how to breast feed (and still have a life)
Answers for five oft-asked questions about nursing
How do I get out the door (minus baby) to go to the gym?
If your baby has a predictable schedule, you could try to squeeze a workout in between feedings, but more likely, you’ll need to leave a bottle of expressed milk (pumped from your breast) with your caregiver. Crase advises parents to wait a minimum of three weeks after delivery to introduce baby to bottle — and then to let someone other than mom handle the bottle feeding. A baby may refuse the bottle if she can smell you.
To express milk, you’ll need to rent or buy a breast pump. The least expensive but most labor-intensive method is manual pumping. The easier, but more costly, option is an electric pump. Once a pumping schedule is established, a double pump can drain both breasts in about 10 minutes.
What is the best way to breastfeed in public? If you want to keep a life of your own, you probably will be toting your baby all over town, and eventually, your baby will be hungry. Not to worry: It is possible to nurse discreetly in public.
Wear clothing that is roomy and easy to pull up or unbutton. If you unbutton from the bottom up, you won’t bare your entire breast. If you still feel self-conscious, throw a receiving blanket over your chest and your baby. You also may want to try nursing with your baby in a sling. By changing the position of the sling, a baby can nurse almost invisibly.
Can I return to work without giving up breastfeeding? Yes. Thanks to breast pumps, it’s possible to work and nurse both. But you’ll need to do some planning.
Try to nurse your baby at least once — twice, if possible — before leaving for work. While away, pump on your baby’s schedule or, as Crase suggests, when your breasts feel full. To avoid embarrassing leaks, slip nursing pads inside your bra (reusable fabric pads are best). You can store expressed breast milk in the refrigerator for up to about eight days, according to La Leche League, and in the freezer for six months.
Then, find a caregiver who understands that breastfed babies need to eat more often and who is willing to hold off on feedings at the end of the day until just before you come home from work. That way, you can nurse as soon as you get home.
At the end of the workday and on weekends, try to feed your baby on demand. That will replenish your milk supply and maintain that special bond between you and your baby.