Thursday, April 26, 2007


Sidenote: First, I'd like to point out that The Lactivist has a great discussion going on here about the Christian perspective of public nursing. On the note of “perspectives”, I haven’t mentioned here yet that my husband is from South India, but I am definitely planning on discussing international perspectives regarding nursing in the future.

Okay - the comments on yesterday's post weirded me out because several of you brought up topics I was planning to discuss this week (yes, I have mapped each day's post this week). Yesterday's topic tied in perfectly with today's post I had planned, which is the subject of isolation – I almost included it with the “public nursing”, but that would have the post too onerous. The aspect of breastfeeding that I found to be the most surprising is how potentially isolating it could be - downright lonely, actually. Breastfeeding is something you do alone and often, in the bewitching wee hours of the morning. Over the first year of those eerie mornings, I remember often looking at my backyard neighbor’s lighted windows and using those as a touchstone – the gal who lives there is elderly and is up and about at ALL hours of the day. Seeing proof that another human being was alive went a long way in comforting me and it made me feel less alone - particularly when my husband was traveling.

However, there is the other aspect of isolation in that if you aren’t comfortable with public nursing, you will end up spending an inordinate amount of time sitting in your house. What many folks don’t understand is that feeding a newborn can go about every 2-3 hours and that is from the BEGINNING of each feeding. If you were cast the lot of an “every 2 hours newborn” that means this: You feed your newborn – let’s say, conservatively it takes 45 minutes. Add another 15 minutes for diaper change/cleanup/etc., you are looking at one hour MAX before the next feeding. This, my friends, is why public nursing is so very important. If you don’t nurse your baby in public, you are housebound.
With a squalling newborn.
For days on end.
And THAT is most assuredly a recipe for a gooey disaster. Fortunately, I had a crash course on public nursing when my son was 6 days old – he had jaundice and we had to go to a lab for the pin prick. I had no choice in nursing there and yep, it was HELL trying to nurse him there. But, after that, I had no qualms about running around in public which went a long, long way in my keeping my sanity in those early months of motherhood.

The other aspect of breastfeeding is simply this - it's something that others can’t do for you or even help that much. I know my husband felt pretty useless, but it was something only that I could do. And actually, I was pretty fortunate because I had my experienced sister and a wonderful breastfeeding support group. Furthermore, I could always pull out the Big Guns if needed – a cousin who is a lactation consultant at one of the hospitals in our area. So, yes - my heart really goes out to gals who are shy or who do not have a strong network of friends and family - I was always amazed at the gals who even after months and months of nursing, were reluctant to go anywhere.

But truth was, in the end, even with all that support, I was still alone.

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