Why do I suddenly feel the urge to burn my bra?

I have a secret longing to be one of those wild and free women who are perfectly comfortable with nursing uncovered in public.

I nurse uncovered at home (yes, even in front of my mother-in-law. Her squirming is usually way more noticeable than she realizes). I nurse uncovered at the homes of friends who are breastfeeding friendly. I nurse uncovered at doctor’s appointments. I’ve even nursed Wyatt uncovered in my car in front row of the parking lot at a London Drugs – and the back seat of my husband’s truck multiple times.

But, I have yet to just ”whip it out” in a public place full of potentially staring gazes like a coffee shop, restaurant or the food court at a shopping mall.

Tonight, we had a large family supper at a Chinese buffet restaurant. Wyatt was perched on a chair beside my husband sleeping in his car seat. When he woke, he simply squirmed and gave me ”the look”.  I just assume that every breastfeeding Momma knows what that look is. My Wyatt gets these soft eyes, opens his mouth and gently moves his tongue to the front of his mouth. Perhaps it’s the same with bottle fed babies?  I insisted that I could feed him there. I had my hooter hider in the diaper bag,  but Mike said he was fine. Mike gave Wyatt his soothie and it tied him over until we left.

I realized this moment felt like a loss to me. Another opportunity to bare it all had passed me by. Honestly, I probably would have still covered as my husband keeps saying he doesn’t want me completely uncovered in front of his family. But, I was potentially one step closer to nursing in public… And one step closer to nursing UNCOVERED in public.

I’ve had large breasts for as long as I can remember (meaning Grade 3-4 when I was the only girl wearing a training bra). I can’t wear a simple V neck tshirt without cleavage. This actually works to my benefit for breastfeeding as the two-shirt approach is a typical staple of my wardrobe.

During my teens and early 20s, I embraced my generous bra size and used them to my advantage (in retrospect, probably disadvantage as I needed more self respect and self love but that’s a whole other topic…). Cleavage was my friend especially if I was headed out for a night at the bar. My gigantic tits got me the attention I wanted at that time. As I grew up and my career progressed,  I covered up more and more. The concept of that cleavage peaking out made me feel slutty. I wanted to be taken seriously, and for a natural blonde with big breasts, that meant keeping the ta-tas hidden. It was a never-ending love/hate relationship.

Even though cleavage has been my friend, I was always insecure about my bare boobs. Just because they looked appealing to the eye when nicely propped up in a halter top didn’t mean that they would have the same effect when naked. In the past 8 weeks, the number of people who have seen my bare breasts has exponentially increased –  even if it is just select friends and family.

When I began breastfeeding, I lost all insecurity around the shape and size of my boobs. It doesn’t matter how big they are or what my nipples look like. What matters is that they are doing a damn good job of feeding my son!  My breasts are no longer merely an overly sexualized part of my body. For the first time in my life,  I feel like my breasts serve their true purpose. I’m proud of the nourishment they provide to my baby. And I couldn’t be happier. I love my breasts. They finally bring me joy.

I want to be comfortable breastfeeding uncovered in public because I want to step out from the girl I was before into the woman – the mother – I am now. Our journey to bring our son into this world is so much deeper than a moment of conception.  It’s a story of acceptance and a big part of that is me accepting myself – big boobs and all!

Mothering is an act of love. As long as the child is thriving, no judgement should be made. I believe woman should be able to feed her child from a breast – covered or uncovered – or from a bottle. The choice is hers, not that of some stuffy old man who has no problem gawking when Momma’s out for a night on the town, but all of a sudden has issues when a tiny human is latched to eat? Come on now…

Besides, my son hates being covered when eating. I want him to know that his Momma loved him enough to do whatever she could to make him as comfortable as he could be…and if that means breastfeeding uncovered in public,  I vow I will do it!

I’m still searching for my tribe. I’ve got a few Mommy friends who breastfeed,  but I want to find my vibe with others who can help me break out of my shell of conformity and into the freedom of motherhood that I’ve worked so hard to get to.

Boobies unite (.)(.)

Postpartum must haves

Here’s my list of essential postpartum items that helped me get through the first few days at home with baby.

