This is what it’s like for me to go out as a Breastfeeding Mom

This is what it’s like for me to go out as a Breastfeeding MomWhen you’re a breastfeeding mom, almost everything revolves around breastfeeding. As the only food source for another precious human being, your job as a breastfeeder is a big responsibility and one that is demanding and time-consuming. Of course your other duties don’t all-of-the-sudden disappear just because you’re breastfeeding. Nope, not the way it works. You’re now juggling all of life’s responsibilities through a new lens. That’s what makes breastfeeding one of the many aspects of motherhood that is simultaneously the best and hardest job in the world.

But wait, here’s another curveball: what if you want to go somewhere without your baby? When you’re a breastfeeding mom getting out without your baby is hard and I’m not just talking about finding a trustworthy babysitter.

I’m very “Type A” so schedules are important to me. I so admire moms with a more carefree spirit that appear to have an easier time “going with the flow” when it comes to breastfeeding, sleep and all aspects of motherhood. My personality made feeding on demand particularly difficult and my now 9-month-old son’s resistance to adhere to my desired sleep schedule was incredibly frustrating. Yes, I realize babies are tiny humans with their own agendas and opinions. But he came from my womb so doesn’t he appreciate schedules too? It took awhile but now we’re seeing more eye-to-eye on this issue.

Finally my baby is on a pretty good schedule of eating and sleeping although sometimes we adjust it as necessary if we’re having an outside the routine kind of day. Even with a schedule that I initiated, my life as a breastfeeding mom is broken down into 2½ hour chunks of time between feedings. Meaning if my baby is going to have something to eat, I have to be physically with him every 2½ hours or I have to pump.  Gone are my “me days” of wandering joyously and aimlessly around 100+ stores at an outlet mall or going on day trips to the mountains to hike to beautiful waterfalls…at least for awhile. It’s all part of the sacrifices of motherhood. I certainly miss my freedom, but I’m not complaining because I get so many rewards in exchange.

It’s a good thing I’m a planner because planning is such a part of my experience as a breastfeeding mom. I work part-time, I have a 5-year-old son, and my husband likes spending adult time with me (occasionally at least). So when I’m working, hanging out with my older son without the baby, and going on a date with my husband, I’m constantly planning around breastfeeding and pumping. It is often a big puzzle I’m working out in my mind and it can be exhausting, especially when I’m the only one focused on the details and the rest of motherhood must go on too.

When I’m away from my baby during the day I try to pump before I leave the house, however that’s not always possible. Sometimes the pump comes along for the ride and I find myself pumping in carpool line or at karate practice. It’s caused me to spill milk more times than I care to admit and it’s rather stressful and awkward, but it’s what needs to be done.

When I’m going on a date with my husband, I plan my entire day around it because I not only have to plan for breastfeeding, I also want to look halfway decent. I am a stickler for the schedule those days to ensure we leave on time. I chip away at getting myself ready throughout the day. Between one set of feedings I may take a shower, the next I’ll do my makeup, then later I’ll make dinner for my older son and puree for the baby.

As soon as the baby finishes his evening feeding and I put him down for the night, I’m rushing off to pump before heading out. I try to pump before leaving because I know I’ll be tired and ready for bed when we return. (As all parents understand, another freedom lost in parenthood is sleeping in on weekends, or ever!  My baby is the most adorable alarm clock I’ve ever met and incredibly reliable for my 6 a.m. daily wakeup call.)

Sometimes I choose not to go out because it’s just too much work and the thought of preparing for a night out is exhausting. As much as I like a nice meal that I don’t have to cook or seeing a movie in a theater, some days I simply cannot handle the details that it would require for me to make that happen. I’m OK with that sacrifice because I truly believe in breastfeeding. In my world it’s an added challenge but one that I accept wholeheartedly. No one is twisting my arm, no one guilted me into it. It’s the choice I make because I believe breastfeeding is the best for my baby, for me and my family. Whether I choose to stay in or venture out without the baby and juggle everything that entails, I always feel great about my choice to breastfeed.

Written by Erin, Loving Moments Brand Ambassador