18 Mar 2012

Time to Breastfeed Outdoors Again

I shoveled snow while wearing Jacob in a carrier under my coat
Baby's first winter presented special challenges..
All winter long in our frigid city I've been timing my walks with Jacob and my dog ever so carefully. I make sure the baby is well fed just before I start out, and I never walk for more than an hour. Usually Jacob falls asleep, snuggled comfortably against my chest in a cloth carrier and wrapped in a massive winter coat that fits around both of us. Bringing along donated breast milk and feeding using the supplemental nursing system just isn't practical in minus twenty. Thankfully I've only rarely misjudged our outings and had to rush home with a hungry, crying baby a very few times.

These last few days it's been warm enough to sit down and nurse leisurely outside again. Yesterday Jacob and I spent the afternoon in our yard looking at butterflies, cuddling, and breastfeeding as desired. We live in the middle of the city, in between one neighbour who refuses to speak to us, and a family on our other side who is just thrilled with Jacob. At first I was a little self-conscious to open my shirt outside once again after a whole winter spent bundled up, but then I felt the warm sun on my back and smelled the grass beginning to dry out, and knew that my son, too, should enjoy all this - and why not while he ate?

Of course there are reasonable limits to where I'll nurse this summer, the same as last. I won't breastfeed Jacob on an isolated park bench with, say, just a few strangers nearby. I won't nurse him down by the river where the drunks reside. But I will breastfeed my baby anywhere that I think it is physically safe to do so - at the beach with other families around, at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, in my own back yard, at the playground... If others don't like it, they can shut their eyes and listen to the birds, smell the leaves in the trees, and feel the wind in their hair. That ought to be enough for anyone.

I'm nursing in the audience at a horse show
Last September I nursed Jacob at Calgary's Spruce Meadows while watching Team Canada take its victory lap. The crowd was far too busy enjoying the horses to care that we might have been doing anything out of the ordinary.


  1. :) thank you for sharing your story!

  2. I'm sorry we live in a world where you might not feel as safe as I do nursing your son in public. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks for your support! People like you will make the world a better place for my family, bit by bit. I appreciate your encouragement so much :)

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