I've sat down too many times to count in hopes of beginning this post only to get stuck and abandon it. I'm quite the talker in real life and even write Facebook status updates that roll over in to the first comment (or two)! Yet coming to The Connected Mom to begin contributing has me at a loss for words. I think it's due in part to the fact that I want my posts to reflect your concerns and interests. Like my bio states, I've experienced a lot as a mom and I am working hard to become a better mom. I figure you're here for similar reasons. You're possibly a mom who already has a firm grip on her parenting and is looking for a place to read what like minded moms think. Maybe you're looking for guidance in one area or another that you feel strongly about but are having challenges with. My hope, though, is to also help the moms who stumble by unplanned. I want to hear from you-- all of you-- about what you need.
On my mind this week is breastfeeding; at my house, we call it "boo". "Boo" is it's own noun and verb. It can be past (boo'd), present (boo'ing), or future (*will/going to* boo) tense. My 8 year old daughter boo'd for less than a month after she was born. My 3.5 year old daughter boo'd for 31 months, weaning when I was almost 8 months pregnant and was hospitalized for a week. She boo'd for her final time this January when I brought home her brother and finished up simply stating 'Kee-yen (Killian) can has dees boos'.
Killian has generously accepted the passing of the boos. We've battled mastitis when he was a week old, struggles with reflux, and thrush. At barely 7 months old, he carries more history than he will know for many years. My pregnancy with Killian was preceded by an 'early miscarriage' and he is named after my grandfather as well as my husband's grandfather. When he was born, I had that moment of thinking 'such a big name for such a little guy'-- Killian Joseph Merritt B. He's the baby that has solidified my nursing in public *NIP* skills. More than that, he's the baby that has solidified my 'nursing in front [of] family' *NIFF... ok, so i made that up* skills. You will find all kinds of information about how to NIP comfortably, but not so much about NIFF. It's amazing how family who changed my diapers are the ones that I worry about boo'ing around. They're married, they've had kids, they know how this whole shebang works, but yet I will excuse myself from the room to avoid potentially making them uncomfortable. I've realized that sometimes NIFF is harder than NIP. It's easy to say "put a blanket over your head/go in the bathroom for your lunch/look away" when you're talking about strangers, but what about when it's your own family? Only recently have I nonchalantly began to NIFF mid-conversation-- without a *gasp* cover. Oh yeah-- that's right-- one too many games of peek-a-boob and hot natured children have meant that I might throw a hand or the end of a sling over that bit of skin, but that's about it.
A recent moment NIFF caught me at my uncle's wedding at which I was a guest and cake baker/server. Earlier in the evening, I was boo'ing in a main room and shared a giggle with those around me when a woman who was behind me couldn't see what I was doing tried to pass cake plates over my shoulder so I could serve the cake! After the cake was cut, I stepped into a quiet area adjacent to all the hubbub and socializing to boo Killian. A few minutes later my sister in law walked in. She was photographing the ceremony/reception and would be leaving shortly. Until recently, she's been in the "I support you & know the benefits, but I don't especially want to watch" camp. I think she's finally realized that if Killian is anything like Marley, he'll be boo'ing for quite a while yet which means my boob will be out more often than not! :o) She pulled out her camera and snapped a photo which I will treasure forever.
Killian's hand holding my necklace. It's stamped with the names of all 3 children, has each of their birthstones, and a stone for the baby we lost. He wraps his chubby little hand around that disc and pulls/tugs more than I thought that chain could take. The moment she snapped that seemingly simple photo was special not only because of what was in the photo, but because of all the things you can't see. She chose to allow me to NIFF even when I had removed myself. I was in 'front' of more family than I've been around under one roof in over 10 years, even though I was in one of the less populated rooms.
Have you had worries about NIFF? Do you try to avoid it? Is your family accepting of your choice to nurse whenever/where ever? If you NIFF without exception, did you have to work up to it or was it just something you did automatically? If you don't NIFF, is it because you are uncomfortable, because you worry about making them uncomfortable, or something else entirely?
*Necklace by StephieMc Designs on Etsy *