being a mother, but as a whole person. Forming a new identity seemed to come easily after my oldest was born. I went back to work, learned as much as I could about breastfeeding, and started working towards becoming an IBCLC. This time around, I'm struggling.

Now that I am a SAHM, I'm not quite sure who I am or what my interests are. I'm still passionate about breastfeeding and continuing to take classes for the IBCLC exam, but I'm not sure if that same fire is still there (or maybe it is not burning as hot for now). I still love clothes and shoes and makeup and jewelry, but barely wear any of my fun clothes/shoes/makeup/jewelry these days. I'm wearing a t-shirt with a giant avocado stain on it at this very moment.

Forging this new identity as mom to two little boys, who stays at home in a new city is tough. I didn't think I would fall into my old routine, but I certainly didn't anticipate feeling this lost. That's why posts on this blog have been so sporadic. How do I fix it? I have no idea. I'll keep doing the things I loved and try new things until I find what works.

Self Care is Not Selfish

Taking care of one's self once after becoming a mother can be seen as a selfish act. Once we become mothers, it seems that we are expected to put our children, our families, our careers ahead of our own needs. It's important to remember that we are mothers, not martyrs. Taking a break and some time for yourself is not shameful, prideful, or selfish. A little self care can go a long way.

Self care. It's something I'm not very good at doing. I seemed to better at it with just one child - it seemed to be easier to leave the house. Now that I'm staying home with two boys, I have very little time or energy for myself. One thing my therapist has said repeatedly in our sessions (I'm paraphrasing) is that we as mothers tend to pour from our cup for everyone else. By the time we get to us, our cup is empty. When our cup is empty, that's when  we lose our cool with loved ones and can start to feel down [side note: these are two of the issues I'm working on].

Gisele Bundchen recently said that mothers need to put themselves first, using the expression, "ensure your own oxygen mask is fitted before helping others.While I do not have her means (or incredible physique or penchant for yoga on the beach), I can appreciate her candor. She goes on to say, "'You can feel a bit guilty - you feel guilty if you do and if you don't. But if I put my oxygen mask on first, if I'm feeling fulfilled and present and good about myself, then I'm going to be a much more patient, loving, understanding mother and wife. You have to fill your glass so that everyone can drink from it."

Image from My Airline Flight
I actually started this blog after the birth of my oldest as a way to keep a sense of self. Once I realized how important breastfeeding was to me, my voice changed. Maintaining a sense of self seemed to come relatively easily for me then: there was only one child to worry about, going to work made it a little easier to leave the house for myself, and I always had a good amount of milk stored in case he got hungry. My challenge these days is finding time for myself, in an unfamiliar town as a stay at home mom of two. While my husband is supportive of me making sure my cup is full, the problems lie with me. I'm lucky to have 10 ounces of milk stored and a few hours to go out.

I have been making an effort to take some time out for myself every few days. It's nothing extravagant: a glass of wine and a mindless TV show, give myself a manicure, a bath after the kids are in bed, or staying up late to online shop blog after everyone's in bed. Sometimes I'll run to the grocery store by myself if we run out of something in the middle of the week. As long as I'm filling my cup back, it's a good thing. I typically feel a little bit better getting out of the house alone, driving with the windows down and blasting music as loud as I want. I was recently able to go out for brunch with a friend for a few hours. It was worth pumping milk!


Other low cost ways to take care of yourself:
- prayer or meditation
- feeding your body food that makes it happy
- exercise by going for a walk or run
- journal your thoughts

How do you fill your cup?

Friday Favorites - Obsessed

I've been doing some emotional window shopping lately. Okay, there have been a few purchases. Here's what I've been into lately.


Obsessed

Obsessed by lactivistinloubs
Click on the image for sources in the set


Double pearl earrings are a fun way to incorporate the pearl trend that seems to be big for fall/winter. The spiked version add an edge to an otherwise preppy or refined pearl. These are knock offs inspired by the "Mise En Dior" earrings by Christian Dior. Bonus: they aren't dangly which means it's harder for little hands to pull at them!

Look at those druzy pieces. Gorgeous, sparkly, and raw. What's not to love? The crystal stones can be found on just about any piece of jewelry out there. They come in a range of prices, depending on your budget. 

Gray nail polish is a nice change from black. I've found great success with Sally Hansen InstaDri in Greased Lightening, available at many places. It really does dry quickly, which makes it great for a little self care during nap time!

Distressed boyfriend jeans are a great change from skinnies. There are varying fits out there, from almost legging tight to a loose, baggy fit. Many are available in a higher rise, which helps control my muffin top. Be careful of the fit, lest you end up in the dreaded mom jeans. The distressed wash keeps it casual. These would look great with a t-shirt and flats for errands or a blouse and heels for date night. I can't wait to try out a pair!

Happy shopping!
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