Smile, It’s Not As Overwhelming As It Sounds

Kristen and Will rocking Plymouth, MA, on her first Mother’s Day adventure.

How many moms-to-be are feeling just a little overwhelmed by all this breastfeeding talk? I’ll admit it, I’ve been there!

The good news is there’s a ton of support for you. Hooray!

The bad news is that EVERYONE has an opinion and the conversation can get pretty intense (Have you seen the talk about this week’s Time cover!?). Even as someone who tries to keep things light, I can get pretty worked up about it.

But, don’t worry, you’ll find your way! Just step back and find what makes you feel most comfortable. For me, I found comfort in the bright side of breastfeeding – the moments that make moms smile and the stories that make them laugh.

Five years down the road, I’m happy to say the smiles and laughs are what resonate most from my own experience. And so, as Mother’s Day and your D days approach, I hope some of these stories will bring you smiles and a little encouragement too.

Comfort Zone Strategy
Starting out, my little man and I preferred a private space to nurse. A cozy glider, a comfy nursing pillow, and life was good.

The outside world was calling though, and my dear friend’s baby shower was our first outing just mommy and son. Will enjoyed a long nap and I enjoyed good company. It was wonderful…until Boston traffic forced this modest mama to break out of her shell.

He was hungry and it was my job to feed him. But where was I going to go? What would I do if someone saw me? Nervously, I decided to find a shopping center and feed him in my car. Okay, but where? Look, there’s a Shaws. Oh God, what if someone walks past the car? Is that Whole Foods? Yes, Whole Foods! They understand!

I laugh now, but little strategies like this got me through plenty of nervous moments. That day, we settled into the back seat of my PT Cruiser and, despite all the overthinking, found that our comfort zone traveled.

Our family tries not to sugarcoat things. During my second pregnancy, Will became fascinated with childbirth. We explained it to him, but when he started sharing every detail with friends, family and strangers, I started wondering if we should have told him about the stork instead.

When his little sister arrived, he found a new obsession – breast milk!
To friends and family, “Mommy feeds the baby with her breast milk!”

To anyone in ear shot of the dairy section:  “Mommy, we don’t buy Joy milk at the store, you give her your breast milk!”

I was glad he was excited, but his devilish tone and the twinkle in his eyes made me think twice before I shared too much again. And so, when he approached us with his shirt up and a big grin on his face, I just rolled with it.

Me: “What are you doing, Will?”
Will: “I’m going to feed the baby with my nickels!”
Me (holding back laughs): “Your what?”
Will: “My nickels!”

I couldn’t correct him. Not just because it would serve us well in public (and, oh lord, it did!), but because it’s still the funniest thing I’ve ever heard him say.

Subliminal Messaging?
The last Harry Potter book came out the summer after Will was born. By that time, quick nurses had turned into power sessions and I found myself getting lost in the book.

When my daughter was born, I had it down to a science. Baby and boob supported by one arm, book supported by the other. And, in place of wizards and owls, I chose cheesy vampire chick lit.  At least until she started biting.

Ouch! Really? Your brother never did this! Ouch! Sorry, Edward…I’m going back to Mr. Darcy.

The Call of the Nursing Mom
By the time Joy was a few weeks old, this once modest mommy was modest no longer. Not necessarily by my own choice, but because of my son’s social life.

Will wanted to play, especially with his hero – the boy who lives across the street. If I sat on our living room couch, I could watch them shoot hoops and nurse at the same time. Eventually, they’d get bored and ask to do something else. And no matter how many times I called out, “I’m nursing!” they would still come stomping in.

I’m not sure if I traumatized our poor neighbor or if his future wife will call me her hero, but one thing’s for sure…the second time around nothing is sacred.

Every Mother’s Day, Kristen asks her family to do something they’ve never done before, but have always wanted to do. Her first was spent at Plymouth Rock, which was as overrated as everyone says, but absolutely fantastic. She hopes you all take some time to laugh with your family this weekend and simply enjoy being a mom.

One thought on “Smile, It’s Not As Overwhelming As It Sounds

  1. Love this post Kristen! Thanks for reminding us that when it seems like everyone is watching (when nursing in public, or semi-public in a car), that in fact, no one really is. It’s just our own self-consciousness creeping in, and it’s something I still struggle with! And I totally cracked up about your son wanting to use his “nickels!”

    Happy Mother’s Day!

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