As a working mom, what challenges have you encountered on your breastfeeding journey?
I am very lucky. I work freelance so I am more or less in charge of my time and schedule. There are days when I am very busy though, and during those times need to prepare days in advance to make sure Tristan and I are comfortable. First off, I make sure I have a Yaya for the day. A lot of people don’t know I am very hands on with Tristan, and I only hire a yaya/nanny for the day (she comes in at 9am and goes home at 10pm). Ideally I’d be able to take care of Tristan and still work and take care of the house, but we all know that is super difficult. We all need help, especially when it comes to raising a child. I am lucky to have my husband who is also a hands on parent. He makes my life easy! When the Yaya is not available though then that is a challenge. Not impossible, because my husband and I have done it before, but a little more difficult.
Then, I will need to make sure we have a place to change my baby’s diapers, breastfeed, etc. If the place I’ll be working at does not have a nearby room specifically for these then I will think twice about booking that job. I know most moms don’t have this option, especially in an office setting, but actually it is part of our rights to have a place for us to do these things (if not to breastfeed, then to pump and store expressed milk). It is a challenge to do these things in a place without a proper family room/breastfeeding station, but you can do it. All you need is a little ingenuity, like I’ve changed diapers in my son’s stroller, the backseat of our car and on a sofa of a hotel and restaurant. I’ve breastfed (with a cover) in restaurants, benches in malls and in a shoe store.
Another challenge is finding the time to do work when your son needs you. I super prepare and find out the schedule for my job. For days like these I breastfeed him before I have to host or cover events, or leave food and milk for him in case I can’t be there for him right away. If your baby follows a schedule this will be easier. I book my jobs and events around Tristan’s schedule.
Lastly, when you’re out of the house there is always a big chance things will not go according to your plans, so be 10 steps ahead. I bring everything with me, and bring extra in case I leave something. I have 2-3 nursing covers spread out in my purse, diaper bag and car in case I need to nurse anywhere. I bring Tristan’s food and water just in case, and always carry extra. Clothes, diapers, bibs, lampin–I bring it all with me.
Do you breastfeed in public? Can you share how you do it?
I never really thought about breastfeeding in public, until I became a mom and it became essential for me to do so (Tristan is eight months old now and he still feeds on demand, which means he goes where I go). I mean I had neutral feelings about it before, because I didn’t really understand what moms go through. But now, of course, I am all for it and I try as much as I can to defend the rights of other moms to do this in public.
I wear a nursing cover, for modesty sake. I haven’t really been that brave to breastfeed openly in public but as long as I have my cover I basically do it anywhere. It would be ideal if I could find a nice, quiet restaurant so Tristan could relax while he feeds. But when the baby is hungry, the baby is hungry. I’ve breastfed once in a shoe department of a store because Tristan was hungry. I just put on my cover and fed my baby. I would’ve preferred to go to a nursing station, but that mall was huge and their station was a super far walk. Not at all convenient as our dinner was just a few stores away from where I was.
My dream is to have a nursing station in every floor of every mall, just like their restrooms. And for them not to necessarily be near the toilet, because of course, we are feeding our babies, and not going to the toilet. Maybe a baby restaurant would be nice—I hear they already do this in other countries and they serve organic baby food fresh. And to supplement this, I wish people were more open to moms breastfeeding in public. There is still a stigma when this is done, especially when moms don’t wear a cover. I wish people would understand that this is a mother feeding her child and not to put any malice into it. It is the most natural thing in the world, and if you are bothered by it, then don’t look. I’m sure a lot of moms feel this way, especially breastfeeding moms. We can still do a lot to change the system, and to make people more accepting towards breastfeeding in public.
These questions were asked by fellow moms from Natalac’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/NatalacForBestFeeding. Click LIKE to join our growing breastfeeding community!