(For chestfeeding parents, too!)
Although Albuquerque has been having amazing mansoon weather this month, we still have our share of hot summer days. As the weather heats up, breastfeeding your little one can pose a new set of challenges. It can be uncomfortable, sweaty and sometimes even difficult. For some, it may even bring up feelings of giving up or supplementing with formula. Before you take this approach, remember all the reasons why you began your breastfeeding journey in the first place- how truly beneficial it is for both your baby and yourself. Try incorporating some of these tips to your summer breastfeeding routine.
To cover up or not?
Throwing a blanket over your baby as he or she is eating isn’t fun for either of you. You don’t have to cover up if you don’t want to. Here in New Mexico, the law is on your side when it comes to breastfeeding in public spaces. NMSA 1978, Section 28-20-1 (1999) states that a breastfeeding parent may “breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be present.” Many locations across the state, including public pools are starting to put up signs that say “Breastfeeding is Welcome Here” to show their support.
If you feel more comfortable covering up, that’s great too. You should do what makes you feel most comfortable. Instead of a blanket, switch to a lighter material. Pre-made nursing covers are made of a breathable fabric that will give you coverage and keep you both cool at the same time. There are several patterns on the web that show how to sew your own, including this one that is easy to understand and inexpensive to make.
Artist: Kate Hansen
Iced Sun Tea
While teas like Mother’s Milk tea and other nursing teas are a wonderful way to keep up your milk supply, the idea of hot tea is not very appealing in the summer months. Make a large pot of the tea in the morning either on the stove or out in the sun, then allow it to sit in a pitcher in the fridge over the course of the day. You can continue pouring yourself glasses of the chilled tea to cool you down and promote a healthy milk supply at the same time. The Herb Store in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill sells their own version of breastfeeding tea made with a variety of quality herbs, at a fraction of the price that you’d be paying for boxed tea.
You are much more likely to continue breastfeeding and enjoy doing so if you modify your routine to include changes to keep you cool. If you have a favorite place to nurse, clear some space to include a fan nearby that you can switch on as needed. Take a bath or shower with your baby, holding them close as you enjoy the water. Although you may feel stickier in the summer, be sure not to use soap on your breasts as this will remove natural oils from your skin and can leave a yucky taste for baby. Lastly, if you are pumping or storing on the go, it’s extra important to remember to prepare frozen ice packs before you leave in order to keep your expressed milk fresh while away from home.
What tips do you have in order to stay cool while breastfeeding during the summer?
[author] [author_info] Esperanza Dodge is Young Women United’s Mamas Justice Organizer and member of their Luna Sagrada collective. Stay tuned for more blogs about birth and parenting. Esperanza’s bio can be found here. [/author_info] [/author]