I had wonderful nurses at the hospital, but there was one nurse who insisted that I give up nursing and use formula because Elijah wasn’t “getting any milk”. Looking back, I should have questioned her because he was pee/pooing just fine and there was no sign of jaundice. When I pumped, I got colostrum. She kept insisting that wasn’t enough. Eventually I gave in – I refused to use a bottle and used a syringe to give him the formula. She kept telling me I should just use the bottle.

The lactation consultant came on my last day in the hospital and she was so reassuring – the total opposite of the nurse. She hooked me up with a good pump and a breast shield (because I was inverted) and said I’d be fine without the formula. She recommended I pumped for a minute or two to pull the nipples out, put on the shield to keep them out and then latch Eli. She gave me a shield that still allowed our skin to touch and recommended extra skin-t0-skin time to bond.

It worked – and by the time I got home, my milk production was in full-swing. I pumped like that for the first week or so, and then lost the pump. I used the shield for about a month to nurse and then I was in an “emergency” feeding situation and had left my shield in the car. Eli was hungry. Eli was crying. I was crying, and despite a crazy spraying, we latched without the shield. From that day, I only used the shield at night (so we could get back to sleep quickly) and then not at all. I was shield-free!

The next time I have a baby, I will know exactly what a good latch is “supposed” to feel like. Although, I wonder if not being a new mom will make the nurse leave me alone. I am keeping my shield just in case.

Despite that, I now have an abundance of milk (fyi: cloth diaper inserts make fabulous Bpads) and Eli nurses like a champ!

When I was using the shield it was a little harder to nurse in public, since I had to get out the shield make sure it was positioned correctly and exposing myself. Now it is like second nature. I don’t use a cover (that takes time and draws attention) but I also don’t whip it out. I’m good at being discrete. I’m pretty sure people have walked by without even noticing!  Here are some places…

– On a bench at the Bayshore Arena
– in the ring sling while pushing a cart in Target
– in the lobby of the Drury Hotel
– on a bench at the Birch Run outlet mall
Cafe 13 in Cambridge on Mother’s Day brunch
Norma Jeans in Owen Sound while eating chocolate cake.

(take that Bill Maher! grr.)

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