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Nursing at the Speed Limit

Maria V. H.
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 19 No. 9, July-August, p. 131

My daughter Marta's howls filled our small car. Sitting in the back seat next to her, I nudged a pacifier into her mouth. She promptly spit it out. Next I offered her my finger. She sucked on it once, so hard I thought she would pull off my fingernail. Then she pushed my hand away. I knew that determined look on her face. She wanted Mommy's milk and only Mommy's milk. But we were zooming down the freeway, half-an-hour from home, with nowhere to stop and nurse.

Frantically I tried to remember what I had read about breastfeeding safely in the car. My book even included a drawing, showing a mother bending herself into all sorts of interesting contortions to make her breast reach the baby's car seat. I laughed at the picture when I first saw it. I never thought I'd actually try anything so crazy.

Over my baby's screams, I shouted to my husband in the driver's seat, "Are there any pillows in the car?" The book had said something about supporting myself with a pillow.

"What about your sling?" he shouted back. "Couldn't you bunch that up under you?" The sling worked even better than a pillow, being more flexible. I had discovered still another use for my most essential piece of baby equipment. Someday I'll write a book, "101 Uses for a Sling." With a little experimenting, I found I could reach our baby easily.

Marta looked baffled when she saw my breast coming toward her from such a strange angle. But being very smart, and very hungry, she figured out what to do. Soon the only sounds in the car were her contented sighs as she nursed. When we got home I offered her the second side, and we settled in for a much-needed nap.

Marta and I had battled our way through plenty of other breastfeeding challenges, including a difficult cesarean birth, thrush, plugged ducts, and food sensitivities. Through it all, I kept the free samples of formula stashed in the back of the closet just in case. Now I finally knew I could throw them away. If I could breastfeed at 65 miles per hour, I could do anything!

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