For the first few weeks of my first daughter’s life, I carried a bottle of expressed milk everywhere I went. I honestly have no idea why I did this; we never left the house for more than an hour and she probably wouldn’t have taken it anyway. But I was scared . . . okay, terrified . . . that she might get hungry and I would actually have to feed her. Breastfeeding at that point was an extremely elaborate affair involving complete removal of shirts, propping of pillows, numerous disastrous latch-on attempts, and occasionally some small amount of milk actually making it into the baby. Eventually I realized we needed to get past this level of complexity with every feeding if we were ever going to have a life. Thankfully, we did . . . possibly due to some divine intervention, because honestly I still felt utterly clueless and best I could tell she did, too. Once we reached the point when nursing was no longer An Event but simply How Baby Ate, we were ready to take our show on the road.
We started small . . . a mostly empty cry room at church, the women’s Bible study, a booth in the very back corner of Panera Bread. Before long we could nurse with reasonable subtlety just about anywhere . . . not that subtlety was a requirement, but I found that I actually enjoyed being able to breastfeed my daughter anytime, anywhere and it was like our little secret, special time. Little old ladies (and some young ones, too) would walk right up to us, think she was sleeping, and peer over to take a peek. A few of them even patted or rubbed her head, and they had no idea that under the cute little pink blanket my shirt was yanked up from the bottom and sweet little baby girl was latched on to yummy goodness.
Of course as she grew and became more wiggly, subtlety kind of went out the window, and even though pink blanket still traveled with us, it soon became obvious What She Was Doing Under There. We curtailed our “public” nursing when she was about 20 months old . . . I was 6 months pregnant with her little sister by then, and my belly was starting to expand to the point where nursing laying down was really the only comfortable option. When little sister arrived, trusty pink blanket resurfaced, and we enjoyed many “outings” of our own.
I’m expecting my third baby in a few months, a little boy this time. I’m sure I have a blue blanket around here somewhere . . .