Friday, November 30, 2007

an amazing trip trick: breastfeeding olympiad (and a rant)

Did I ever mention that on one of the eight cross-country plane trips we took before our triplets turned two years old, I once tandem nursed two babies and then, rotated in the third, during take-off while wedged next to a business man in coach class?

It's true.

The babies were crying because it was around nap time, they were hungry, the change in cabin pressure was hurting their little ears and traveling cross-country in a full plane can be a real drag. Although I did have Podee Bottles with me, I have always believed that nothing calms a fussy baby down like bringing them to the breast.

So, that's what I did.

Right there in coach.

While seated next to a man dressed in his fancy pinstriped business suit.

He was a good sport about it, although he definitely gave me a shocked look and exclaimed "I've never seen anything like this in my entire life!"

And I replied, "I doubt you ever will again. Bud, this is your lucky day!"

When I tell people that story, they probably imagine that I'm sitting half naked in my small coach seat, with two babies voraciously suckling. In truth, I have always tried to be a very discreet nurser. I don't pull the girls out for all the world to see. But, I'm not - nor ever (never?) have been - nervous or embarrassed to feed my babies wherever and whenever necessary.

Why should I be ashamed?

Isn't nursing a baby the
very reason I sprouted this ... equipment ... on my chest?

Breastfeeding our triplets was one experience. I've already written about that, here. Nursing a singleton is totally different and more convenient than I expected. I'm always on the go with our children. We visit various parks, the YMCA, the Zoo, church, SeaWorld, restaurants, the grocery store and Target at least once a week. And during those outings, you can almost always find my little baby Henry, strapped in to the Bjorn and contentedly nursing. I like to think of myself as employing "Mother Nature's Podee Bottles."

Although I could have invested in a hooter hider, or some other type of modest nursing cover-up or blanket clip, I don't like to fuss with too much gear. Besides, I find that whenever I drape something, like a blanket, over Henry's head, he breaks out in a profuse sweat.

Therefore, I just wear clothes that allow me to nurse my baby so that he is comfortable and I am inconspicuous. The top part of my "uniform" consists of a stretchy tank top camisole with built in bra. My absolute favorite camisoles are those made by North Face. I have one in every color and three in black.

I'll wear a camisole as my first layer and a comfortable shirt as a second.

When I need to nurse, I just pull up my shirt and pull down the camisole, exposing the tiniest amount of skin (aka: nipple) for the baby.

And this is the million dollar view that I receive.

I made the decision to nurse Henry because I've always wanted to exclusively breastfeed a baby. I believe that "Breast is Best" although formula does a fine job growing up a baby, too - and because it takes longer to digest, will probably insure that the baby sleeps through the night at an earlier age. Even though Henry is a whopping 20 pounds at almost 5 months, he still has yet to sleep through the night ... unlike our triplets who at the same age, were sleeping 12 hours when they were on a regimented schedule that involved formula supplementation.

The lack of sleep that accompanies nursing, might be considered a downside for some people. But, the fact that my infant son has been a little vacuum sucking all of my pregnancy fat out of me, more than offsets any disturbance to my slumber.

Aside from that, I love that I can pull Henry in close and feed him whenever he needs to be fed. I love that I can nurse him at night in bed, while I lightly doze. I love that I can feed him on the go and don't ever have to worry about preparing or cleaning bottles. There is something primal and awesome about pulling a baby in close and have them receive nutrition from your body. I can't put in to words, but it is the most beautiful bonding I've ever experienced.

I'm not much of an activist, probably because not much riles me up. Then again, I'm largely oblivious to what is going on in the world. But last night, I came across a blog that has really ruffled my maternal feathers.

Breastfeeding is a natural and beautiful thing.

So, I'm at a complete loss why this video montage showing images of mother's breastfeeding their babies was banned from FaceBook. It wasn't flagged as inappropriate, like so many videos are based on questionable content. It was BANNED. From FaceBook.

And, MySpace.

And, YouTube.

This is not a video depicting scantily clad women performing some perverted sexual act, like so many videos on these websites, are. It's a video of women feeding their babies. Which, I think ... might be something that women have done for as long as women have existed? Please do correct me if I'm wrong ... but I don't think Similac was around in Biblical times.

Maybe Enfamil?

Or, Nestle Good Start?

I supplemented our triplets with formula. I do not think it is a bad thing. I've written before that it is not as important what you feed your baby as how you feed your baby. But, I am really infuriated with the public demonization of women who choose to feed their baby the way nature intended.

I want to expound on the many advantages of breastfeeding. Of course the most obvious are that it is good for baby and for mom. And those breast pads that are so useful for a lactating mother to stop the artesian gush in the early months have a plethora of uses.

Here are just a few...

Tam o'shanter!!

OY VEY!! A yarmulke!!

More absorbent than Bounty and more environmentally friendly, too!

Can't find an oven mit? Reach for a BP!

You've heard of the Pee-Pee Teepee? A breast pad works just as well, if not better!

A coaster, maybe?

A bib, perhaps?

Use two as ear muffs to keep a youngster warm or muffle a mother yelling at her three-year old to leave their poopy diaper on!!

Once I can figure out how to affix one to my car antenna, I'm going to hoist one high. Because I think a breast pad fluttering in the breeze, would also make a great flag to draw awareness to the censorship and negative stigma that surrounds breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

I'm not quite sure how breastfeeding a baby in public is on par with masturbating in an Apple Bees restaurant, but it was that idiotic statement made by the boob Bill Maher, that made me realize I may not be much of an activist, but I am a die-hard lactivist.

And I am proud.

