Lots of women are very versatile about their nursing. You see them nursing using front carriers at the grocery store or under receiving blankets on benches at the mall. That wasn't the case for me with Natalie. Before she was an expert at latching on by herself, I was very worried about needing to sit an exact way for everything to work out. And if she fell asleep, I let her sleep rather than wake her up trying to move her to the crib. As I said, this isn't how many women operate, and probably won't be how I do either with my second child, but when it was just me and newborn Natalie, we relied on well established nursing spots.
I had two places I nursed Natalie when at home. Because we slept in Natalie's room (versus her sleeping in our room), there was a double sized bed in her room. That is where I did the majority of our nursing. All night nursing was done there as well as "breakfast" and bedtime. As time went on, we did less day time nursing in her room, but as we approached weaning, we started to nurse only in that room again. Since I spent so much time in there, I made sure I had what I needed for up to hour long nursing sessions, and also letting her take naps in my lap.
Our second nursing spot was the living room couch. This spot was a day time nursing location so that I could get our of her bedroom for much of the day. This spot was really more tailored for my needs, but didn't prevent Natalie from taking three hour long naps in my lap once she finished nursing. For me to be able to stay there for that long, I needed to have everything I needed before we started nursing.
- Pillows. This included a pillow on my lap and the Boppy nursing pillow on top of that which Natalie laid on. Behind my back were two more pillows. When Natalie got bigger, I wedged two stuffed animals (though throw pillows would have also worked) under the sides of the Boppy pillow because her weight started to drag the pillow down. After her "breakfast," I would bring the pillows for my lap our to the living room for the rest of the day, then move them back at bedtime.
- Tissues. It is so annoying to be stuck somewhere and have no tissues when you need one. The tissue box was always close for my use, but also to clean up Natalie's frequent spit up.
- Burp cloth. I had one, though I often didn't use it because Natalie would always manage to spit up somewhere other than the cloth.
- Reading material. While you might have daydreams of staring into your child's eyes as you nurse, when you are nursing 8-10 times a day for up to an hour or more each time, you start to need something more. For me, that was books. A lot of the time, I read aloud to Natalie children's classics, but just as often I read books for myself. I never sat down to nurse without a book on hand. Often, I had a book for the bedroom and one for the living room so that I wouldn't have to worry about going to find one.
- Glass of water. For a long time, I kept a glass of water next to the bed. I did this because I'd been told to drink plenty of water to keep up your milk supply. I found that the amount of water I drank really didn't affect things, so eventually I gave it up.
- Snacks. Whenever I sat down for one of Natalie's nurse and nap sessions in the afternoon, I always made sure I had a snack. In hindsight, I wish I had just stocked both locations with non-perishable snacks such as dried fruit, almonds, rice cakes, and applesauce cups.
- Blankets. Since Natalie was a fall baby, our times of the most and longest nursing sessions fell during cold weather. I made sure to have blankets near by to put over my shoulders or legs if I got cold. Tucked in close to me, Natalie was a little furnace and almost never needed to be covered.
- Cell phone. If you are someone who gets lots of calls and texts, I wouldn't recommend keeping your phone with you for the first month or so. It will be distracting. But, most days, I don't even get one call or text. When I do, usually its something that can wait. But, when you don't get many phone calls, it is annoying to have the phone ring from the other room five minutes after you've settled down to nurse. If Natalie was going to be napping in my lap (which she did every day for several months), I would turn the ring way down and not answer the phone. It was nice to at least see who was calling. But if she wasn't napping, I often made calls while nursing.
- TV remote control. When Natalie was an infant, I often had the TV on all day because otherwise the house was just too quite on cold winter days. I tried to have children's shows on most of the day, but when nursing, I got to pick the shows since there was no chance Natalie was watching. I got to see a lot of America's Next Top Model reruns, Wipe Swap, and Doctor Phil this way.
- Lap top. I used my lap top mostly when Natalie would nap in my lap after she was done nursing, but sometimes I'd go on line quickly while she was nursing. I mostly played around on FB and YahooAnswers, but I sometimes watched Netflix on demand movies. I only used the lap top in the living room during the day; I never bothered to bring it into the bedroom with me.
If you are nursing away from home:
When you are ready to give nursing away from home a try, you can make a mini nursing spot away from home.
- Support. In the beginning, if we were visiting somewhere for a few hours, we'd bring the nursing pillow. But as time went on, I would just ask to borrow a pillow, or roll something we had up, like a towel at the beach or my sweatshirt. Eventually, I learned about the saddle hold, where a baby who can sit unsupported straddles your waist and latches on from the front, and that negated any need for arm support when away from home.
- Entertainment. If you are in for a long session, bring something to entertain you. Its a little sad when on Thanksgiving you are nursing separate from the rest of the family in another room with nothing to occupy your mind. I always had a book, but you could have you phone, a crossword puzzel, TV remote, etc.
- Cover. I nursed out in the open in public only a couple times. I preferred to find a secluded location instead. But, I still brought cover with me in case someone unexpected popped up. A receiving blanket is really all you need. If you use one to nurse in public from the beginning, your child will be used to it. Natalie wasn't and often pulled it off herself, which was a large contributing factor to why we would slip away to nurse.
- Clean up. Something to clean up spit up should be close at hand, be it tissues, baby wipes, or a burp cloth.
If you have more than one child (one nursing, and one older child):
Coming somewhat soon ...