When you and your baby have settled into a comfortable routine, you may feel the urge to rejoin the outside world—to introduce your baby to those you love and to interact with other adults yourself. This transition should not be difficult as long as you are getting the sleep and nutrition you need to sustain your milk production and keep your energy level up.
Breastfeeding a baby while resuming your pre-baby life should become routine relatively quickly once you are comfortable with several breastfeeding positions and different nursing clothes. You will discover some great advantages of breastfeeding—how easy it is to pick up and go when there are no bottles to prepare and no pacifiers to search for. And life is much less expensive when you don’t have to stock up on formula every week. Getting out and about with a breastfed baby is easier now that breastfeeding in public is becoming a common and accepted practice virtually everywhere across the country, thanks in part to a surge of state and federal legislation protecting mothers’ rights to breastfeed wherever they like.
Still, you may encounter the occasional challenge to your new lifestyle. Critics may admonish you for nursing in public, ask you when you plan to wean your baby (even when he’s just months old), or suggest you offer the baby a bottle of formula if your milk doesn’t let down readily when your baby wants to nurse. (Even after several months, glitches occur occasionally in your supply-and-demand relationship with your baby as he experiences a growth spurt, you go through a stressful period, or other life events occur.)
You may find situations where you just don’t feel at all comfortable breastfeeding while others are present, especially in the early weeks as you and your baby are learning your new breastfeeding skills. In these cases, simply excuse yourself and go to another area to nurse, or express your breast milk ahead of time and feed it to your baby in a bottle when you need to after the baby is three to four weeks old.
Around this time, you may wonder how you will adjust to working while continuing to breastfeed. You may be separated from your baby for longer periods, requiring you to provide one or more bottles of expressed breast milk to your infant’s caregiver in your absence. Planning ahead, along with the solid base of breastfeeding experience you’ve acquired, will help you adjust to whatever changes occur. Once you have committed yourself to nurturing your baby in the best way you can, little can stand in the way of a lasting and fulfilling breastfeeding relationship.