*Did anyone notice the five rings in the first picture? I had to point that out to Charlie. Get it?? It's a breastfeeding OLYMPIAD.*


  1. Well said! I loved breastfeeding my boys. He really has sucked off that baby weight, you look great!

  2. Breastfeeding triplets in coach, that wins the award in my book!

    I'm so impressed with your nursing wardrobe. I have been wondering how I'm going to pull it off again. I had my first son in the summer so it was comfortable to just lift my shirt up as high as I needed to, but now with this winter baby I've been wondering if I need to invest in some nursing tops, but it doesn't look like I need to. I'm definitely going to do your camisole idea.

    Do you wear a nursing bra too or do you just keep your breast pads in the shelf of your camisole? I never got to find some reusable breast pads that I liked. Which ones have you found to work?

    How's that for 20 questions?!

  3. I loved breast feeding. I tried to breast feed my twins but was not very successful and wound up formula feeding and supplementing with breast milk. My proudest moment was when I got them both latched on by myself- I woke my husband up at 3 am to take a picture!
    I breast fed my singleton until she discovered a bottle at about 7 months (right around the time I got pregnant again!) and found out that she could get a better view of her big sisters. Now that I am pregnant again I can not wait to nurse another baby. It is an amazing feeling of accomplishment and what a wonderful way to bond with your baby.

  4. Nursing is amazing and beautiful; scantly glad scanky people aren't. You Tube, etc. folks need to get a grip.

  5. I never breastfed but I can not believe that the simple act of nurishing your child would be seen as offensive. That is horrible.

    And look at your waist! My God woman, didnt you give birth to triplets?! AND a singleton?! Where the hell are your stretch marks? Muffin top? A hit of baby weight?!?! Come ON! OK, you look great and I am totally jealous. Good for you!

  6. O.M.G. ROFLMAO! Pee-Pee TeePee? Yarmulke? You're friggin' hilarious!

  7. I don't take offense to breastfeeding and not many people I know do either. I never breastfed but that was not because I didn't want to.

    However, the only reason I can think of for the reason they banned it from facebook and myspace is because a lot of young people (boys for that matter) are on there and you never know at their age what can turn them on! I know that's gross but even a little peek at a breast at their adolesent age... I know they should understand what the woman are doing, but you never just never know!

  8. good for you!

    and thanks for the attire tips, I'll try those with this baby.

  9. Karen in Buffalo12/1/07, 10:19 AM

    I'm with you! You have got to market your breast pad flags~ that would be hilarious and you'd make a bundle while creating awareness!


  10. I agree about your waist. Wow!
    I still haven't lost my baby weight either...13 years later. Perhaps I need to find a baby to nurse...

    Henry is a great model for your many uses of breast pads.

  11. You. Are. So. Awesome!

    Great post!

    Love the pictures, too!

  12. I bought breast pads with Cool Max at the hospital when our triplets were born and I love them. Here's a link to the type that I have:

    Things to point out (if this is TMI for some, please do pardon), I'm not a heavy leaker. I only needed breast pads in the beginning when my milk came in and they fit fine in the shelf of my camisole. I don't use them now. If you are a heavy leaker, this style of pad might not work well because it doesn't have a waterproof barrier. Just something to consider. In which case, you might want to use the disposable type.

    Although I have an assortment of nursing bras, I only wear one at night when I'm sleeping. This is the style I really like: . The camisole that I wear during the day has a built in bra that works just fine for me.

    Hope that helps!

  13. AWESOME!!!!!

    You go, Girl! Say it like it!

    Love, Aunt Susie

  14. I think this is my favorite of all your posts. Informative! Amusing! Brava!

  15. Great post! Your kids are so adorable. Thanks for sharing the photos of your 'uniform' !

  16. you so totally rock, girl. breastfeeding triplets in coach? awesome. your body after trips and a singleton? incredible.

  17. I think that the pictures are by far the funniest thing ever!

  18. Thanks so much for answering my questions. They really helped!

  19. holy hell, mama! you have an amazing figure. i cannot believe you have hosted triplets and a singleton.

    i was never able to bf my daughter and that's one of my biggest regrets in life (not that i had control over the situation, but still...).

    i appreciate and share your sentiment/attitude.

    i love the pics of little henry modeling the different uses for breast pads :-)

  20. Thank you! For your support of LMJ and our montage video, for your breast pad humor, and for the great hints regarding how to dress for breastfeeding. With upcoming baby #3, I'm determined not to be intimidated by nursing in public. If I'm going to talk the talk, I'd better be ready to walk the walk!

  21. Look here for a discussion of why this particular video may be banned:

    There have been other breastfeeding images and videos that have been removed/banned from various sites -- because they were deemed obscene.

    There is obviously nothing obscene about breastfeeding irregardless of how much skin a mother is showing. These sites (YourTube, etc.) just haven't been educated yet. They'll get there...

  22. I am always so impressed by how positive you are about breastfeeding with Henry. I had a similar experience with my son- big baby, fed often, initially painful, he grew really quickly, always hungry!! and I was chasing after another child (but only one of them). I actually view that time in a fairly negative light because it was so draining and difficult and HOT! I guess that I found breastfeeding my first so easy, that having a more demanding time with number two made it seem so much harder and never really enjoyable, more something to be endured that was good for my baby . A bit like vaccinations, but 6 times a day for several months.
    As your feeding of the Trips was so much more tricky, I guess that breastfeeding one is much better in comparison. But I still take my hat off to you for your positive happy attitude about it all. On some level I really envy people who LOVE breastfeeding.
    On another note, I saw a photo today of Suri Cruise and she looks very much like your girls.
    Rebecca D

  23. Those are some heavy duty breast pads. They look more like the pads that go on my husband's car waxing machine!!!

    Great post!

  24. You really should be paid for this. Great Job and to think I nursed you but not for one year. Holy cow! Pardon the pun.