Nursing at the Pool

Nursing at the PoolIn the summer of 2011, I had my second daughter, Alice, on July 30, eight days late. That’s beside the point for this blog, but I can’t help but say it every time I mention her birthday.

My oldest daughter was 2 years old, and she was used to going to the pool every day, because that is where I sought relief from the Texas heat when I was pregnant and eight days overdue. In the summer. In Texas.

OK, now we can move on.

So once paternity leave was over, staying home all day wasn’t an option. Not because she threw a fit over not going to the pool, but because the water wore her out so well, she took an amazing nap afterward. So, I was stuck taking a toddler and newborn to the pool in Texas. I was addicted to that post-pool nap.

Fortunately, the pool was very kid-friendly and my daughter was a great swimmer, so it was easy to manage them both. But the first time the baby began crying when there were a bunch of other people at the pool, I had a dilemma as an NIP newbie: bust out the cover, or just slip my strap down and nurse?

Nursing in a swimsuit meant that my entire boob was out. But at a place where one is surrounded by breasts, why did I feel weird? I had always used a cover with my first baby. But in the Texas heat, and at the pool under the shade, I decided to just go with it.

Part of my Southern upbringing means I’m a people pleaser. Even if no one says anything to me, even if no one complains, I’m hyperaware of how people are acting and if someone is uncomfortable. So as an attachment-parenting mom, part of what I have had to do is turn that people-pleaser voice off. My other daughter is happy, safe, and entertained, and I have a rare moment to nurse in peace—I’m taking it!

Nursing at the Pool

Sometimes we also nursed on the way there!

We did nurse at the pool all summer long that summer, and no one batted an eye. Several times, small children came up to me to ask about the baby and sometimes what we were doing, and I just told them I was feeding my baby milk. I love that kids have no shame associated with nursing and I feel like in that moment I am helping to make it nursing more normal for the next generation in a tiny way.

If taking your kids to the pool or the beach is something you can enjoy safely with your baby in tow, don’t feel weird nursing there, covered or uncovered. If your baby likes to hang out at the boob for a long time, you may want to bring a cover since the best form of sun protection for babies under 6 months is physically blocking sunlight with UV clothing, hats, or keeping them in the shade. Covers can be great for that! But if your baby won’t tolerate it, just find a shady spot and relax. The pool is the one place where you are not the only one letting it all hang out.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mom of three. She lives and writes in (much cooler) Queensbury, New York.



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