Menstrual pads

Stock up on pads! I’ve always had a lighter period and I’ve been using a menstrual cup for years. Pads are just something I don’t have in stock at home.

I feel like a dumb ass because I really didn’t expect THAT much bleeding after delivery. I kept joking that it looked like a massacre had occurred in my hospital bathroom.

Pre-delivery,  I had purchased two packs of the Natracare brand menstrual pads (one maternity – 10 pack, one ultra with wings – 14 pack).  Well, let’s just say these were gone within two days of getting home. I ended buying two packs of U by Kotex overnight pads (28 X 2 – I would have preferred the Natracare brand, but I wasn’t driving across town to get them). One week postpartum, I’ve got about half a pack left as my bleeding has subsided quite a bit. I would compare both the Natracare maternity pads and the Kotex overnight pads to the one that the hospitals supply. My public health nurse also advised me that she hears that Always is the least comfortable brand for postpartum needs.

Point being: buy more than you think you will need.

maternitypadskotexpads

Depend disposable underwear (or any other brand of disposable diaper/panties)

Yes, I’m 100% supporting you wearing oh-so-sexy granny diapers. My friend suggested this tip and it is a laundry saver!Our hospital offered disposable undies but I found the nurses were stingy on bringing me additional pairs when I was running out. Depends saves your own panties because we really wants to be doing more laundry in those first few days?

I used a Depend + a menstrual pad. I tried just the Depend one night but leaked (another tip: put an old pair of sheets on the bed).

If you are looking for a less diaper-ish style, try the Depend Silhouettes. They even have a lower rise cut which still hit me at waist level but wasn’t as Granny.

Honestly, the first few days at home I was mainly topless or wearing a nursing bra and these hot pants.You want comfort and ease.

dependsilhouette

Padsicles & Perenium Spray

Now, take those pads you bought and make yourself a nice stash of padsicles. Those first few days postpartum the padsicle will feel like heaven on your sore lady bits.

I used this recipe from the Modern Alternative Mama. I omitted the aloe and simply wrapped my padsicles in the wrapper they came with.  I personally use Young Living essential oils,  but there are many brands out there that you can try.

The recipe can also be used as a perenium spray. Simply pour it into a spray bottle and give your lady bits a nice spray down after every trip to the bathroom.

Lactation Cookies

I made these a few days before I went into labour. My milk came in great. I don’t know if I can attribute it to the cookies,  but I’m sure they helped. I even brought some to the hospital with me to snack on after delivery.

I used this lactation cookie recipe. If you have trouble finding brewer’s yeast,  check your local health food store. I added chocolate chips and dried apricots to my cookies. Mmmmm.  They are also a nice quick snack for once you are home with baby. Very filling.

lactation-cookies-2

Nursing Bra

We have an amazing local Mama/Baby store that carries a variety of nursing products. I visited them in my 3rd trimester to be fitted for a nursing bra. It’s a good idea to get at least one bra for those first few days postpartum. You may need to buy another size once your milk comes in,  but if you go to a reputable store,  an expert should be able to find you a versatile style that may work for a while. You will want a style without underwire when you milk is coming in.

I went with the Bravado Bliss style.  It still fits, but it’s slightly tight on the right boob since my milk came in. I popped by the store on Friday and picked up another style, the Bravado Essential Embrace. Go with something you find comfortable. Note: both these styles work well for giant ta-tas. 

Essential-embrace_black_bra

Nipple Cream

I didn’t put a lot of thought or research into nipple creams. A friend recommended I bring some to the hospital, so I picked up a tube of the standard Lansinoh Lanolin cream.

My nips were totally chapped after the first night of learning to breastfeed. It’s hard to get a good latch when you are a first time Momma and have just endured 22 hours of labour. This cream has been a lifesaver. Since my milk came in, I’m using breastmilk more often than the cream, but it still works.

nipplecream

Water bottle

Let me rephrase this: a water bottle that you can drink from with 1 hand. The first few days into nursing, I was juggling my boob and the baby. I love my Swell water bottles, but the lid requires two hands to open it. I switched to the Contigo one-handed style to ensure I can nurse my baby and sip my water at the same time.

contigowaterbottle

What were your essential items for postpartum?