In August, we ventured out on our first family vacation. With a bourgeois puppy and sleep allergic 11month old in tow, I’m not gonna lie; My basement was backed up for about a week preparing for this trip (if you know what I mean! I can’t help it. Happens every time I’m stressed). So! :black girl blush: after packing diapers, wipes, sunblock, coconut oil (don’t leave home without it! We us it as a skin and hair moisturizer for the whole family), squeeze pouches of food, puffs, sippy cups, bibs, cheerios, and the other essentials, like clothes, we were ready to head out.
Mind you, I packed Chi’s stuff a few days in advance, which means I stuffed all of my belongings in a bag the night before. Before baby, I would’ve packed enough clothes and make-up to last me a good month just in case my luggage didn’t arrive (always pack clothes in the carry on), or…I wanted to change outfits 3x’s a day. Not that I ever do, but just in case. This time I barely made it out with enough underwear and toothpaste. Parenting changes lives, y’all. Trust.
I woke Chi up at 6am (he was still in his crib at that point). I was scared. My little man is sensitive, so waking him up early can be a joyful experience (“woah, Mama! you woke me before I woke you?! You win the day! Gimme some love! :smiles and babble), or a run and hide for your life kind of thing (“Curses, you woman!! Let me sleeeep!! I will cry and scream until the authorities come and lock you away!!!”).
Luckily, this was a joyful experience. I crept into his room, leaned over his crib, and sang his theme song while rubbing his back. (Yes, baby boy has a theme song. I made it for him when he was about 4 days old, and Matt and I sing it every time we wake him up.). He rubbed his eyes, and allowed me to scoop him up without protesting. I sat in the glider and nursed him as he drifted in and out of sleep. I was hoping that I might be able to load him into the carseat while asleep, but his furry brother came galloping into the room exclaiming “Ruff Bark Bark Bark” and some other ish that means “It’s vacay time!!!” in dog speak. So Chi was up and ready to go. He entertained himself in the backseat as we drove from G-ville to Jacksonville, with only a brief spell of crying which was coupled with the stench of “baby let it OUT!” So, I changed his diaper in the car and we boarded the shuttle to get to the airport.
At this point, it had been about 2 hours since Chi woke, which meant it was nap time. He was starting to get a little fussy, so while on the shuttle I nursed him. Here’s the thing. Have you seen this commercial ?It didn’t take a second child for me to get to this point. Once you have a screaming hungry baby and heavy, leaking jugs of milk attached to your body, you couldn’t care less about who’s looking. I don’t remember when it happened, but around 3 months of breastfeeding, I decided that I was not going to be ashamed of feeding my baby. It’s ridiculous to allow the brokenness of society to have such power over my body and mothering. So, I nursed him and he started to drift off, but with all of the sights, he just couldn’t commit.
I usually try to wear clothing that will allow Chi and I the privacy that we need. On this particular day, I wore a blazer that covered the majority of my breast, and gave him a dark space that he could nestle in should he fall asleep. The last time that I traveled with Chi, I boarded the plane while nursing him. This time, I left the shuttle with him still latched on. I try to make sure that when he does unlatch, I can quickly cover my boob to ensure no one gets a free peek. I almost didn’t make it this time because he was soo excited to see where we were. This is the only part about breastfeeding that still makes me a little anxious, but I am rarely in these kinds of situations.
Throughout our travels to and fro, I nursed him in the Ergo and eventually got him to sleep there as well. And on both flights, I was able to nurse him to sleep on the plane. Everyone around us commented on what a great baby he is (well, duh!). There were no tantrums, no melt downs, no tears! I nursed him as we ascended into the air to avoid his ears from popping. Every time he seemed tired or overwhelmed, I offered him milk and he’d calm down or sleep.
*A little known fact about breastfeeding is that it releases oxytocin and prolactin, which helps mothers relax and even makes you feel sleepy. Like the ‘itis hit you hard! So his frequent nursing really helped to comfort me as well.
I’m always aware of who’s around me when I’m nursing in public. For the most part, people are very respectful. I’ve had the occasional stare-er, but they’ve always been women, who are mothers, and we usually end up having conversations about our children and how precious this stage of motherhood is. As I write this, I have been breastfeeding for exactly 1 year and 2 weeks! That’s a lot of milk and so much bonding time with my boy. We are in the serious weaning process now as he’s eating full grown man meals now and my milk supply is slowly dwindling.
As our breastfeeding experience is coming to an end, I have plenty of memories to laugh at (fighting with a screaming baby for 15 minutes trying to get him to nurse under one of those covers), and so much to be proud of. I feel like a Breastfeeding Ninja, whatever that means. When I first began, I was running to the parking lot to secretly nurse my baby in the car. Now, I’ve nursed in the mall, airport, doctor’s office, at the park, church, Target, restaurants; basically everywhere that Malachi and I have traveled together.
You go, boobs! And you go God for giving me such portable feeding devices! To infinity and beyond!