Quiet Moments

Mother is Eternal | Quiet Moments

Mother is Eternal | Quiet Moments

In the early morning, I peel open my eyes but it’s still dark. There’s a hint of blue morning light beginning to creep from behind the trees. Next to me, I can feel you searching. Barely even awake. I lift my breast a little closer and almost instantly you find me. Latching on and nestling into me like a little bird under my wing, you calm back to slumber. I smile groggily, curl into you, and follow suit.

At night, I lay you down and lay next to you. The sun begins to shine elsewhere in the world. Your skin smells of lavender and fresh baby. I kiss your forehead before your plump, peach lips begin to nurse. The sweet warmth of the milk works its magic against your tongue and you begin to get drowsy. Soft music plays in the background and I do my best to sing gently to you. Eventually, you fall into slumber.

My heart sings in rhythm, beating with yours, and I’m reminded that this is home. Slowly, I breathe your love in and I breathe out the stress. It’s just us, little babe. You and I. Together. Under these vast skies and for eternity.

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How To Nurse In Public

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You’ve just sat down in a restaurant. You smile at your husband and begin to open your menu. As you start discussing the list of drinks, you hear a whimper and a stir. You look up apologetically at your husband and turn your focus to the baby. The diaper is dry, the pacifier won’t hold, and your baby is licking their lips and shoving their entire first in their mouth. This can only mean one thing so you unbuckle the seat belt or take baby out of the wrap, cradle hold your baby, take out your breast, and watch as baby settles down. You smile at your husband, flip through the menu with your free hand, and continue to discuss dinner options.

Or do you? Too often women shy away from this situation. A situation that is nothing but natural and normal. A common occurrence within the breastfeeding community of women is being uncomfortable nursing in public. For some, it’s a nerve-wracking task and for some it’s like an attached limb they’ve had their whole life. It’s understandable. For years, women’s breasts have been seen sexually rather than biologically. We favor bra ads but shy away from sharing information about breastfeeding. I’ve talked to so many new mothers who are scared of leaving the house because they don’t know what to do in this situation. Hopefully these tips can help:

Practice
Start at home. Breastfeeding may be natural but it’s not always easy. If you’re worried about breast exposure, try latching baby on at home and you’ll find you don’t expose much at all. Try different ways out. Try it with a cover and without a cover. Try it with a blanket over your shoulder that you can pull onto baby’s head until latched. Over time, you’ll be a ninja at breastfeeding without exposing much at all. Experiment and find what works for you.

Wear Appropriate Attire
I get disheveled easily. Breastfeeding in public was a snap once I wore more accessible clothing. I highly recommend a nursing bra if you don’t already have one. Besides my breasts and my pump, it’s my most valued breastfeeding tool. These are the best and easiest outfits I’ve found:

– Two piece outfits. Pants, shorts or skirts paired with a nursing bra and a loose top is the easiest outfit and my go-to. Lift your shirt from the bottom and baby can access the breast. You can pull the shirt down enough to cover any breast exposure and help make you more comfortable. If you are uncomfortable about any belly showing, you can wear a belly band or a tank top underneath your shirt.
– Dresses are wonderful as long as they are an easy, flexible material so you can pull down and access the breast.
– If you have the cash, splurge on a couple nursing clothes that already have the holes sewn in.
– Nursing tanks are great too. Buy a couple different colors and wear them with a cover up.

Pick A Comfortable Spot
Breastfeeding in public is so much easier when you find a cozy spot to sit. Making this experience comfortable will help you calm any anxiety you may have. This may mean a fitting room at a retail store, a park bench when walking around, your car at the grocery store, or a restaurant booth. You want enough space for you, your baby, and whatever else you have with you.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Some people will get uncomfortable and feel obliged to say something to you. That is their own personal issue. You are within your rights and the rights of nature. Breastfeeding in public is LEGAL in many places and for good reason. No one has the right to discriminate against you for feeding your child nor can anyone prevent you from doing so. They shouldn’t be asking you to feed elsewhere or disturbing you whatsoever.

If you’re in the states, this site summarizes the statutes for each state.

