I was a young Mom, when my first was born.

As much as the maternal instincts hit me when he was placed into my arms, so did the notorious maternal doubt.

11885337_10153124628983499_4886497820066003359_n

Doubting myself. My thoughts, my abilities to be a mother to this tiny, fragile, beautiful little squish. If I recall correctly, I thought the hospital staff was downright bat shit to be letting me leave with him just a few hours after he was born. I didn’t know how to change him. I didn’t know how to bop, bounce or sway him into contentment. I barely knew how to hold him…hell, I was still struggling to feed him!

The doubts. They were suffocating. I would stand over his peacefully sleeping body, listening for any signs of distress. Something so small, so fragile…so precious.

It was terrifying to know that I was it. I was EVERYTHING to him.
I wasn’t sure I was up to the job.

Being a nervous first time Mom meant that I was hesitant to leave the house. The house where he could sleep in his cozy swing, where I could make stupid noises and dance moves to get him to stop crying. Home, where I could lounge, full bare boobies out, no shame.

Out of the house, it was next level. I was a new person, with a new purpose, and stepping out into the real world put it all to the test.
69801_10152666496690038_989650837_n
Our first outing was to the mall. My then fiance (now husband) was hired to play some music out front, on a busy street corner. I convinced myself that it was the perfect first excursion. Sweet daddy tones, fresh air. I could pop baby into the carrier and sway with him.
And that is exactly how it went.
Until baby started sucking on his fists.
Until he started smacking his little lips.
Until he was hungry.

I had mulled over this scenario for close to a year. Trying to imagine how I would feel about nursing my baby in public. To be honest, it made me nervous.

Not because I think it’s shameful. Not even because I was entirely worried about what other people were going to think, or say to me.

You see…I was raised in a “fully clothed” household. We were NOT the clan to strut around in our birthday suits on Saturday morning, eating cereal out of empty yogurt containers (like my husbands “hippie” fam). We didn’t poop with the door open or intrude on each other’s shower time privacy to use the bathroom mirror.
I grew up displaying modesty.11425423_10152968237743499_6201525824257600742_n

I have always been conservative with my body. Magic Mike made me want to be swallowed up by my theatre seat, and just the thought of a nude beach makes me worried that my face will become permanently magenta.

The idea of breastfeeding in public made me squirm with embarrassment. Strangers seeing my side boob? I would rather the ugly lobby carpet come to life and gobble me up.

But…ya know…babies need to eat.

I found the quietest corner that I could.
I tucked myself behind a potted tree, on a little metal bench. I took my baby out of the carrier. Took the receiving blanket out of my nursing bag. I struggled to juggle both. Bare boob in one hand, baby in the other. Fumbling. Awkward. Simon Cowell would have X’d me for sure.

Trying to flop the receiving blanket over my nakedness, I desperately looked around to see if anyone was noticing my clumsy efforts. 

More people flooded around my reclusive bench.

My anxiety rose.
I shoved my exploding breast back into my shirt (squirting my little one square in the face with an uzi blast of momma’s finest) and darted for the bathroom.

Yes…the bathroom.

I locked myself into the stall, making a tiny stool in the corner out of my nursing bag. I balanced my little cherub on my lap and finally, I fed him.

We quieted, together. Him gulping down mouthfuls of contentment, looking up at me with adoration. I stroked his fuzzy little head, the stress of the “bench debacle” melting away with his heart melting suckles
It was peaceful.
Peaceful…until the fucking toilet in the stall next to us flushed, and my baby unlatched and screamed in terror. Screamed so loudly, so torturously that I wanted to crawl out of my skin.

What was I doing?! Why was I doing this to him? To myself? To us?

Hiding away in a bathroom stall, crouched on the piss covered floor, just to save myself the modesty of skin? Fucking side boob.

It was a turning point for me, in motherhood. In life. 

11248957_10153028150853499_8115070739867365287_nYou see…I fully, whole heartedly support public breastfeeding. I will fight for it, I will speak up for it, I’ll even march angrily with homemade signs.

I understand the power of the movement. I understand the voracity that has come alongside that battle, to normalize breastfeeding. It is necessary, and it is overdue.

But.
BUT.
There’s one thing that gets overshadowed, in that boisterous fight.

Some women don’t want to breastfeed in public.
Some women want to drape a cover over their breast. Some women want to find solitude in a quiet, desolate room.
Some women just aren’t comfortable with any level of undress around anyone, strangers, friends, or even family.
And that is okay.

11249469_10153333389133499_787381780669233969_oIt feels somewhat serendipitous that Medela reached out to me for this campaign in particular. They want me to write to you about 3 things. The Freestyle Double Electric Pump. The MyMedela App.
And the Calma feeding system.

I say this is serendipitous because the Calma feeding system literally saved my sanity.

