If you're a breastfeeding mama, the holidays can pose some unexpected obstacles. Sure it's great to be surrounded by loved ones on Thanksgiving, but all those people can make it mighty hard to find a good place to nurse, especially if they're not in the #freethenipple camp. So if breastfeeding around your family this Thanksgiving is going to make you uncomfortable, there are some simple strategies to try.
When I was new to motherhood and breastfeeding, I was pretty private when it came to nursing. I'd always leave the room if I was at someone else's house. I felt calmer in the quieter space and my baby could sense that. Without a doubt, if I felt relaxed, she'd feed better. If that sounds familiar, don't be afraid to ask your Thanksgiving host if they have a room that you could use to breastfeed. You'll get to nurse in peace and get a little respite from those relentless relatives giving you unsolicited baby advice.
However, sneaking off to a different room every time you need to breastfeed can start to feel annoying. Over time, I started feeling like I was missing out on a lot of conversations, and like I was only half present at important events. Honestly, it felt lonely sitting in a room nursing, while I could hear peels of laughter coming from the other room. That's why I forced myself to become more comfortable with breastfeeding around friends and family. I'd simply whip out a swaddle, drape it over the exposed area, and continue on with the conversation. For me, that was a major accomplishment.
Yes, I know, that there are many moms out there that will tell you to just whip out the nip and own it — and I love that message — but that wasn't me, and I'm okay with that. I'm still a feminist. I still believe women's bodies are beautiful, powerful and amazing. I just felt less anxiety when I had some fabric over me.
Plus, it turns out there are a lot of breastfeeding cover options that aren't limited to just throwing a blanket over yourself. There are scarves — like this breastfeeding infinity scarf ($20, A Pea In The Pod) or this 4-in-1 nursing scarf ($20, Target) — and ponchos, like this Dria Pod ($24, Dria Covers). Some of my friends swear by nursing covers, like this one ($30, Bebe Au Lait). You can also opt to breastfeed your baby in a front carrier, as long as it's designed with that purpose in mind.
When it comes to breastfeeding, the most important thing is to do what makes you feel the most comfortable, and to take care of yourself. "It's easy to get carried away in focusing on what your baby needs. Moms must always remember to take care of their own needs, too," explained Parents.
And if you have a relative who decides to make a joke or a comment that makes you feel uncomfortable, you can always tell them to get with the times, while showing them a photo of the stunning swimsuit model who breastfed while walking the runway. No matter how you do it, breastfeeding is beautiful.
Season 2 of Doula Diaries shares the stories of fearless doulas helping their clients take control of their births and make tough choices that feel right to them. Watch the first episode of the new season Monday, November 26th.