Act Confident
The trick to anything is acting confident.. even when you aren’t. You know you are doing something crucial for your child’s livelihood so own it. Smile if someone frowns at you. If someone responds negatively, here are some witty comebacks you can use. Remember, not everyone that stares at you, is staring for a negative reason. Some may be genuinely curious. If it’s hard to find your confidence, look at your baby while you’re feeding and remind yourself what’s truly important. You can also join The Badass Breastfeeder for a positive boost and more breastfeeding information and watch this video to give yourself a little laugh.

Just Do It
I know, I know. It’s easier said than done but I promise, once you do it, you’ll be refreshed. You’ll get so used to it, you won’t ever think twice of hiding away in your car or in the restroom. After a couple times, your confidence will be exploding and you’ll be a pro.

Why I Babywear and Reasons You Should, Too.

You’re lying on your activity mat observing the toys hanging above your head. You’ve been there for a few minutes by yourself, curious and content but you’re beginning to fuss. I think you’re starting to realize your alone and you’re not sure where your mother went. So I hear you whimper and I come over to you. You look at me with big blue eyes, searching me, knowing me. You look into my eyes and you whimper – an acknowledgment that you crave to be picked up. So I grab my sling and I tuck you inside close to my warmth. You whimper maybe twice more until you calm, realizing where you are. Now it’s just us with uninterrupted connection.

Babywearing has been practiced for centuries in countless cultures and countries. Often, mothers had to return to their labor not long after birth making babywearing a necessity. In most of history, women are seen carrying their babies on them rather than in a separate counterpart. By incorporating babywearing into your daily life, you can make it a whole lot simpler.

Bonding, Closeness, & Connection

One of my main reasons for babywearing is it promotes a closeness between baby and wearer. By wearing baby, you help create a warm, safe, and secure environment. This is a necessity for babies. Think about it. They were curled up tight in a womb for 9 months. Now they’re out in the world: fresh, new, and frightened. The best place for them to be? In your arms, soaking up your warmth.

Keeping them close to you in a sling allows you to connect, bond, and be close to them. Crucial actions that are dire to their development. Another great thing about babywearing is it’s not exclusive to mother alone but family and friends are able to benefit and bond as well!

Happier Baby

Research shows babies who are worn cry less. The study done by Hunziker and Barr (1986) concludes “the relative lack of carrying in our society may predispose to crying and colic in normal infants.” They also concluded 43% of babies who were carried cried less and 54% in the evenings! I don’t know any mother who would object to that.

Convenience

One of my favorite things about babywearing is both hands are free. Babywearing enables you to do chores, eat a meal, prepare a meal, go shopping, etc while tending to your baby. Not only that but you don’t have to lug a big, bulky stroller around everywhere. Some places don’t allow strollers and without one, you are able to fit into tighter and crowded spaces.

Growth & Development

In a sling or wrap, babies are at eye level. This helps promote an interaction that babies lower down are less likely to receive: talking, eye contact, etc. They have a “parent’s eye view” which helps them become aware of their surroundings (i.e. voices, tone of voice, walking patterns, etc). It helps give them a sense of “being human”. Also, by being carried, baby is able to see more compared to being condensed in a stroller and if they are seeing too much they can look elsewhere. This helps baby make independent choices. And even if mom or wearer is busy, baby is still able to learn.

Physically, it keeps baby off their back to reduce the chance of a flat spot and it promotes  proper hip development (in most carriers).

Aids Sleep

Personally, my baby has yet to find the sleepy dust that babywearing gives off as he is much too curious of everything but I have heard numerous stories and have seen countless pictures with babies asleep in slings and wraps. Also, many people have found their babies sleep longer at night when they are carried during the day.

Alleviates Muscle Pain

Let’s face it, babies are heavy and they get heavier the older they get. Babywearing evenly distributes baby’s weight across the body which helps take weight off your shoulders and back and allows you to hold baby for longer. If you often have sensitive or sore muscles, a carrier is a great addition to your mommy arsenal. 

Carrying your baby is a positive and intimate experience. I hope this inspires you to wear your baby close to you and close to your heart, exactly where they belong.