Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bipolar Post about Nursing Shirts and Malls Too

I went to the mall yesterday, which I should stop doing. It always makes me feel bad. Perhaps because it ignites that fire in me...that want want want. I rarely feel 'In Lack' except when I walk her halls. I need to find resale stores. Or boutiques perhaps? I need to find some place where I don't feel like consumerism is shoveling its big wide mouth into my big wide mouth into our big wide mouth. It's an Escher painting. I'm lost there. Mind bending, circling back.

I got this Christmas money to go shopping because I am all sorts of messed up postpartum. Nothing fits just so yet. But I have NEEDS. And my biggest are for nursing attire. This NEED throws any WANTS out the window. When I was pregnant I did not think I needed any of this 'nursing' clothing. I figured, 'I'll just unhook my bra, lift my shirt up, what's the big deal?' I thought nursing clothes were a gimmick. I was wrong.

Dax hasn't been served a lick of liquid that wasn't from my body since birth. That adds up to a huge commitment on my part. Which I love because I'm his mom and by golly, that's what I do to sustain him. BUT it leaves me looking a little schleppy. Like I don't have bras that work right, so I just kind of hike them up and scrunch my tank top to my neck. So there I am about 10 times a day looking like a complete mess because everything is up and awkward and bleh.

Have you seen this nursing attire? They have like shirts with secret openings and you can look normal and maybe even semi-cute. You can nurse and not hike anything up to your neck! I am in dire need of all this because lately I'm feeling like a Mom with a capital M as in Messy. So I decide to go to a high-end maternity store, because I figure if you're going to get weird clothing with secret escape hatches, then you might as well get the best.

However, things have changed since last time I was here. Last time, I was pregnant and the store was my oyster, with wall to wall designer maternity digs of cuteness. This time, I ask, 'where's the nursing clothing?' And I'm shown to this little square space in the back, where I see only nude-colored bras and ill-formed pajamas. A couple of mismatched shirts hang lopsided on the racks. 'That's it?' I ask, hoping this was the clearance section. She answers annoyingly bubbly, "That's it." I size her up. She definitely doesn't have children. Ugh. I drag my feet past her to the back.

And right there, my fears are confirmed. Standing in front of the over-sized basic tee selection, I realize it's true: No one leaves their house after babies. No one. Malls are for the young and childless. Maternity stores are for the romance of pregnancy; the sweet anticipation of future dreams. But for us--the mothers--the makers of the universe--we come here to spend our Christmas money on flannel pjs because we need them. Because when we rise to meet our babies' cries in the middle of the night, we want to be comfortable. The obvious truth is--there simply isn't a market for hot nursing moms. Double ugh.

I buy what I need--a couple of convertible hook-down bras and one basic black nursing shirt--and I leave. I then aimlessly walk the aisles of Macy's imagining myself in this cocktail dress or the other, these stitched jeans might fit, and this sweater would be adorbs. I just walk, and my head starts to hurt because none of this matters, and I don't have the money anyway cause I just spent it, and where would I wear any of it anyway? Let's face facts: I'm not leaving the house anytime soon for elaborate parties.

I'm a new person, I think as I meander back to my car. I see a woman with a young infant, soothing her and I kind of half-smile knowingly at her. Then I realize I'm part of that new secret club: the 'we got kids' club. And I got a gorgeous son at home that I can't wait to get back to, and I'm the luckiest girl in the world. Although i did wince a bit at the next passerby with her weather-perfect boots over skinny jeans and her perfectly coifed hair.

Anyway, my new self needs to grow a wee bit into this new life I admit.  The new mission includes using this new nursing shirt (paid for with Christmas $$ did I mention that?)  and finally heading out into the world with my babe. I need to challenge myself to overcome some of my breastfeeding in public paranoia and hang-ups. He's three months old and goshdarnit I want to live (by live I mean leave the house)! I'll let you know how that all turns out...


allie said...

i totally remember going through this too! henry never even touched a bottle until he was eight months old. luckily, i was at the prime of my nursing experience during the summer so i wore a TON of tank tops, i'd just pull the straps down around my shoulders and then up when he was done. maybe you could get some cheap spaghetti strap tops and a few nice button up sweaters and do the same?

sometimes though, i'd get lazy and pull the arms of my t-shirts down and now they're all stretched out and that does suck. just wait until you're done with nursing...it's a whole different feeling! i used to have a hard time finding shirts that didn't make my boobs/belly look weird and now that they aren't big anymore (BOO!) shirts just feel awkward.

oh, and henry and i practically lived at the mall during the first few months of his life. i usually hate being there but found it to be a nice way to get some exercise and a break from the house.

being a mom changes so much, doesn't it?!

anne said...

Get faux-wrap shirts. I have tons of them. They're perfect nursing tops, just pull one side or the other down. Also the Bravado nursing bras are fantastic.

the grumbles said...

allie hit the nail on the head (also, HI ALLIE!). i still to this day just wear a spaghetti strap tanktop underneath all my clothes, that way if i need to nurse i can pull the shirt i'm wearing UP and still be covered. you only end up exposing a tiny sliver of skin. it's super modest and handy. don't be afraid to go out!

Mwa said...

Oh you are so right about all this! I did find a couple of cute nursing things but they are SO rare.

However - have you tried the tried and tested trick of subtle breastfeeders everywhere??? What you do is you wear a vest top with spaghetti straps, only you don't put the straps over your shoulders. You kind of tuck them into the vest. (The vest needs to be tight enough to do that, but not so tight it cuts off your milk supply.) Then you take another top of the same colour and put it on top, so the two make one large block of colour when you pull the vest down and the other top up, revealing only your nipple. It's perfect, pretty, and not stressful at all.

Ah bummer - all of a sudden I thought others must have said this already, and I read the comments and of course they have. Nevermind. I think I explain it better. :-) Good luck!

Meghan said...

I had no idea that there was such a thing as nursing clothing! Thank you for the education:)

Mandee said...

What a great post! You know, I nursed all 5 of my babies, most until 18 months, never gave a bottle, and yet I never had nursing clothing until the 5th came along. I don't know why I never had it, but now that I do, I love it and want more! I am getting a nursing tank soon, and I believe there will be a giveaway for it on my blog, so be on the lookout. :)

Holli said...

Fantastic post! i don't have children but my god what a well written piece on nursing attire. I read the whole thing and I don't even have a need for it!

Adorable picture too.....

Maggie May said...

i'm right there with ya, girlie.

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