My second born was picky. He wanted me. Nobody else would do. My comfy body and my breast was all the nourishment that he wanted.
With a 19 month old hanging off of me, and a 4 month old that wouldn’t let me break away, I was desperate for some help. Desperate for some sort of solution.
I NEEDED TO BREATHE. I needed just an hour, or two, or dear sweet JEEEZUS maybe even three, when somebody wasn’t clawing at my body, needing me.
I needed him to take a bottle.
But he responded to bottles like they personally offended him.

I started outsourcing information. Asking friends, Google, the GODS. Anyone that could help me find a solution, and some sort of peace.

Then I found the Calma feeding system.
Basically it is a bottle created to mimic the mouth shape and muscle usage needed in extracting milk from an actual nipple. It doesn’t interfere with an established latch, and gives baby the exact same breath, break or rest ratios as real breastfeeding. Baby uses the same facial muscles as when feeding to create a vacuum with Calma, which reduces risk of ear infections, malocclusion, and promotes proper orofacial development.
Honestly…I don’t really know what half of those words mean but they sound scary as shit, so maybe try to avoid them.
I bought that shit. I was so on board. Actually, I bought 3 of them.
I’m happy to tell you, the Calma worked like a hot damn.
I drank all the wine. I danced with my girlfriends. My baby ate, slept, and my husband bonded with him over a fancy little bottle.
Glorious. Happy days.

20161101-504275030Seeing as this is the 21st Century, Medela has also come out with the MyMedela App. Basically…a handy lil friend, tucked into your cell, that can help you maneuver the sometimes intimidating world of parenting. Helping you keep track of all things baby; weight, height, feedings, diapers, golden showers….Ok, maybe not the last one (though consider that a warning. If you’re a parent, that’s part of the deal).

They are calling the MyMedelaApp the “ultimate breastfeeding companion”…which is pretty rad since my breastfeeding companion was usually Cheetos. This one is FREE…and won’t give you orange fingers.

I covered a fair amount on the Freestyle Double Electric pump in my last Medela post…but I’ll give you the rundown here too.
Other pumps? Crap.

This pump? GENUIS.
Hands free, lightweight, rechargeable batteries, scientifically designed to extract more milk in less time.
Best.

You’re welcome.
Here’s the honest truth, my friends.

I MAY be getting paid to write about these products. But the cool thing is…I would have written about them anyways.

The MyMedela App would have saved me hours of exhausted worry, and brain wracking. The Freestyle Double Electric pump is the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying out (though my husband is still mildly traumatized by his experience), and the Calma feeding system literally saved my sanity, many times over.

If I had had that pump, and those bottles when my first was born, I wouldn’t have had to deal with squatting in a bathroom stall with my littlest hobo. I wouldn’t have had to contemplate feeding him formula on our outings, just to avoid the anxiety that came from public breastfeeding.
I had options. More options than I knew at the time.

11822488_10153067365298499_4691988662030127298_nAs Moms, it is part of our duty to stick together, and support each other. That’s my belief, at least.
Motherhood is hard. It’s scary, and exhausting, and full of guilt and self doubt. The only people that can fully understand that level of physical and emotional strain…are other Moms.
We have got to have each other’s backs.
Whether that be talking our mom friends through panic attacks about their baby’s first doctor visits. Encouraging each other that we’re doing a great job, despite our inner dialogue trying to convince us of the contrary.

Or bringing light to something, like a pump, or a bottle, or a fancy friggin’ app that might ease the work or stress load in our day to day.
We have to be each other’s sounding boards of normal. To remind each other that feeling defeated can be normal. Feeling anxious can be normal. Sitting in our mini vans in the driveway, crying into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s after a particularly brutal day…hell, that’s normal as fuuuuck.
So whether or not you take my advice on these Medela products, or life in general, that’s not the point I’m trying to make.
The point is…I’ve got your back.
You’ve got her back.
She’s got my back.
And we’ve alllll got Ben & Jerry’s.

Make sure to look below my weirdly excited face for a chance to win your very own Medela Freestyle Double Electric Pump!

12043117_10153238582048499_5915412649166457927_n
Medela #MedelaCanada Freestyle Double
Breast Pump Giveaway

Comments

comments

2 Comments on Breastfeeding Anxiety; A Side Boob Story

  1. Kate Slade
    November 1, 2016 at 11:31 pm (11 months ago)

    AWESOME post Amie!!! Love reading your writing.

    Reply
  2. Rachael
    November 11, 2016 at 3:04 am (11 months ago)

    Oh Aime! We are soul sisters…your experiences and feelings bring back a million memories from not that long ago. And by the way, I, too, was brought up displaying modesty – my husband, eh, not so much! Gotta love hippies! I totally get you! 🙂

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *