mothers' room

It took Emmett about a week at home to get the hang of nursing. I was tense and upset, because he wouldn't latch, and he was having a lot of trouble latching and doing a lot of screaming. He was lazy and unwilling to latch because of all the bottles he had while in the NICU. Once he got it, though, he got it. He's been good at it ever since and hasn't had any trouble latching. We even give him bottles a few times a week, and he has no trouble transitioning. He certainly gets plenty to eat, as he outgrows clothes at an alarming rate and I can just about see him grow as I watch him each day. Basically, he settled right in and hasn't looked back.

It took me a little longer. I was relieved when he started nursing well, and I relaxed quite a bit. But I still felt very unbalanced and completely without control when it came to his feeding. I don't think I am alone in this, but I felt like his eating schedule was so unpredictable, I couldn't leave the house unless it was right after he ate and we would be back in under 2 hours to make absolutely sure he wouldn't get hungry while we were out. I lacked the confidence to even consider the idea of feeding him outside our apartment.

A week or so after he became good at nursing, we introduced a bottle again, because I didn't want him not to be able to take a bottle. And he, as I already said, had no trouble transitioning back and forth. After that, I became comfortable enough to be out for one feeding, where we'd give him a bottle, and be home in plenty of time for the next feeding. That felt like such a big step.

When Emmett was 4 weeks old, we began our Christmas travel, with almost a week spent in CT for Christmas with my family, and then 4 days in PA to celebrate Christmas with them and spend New Years Eve with Mike's sister and her family. I was forced to adjust quickly, but it turned out to be fairly easy, because I was comfortable feeding him at my parents' house. I became confident enough to take him out regardless of his feeding schedule as long as we'd be at someone's house, where there was a quiet room I could take him to nurse.

This was all big progress, and his feeding schedule was becoming a bit more predictable. I was still unwilling to consider feeding him in any type of public place. I have no problem when people nurse in public, and theoretically I have no problem doing it myself. I even have a cute little nursing cover that our cousin gave me as a gift. I am just too shaky and self-conscious to try it thus far.

On Saturday, Mike and I went up to a mall about a half hour away, and planned to do some errands, have lunch, and poke around. I decided I could be comfortable enough to be out for two feedings, one bottle of breast milk pumped before we left, and one bottle of formula for the second feeding.

Toward the end of the afternoon, we were nearly ready to go, and Emmett was very hungry. I decided that since we were about ready anyway, we'd find a bathroom where I could change him, and then I'd nurse him in the car before we left, which I wasn't really comfortable with, but it seemed like the best option.

We poked around the kids' section in Nordstrom, treated ourselves to one or two adorable things for Emmett, and then used their bathroom. I found that they had a separate room inside, labeled "Mothers' Room." I looked in and found a room with three comfy armchairs, spread around the room, a large padded changing table counter, and a large sink counter area with soap and paper towels. It was well-designed and comfy, and I suddenly had the confidence to feed Emmett while we were out.

I was completely comfortable feeding him there. I sat, relaxed, fed him and changed him and he was happy and settled by the time we left.

So was I. It may sound completely silly, but that small, thoughtful addition to their ladies' room made me feel like a competent mother. Made me feel like I can do this. I can take care of Emmett anywhere, and do what I need to do, be what I need to be for him.

I still don't know that I would plop myself on a bench in the middle of a busy mall or park and nurse Emmett, but I know that I would find a way and that I can do this. I don't have to be a slave to an unpredictable feeding schedule. He will adapt, and I will adapt, and we will be just fine!


maresi said...

After hearing so many stories of idiots telling mothers that nursing in public is illegal (it's not) and that they have to stop or go somewhere else (they don't) it's really nice to hear your experience. Go Nordstrom!

I had to nurse Maria once in Babies R Us - where you would think they'd have a nice mother's room like what you described, but it was like a dark little hole, with uncomfortable seating and dingy paint and carpet. It was gross.

Katherine said...

I have yet to come across a room like that (but then again, I do not shop at Nordstrom's!) but the maternity store in our mall has a comfortable and roomy dressing room for nursing as well. The only problem was the wall sized mirror that Julia kept wanting to look at! You'll get more confident as you go (or more desperate, sometimes!) I nursed Julia on a bench (secluded but still just a bench) in the Tampa Zoo. It was completely empty when I started, but then about 3 families came by before we were done. Later that same day I fed her at a picnic table at the beach. At least the bathing suit was easy to pull aside :) Oh well! Good luck and thanks for sharing your experiences! Can't wait to see you again!

Jennifer said...

SO PROUD OF YOU!!!! I'm going to take a guess you were at the Garden State Plaza because I have used that room many times...Neiman Marcus has one too just for future reference!
Your a wonderful mom Amy!

Anonymous said...

It takes so long to get comfortable!
Now that I'm nursing baby #2 (who is really a toddler now) I am much more comfortable nursing anywhere.

One trick I always do is ask for a dressing room when shopping. I usually (not always) tell them I have to nurse my baby and I've never had a bad experience. Even when I'm not trying on any clothes.

IKEA is awesome. They totally have nursing areas in their restrooms.

UT is awesome in that there are so many nursing mamas (probably b/c of all the mormons) :) so the airport has nursing areas, and even the malls! Love it. The mall closest to me has a nice quiet room that is decorate so cute with 3-4 gliders in it.

Nursing is an art and takes a LOT of practice feeling confident. But, you'll get there!! Glad to hear that you are having positive experiences.

Anonymous said...

Like you, I find no problem with nursing mothers who are comfortable in any surroundings, but when I was nursing my children I always felt as though that were a personal, private thing, as well as a bonding thing.

You are doing well adjusting to being on the other end of 'demand!"

Welcome to Motherhood!


Michelle said...

It all takes time. Just go with the flow and what feels comfortable to you. Good for you sticking with it. I've nursed in Nordstrom's. They are so nice!!

BOSSY said...

Bossy never got over being too modest to nurse in public and it made her crazy needing to be home for feedings. But it all seems so long ago now, a mere blip on the radar of life.

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