As it’s only a year since I was wearing them, it’s odd that I forgot. All those dresses I’ve unearthed to cover the bump? They just won’t work for feeding. In fact, it’ll be so long since I’ll be wearing them again, and I have so little idea of where we’ll be, that I'd better just give them away now.
What I need are skirts, trousers and tops with easy access to the milk. As my weight will also be rapidly changing, elasticised waists will remain the name of the game. I’m still wearing nursing bras from my first two babies so I don’t need to worry too much about more – although the hooks have bent and they’re not exactly the same colour they were.
But nursing clothes. Hm. This will be the first time I have a small baby, constantly needing feeding, in winter. My Poppet was a winter baby – but a Queensland winter baby, so an entirely different kettle of fish. We were in the Victorian winter for her second year – but I have no recollection of what I wore to feed her. My Sprocket was a tropical baby – and to be honest I was so caught up in baby that thoughts of discretion didn’t enter my mind. Baby wants milk? Baby gets milk.
Cafés, restaurants, small planes, big planes, London or Torres Islands I’ve fed in them all. It never occurred to me that the sight of a nursing babe could upset anyone – any more than the sight of a bottle could. I grew up used to the sight of mothers nursing, and in the Pacific, where we were living, it was just normal.
The Internet has taught me that some people are deeply uncomfortable with breastfeeding, and while this strikes me as odd, it’s not too hard to keep relatively covered up – although this becomes harder with a toddler who wants to do summersaults and stops and starts to look around. I’m not covering my little one up under nursing shawls or removing myself from a room and the idea of feeding in a toilet, which I’ve heard some people do? Um, no.
However, it looks like a complete re-haul is in order. Can this be yanked down? Can this be yanked up? If this layer goes up and that layer goes down, how discreet can I be in this? I don’t want to make other people uncomfortable, but nor am I going to hide away.
Cheap chain stores have cheap and handy nursing singlets… but they’re so cheap that you know they’ve been made in sweatshop conditions. Which isn’t the welcome to the world I want for my small one.
Vanity means that while I don’t mind my breasts a little exposed while feeding I truly don’t want my stomach on display.
Those first months after the baby comes out when there’s a pouch of wobbly, stretch-marked, skin? Nobody needs to see that. I suspect as this is my third, there’ll be even more flab than before. The drum-tight roundness of now, which I am happily taking compliments for (it is lovely how many women tell me how beautiful my bump is, delighting in the coming of new life) will soon be a flaccid, miscoloured sack. I’m okay with that – I just don’t want anyone else to see it.
Then again, as my main outings are playgroup, family and friends, I’m not really putting that much thought into discretion. As we begin to start the mornings wreathed in fog and we can see our own breath in the house, I suspect keeping warm will be more of a priority.
Layers it is. Long sleeved tops and woollens are quickly being gathered up, Littlest and I are looking forward to a cosy autumn and winter.
*And can you believe I'd completely forgotten that all my night-wear needs to be capable of containing breast-pads, if I don't want to wake up in pools of milk? True. Hmm.
Let me try to think this through.