When you add it all up, I've spent more than four years of my
life in various stages of breastfeeding and weaning my children. It was a long
road and, quite frankly, for a while there I was worried my youngest was never
going to give up her bedtime feeding. But honestly, those stolen moments spent
cuddling and nursing my little babies were some of the sweetest, happiest and
most tender of all my years as a mother.
They were also some of the most stressful, awkward and
That's because nursing sessions aren't always spent gazing
soulfully into your infant's eyes in the blissful, quiet privacy of her
nursery. Sometimes your baby demands to be fed when you're in the middle of
housewares at Target, causing your milk to soak two tell-tale circles through
the front of your T-shirt while you figure out a way to casually nurse standing
up behind the hanging shower curtain samples.
As a result, I learned a few practical tips during those
four years of breastfeeding. The hospital's lactation consultant will teach new
moms the Football Hold and Cross Cradle nursing positions, and those are great — but here are some other positions nursing moms need to know, and the
circumstances when they're handy.
1. The Hunch-Over: With your back curled forward until
your torso is practically a sphere, this position is useful when maximum
coverage is needed — for example, in a room where the door won't lock during a
family function and your father-in-law might wander in at any moment.
2. The Criss-Cross-Crouch: Use this one when you don't
want to stand, but there's nowhere to sit, like at the beach when you want to
avoid getting hot sand in your suit. Simply fold up all your limbs until you
look like a broken lawn chair, cradle your baby in the nest of arms and bent
legs, and rock precariously on the balls of your feet. WHAT COULD BE MORE
3. The Side-Lying Stretch: Many moms find that the best
way to get baby back to sleep at night is by lying next to her in bed. However,
experienced moms also find that lying in bed next to a nursing baby for the
400th night in a row can get super boring. From a reclined position, slowly
stretch your upper body — without budging any part that's touching the baby,
somehow — until you can reach the Kindle you left on the nightstand.
4. The Lunge: Moms are notoriously tired, and their arms
are no exception. Propping one foot up on an elevated surface and supporting
your elbow on your thigh is a great way to give those weary arms a break while
breastfeeding. If you're potty training an older child, chances are you've used
this maneuver many, many times while leaning on the edge of the bathtub.
Whether you bare it all or bundle your baby under a blanket ... know you're doing a natural, beautiful thing.
5. The Folder Wall: Using a breast pump at the office?
Surround yourself with propped-up folders if you're nervous about coworkers
barging in during your lunch hour/afternoon pumping session (although, one
might argue that exposing them to the sight of electronic suction in action is
a good way to remind them to mind their own business).
6. The Bold and the Beautiful: I'm not going to get into
the debate over whether or not it's "socially acceptable" to
breastfeed in public. The fact is, if you're nursing and you leave the house,
at some point it's bound to happen. Some bolder, breast-baring mamas take a
"Check out my chest, IF YOU DARE" approach, while others prefer more
discreetly covered-up, "If you notice I'm nursing then you're paying way
too much attention, weirdo" methods. Whether you bare it all or bundle
your baby under a blanket, sit tall, sit proud and sit pretty and know you're doing a natural, beautiful thing.