I have heard it all from a variety of people in my life how formula feeding is easier than breastfeeding – especially if you want to have fun. Want to drink a beer? Can’t do it because you are breastfeeding. You want a night out? Sorry, the babe needs to eat and only you can feed her. You need a break? Sorry…….you can’t, you breastfeed.
This just isn’t true. When breastfeeding your child, it is just as easy to have fun. A few weekends ago, I put this idea to the test. I was Matron of Honor in my friend’s wedding. Admittedly, I was stressed about how the whole day was going to work. How would I feed her in this extremely tight bridesmaid’s dress? What about all of the days’ activities? She isn’t going to be able to go into the limo (although, my bride friend had no problems with this – I just didn’t see logistically how it would work). How is she going to be during the ceremony and then the reception? However, after some careful planning and help from my husband, we made the day work AND we had fun. I brought my baby with me in the morning. She hung out with the girls while we got our hair and makeup done. My husband then tagged along with us in our car and followed the limo to the church, then to pictures, and then to the reception. When I had to nurse, I employed the other bridesmaids to help unfasten and then refasten my dress.
For the reception, the manager at Rock Bottom let us use his office so I could feed her in private and give her a break from all the noise of the rocking party. After all the speeches, cake cutting, and dances were done, it was time for the real fun. I threw on my Baby K’Tan carrier, put the baby in, and partied on. Beer in hand, my friends and I danced the night away to “Call Me Maybe” and “Everybody Dance Now” (nothing like a little C&C Music Factory!). Was I going to stay up and party until dawn like I used to? No. But, that isn’t because I was breastfeeding, it was because I was a mom. And, am now 35. 36.
Yes, this particular day may not have seemed easy – it did involve planning and a lot of help. For me though, it was easier to bring the baby with me than to worry about how she was doing at home – did I pump enough? Was she taking the bottle? Was she napping without me? And, remember this is an extreme case. Unless you are a wedding planner you are not going to weddings every day. If you need a break and want to get a mani/pedi, a cup of coffee with friends, see a movie, or have an occasional night out with the girls, it takes just as much planning whether you formula-feed or breastfeed.
Here are some helpful tips for having fun:
- Nurse baby right before you leave. If you pump, pump enough for the time you are going to be out. Make sure your caregiver knows how to bottlefeed a breastfed baby. http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/feeding-tools/bottle-feeding/
- You can bring the baby with and still have fun!! For me, the key to this is babywearing. There are a lot of different options out there to babywear – a lot of the carriers can be pretty stylish. http://www.thebabywearer.com/ I have brought my babies with me while getting manis/pedis. I either babywear or time the appointment around my little one’s naptimes, so she is napping in her stroller while I am getting glam.
- If you want to go to the movies, there are options in the Chicagoland area where there are special screenings for moms and babies. http://www.amctheatres.com/programs/bring-your-baby Or, you just go to the regular showing and bring your baby with you. If you are worried about being discreet, there is nothing more discreet than hanging out in a dark movie theater.
- As far as a beer or a glass or wine? Yes, breastfeeding moms can enjoy some libations!! http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/lifestyle/alcohol/
Having fun while breastfeeding is not only doable, it’s important!! Remember as a mom, it’s important to take some time for yourself. Taking time for yourself helps you refresh and regroup, ultimately helping you stay healthy and happy.
Jennifer Adams is a mom of 3 who regularly finds time to have fun – with or without kids! She is a CAPPA Certified Postpartum Doula, Certified Lactation Specialist, and serves on the Board of Breastfeed, Chicago!