My name is Renai and I’m a born and raised Toronto gal navigating through this beautiful city with the new lens of motherhood! I recently started a blog documenting my journey of motherhood and it’s been amazing to connect with women in a way I have never connected before! On my blog I have a section called #WrightTribe where I showcase different mamas. We all have different ways in which we came to motherhood and different paths as we explore all it has to offer!
In honour of Black Breastfeeding Week I have shared some tips for feeding in Toronto as well as my nursing story. Hope you’re encouraged and gain a new perspective on how breastfeeding can look different from one person to the next!
When I first got pregnant I would be asked by friends, family and co-workers, “do you plan on breastfeeding?”
Looking back I can see why this was such a hot topic, but in the moment I wondered why all the concern; did it matter? Well in short – yes, it does matter. However, I understand that the production of milk and the lifestyle choices one may make doesn’t always best suit breastfeeding. It’s time consuming, it can be draining (in more ways than one), and although there is science to support that “breastfeeding is for everyone”, the reality is, for many people, it may not be.
For me, breastfeeding was a choice that I made as I got further along in my pregnancy, that if I could produce enough to exclusively breastfeed then I would. I would express milk as well, but my main goal was to breastfeed until my son was either no longer interested, or had teeth (or so I thought); the teeth came and we are still at it.
When my milk came in around three days after giving birth to my son I got huge – like, HUGE. My breasts were easily the size of large cantaloupes. My bra was beginning to look like misplaced accessories. The moment of feeding my son while harps played and butterflies filled the room became a match between a chihuahua and some balloons. He was eager to eat and I was more than willing to have some relief but his latch was more of a bite and though he managed to nurse, it was painful and he would fall asleep long before I was even close to empty.
I spent the first week post delivery at my mom’s house so I didn’t have my pump with me. Obviously, as a first time mom, I didn’t even consider needing it, thank you very much. I would stay up at night and cry, watching my son peacefully sleep, my husband snoring away and as for me, well I was in agonizing pain wondering why I had so much milk if my son wasn’t going to drink it all. Frustrated, my midwife’s house visit couldn’t come at a better time because she was able to show me how to ensure my son was latching properly, as well as explaining that even when he is sleeping I can offer him milk if I feel a let down (milk on its way). Within a few weeks I was a pro! He was nursing well, and I was getting the hang of things! I ruined a few bras along the way but it’s all part of the learning experience right?
I am so blessed to live in Toronto where we have access to so many great sites, as well as it being a nursing friendly city.
Here are 5 quick tips for Breastfeeding in the 6!
1. Get a nursing bra!
I have yet to have a negative experience publicly breastfeeding in Toronto, but to avoid it being harder for you, get a bra that is easily equipped for quick feeds on the go! I love the selection at Evymama, located at 1345 St. Clair Ave W.
2. Nursing cover!
For some of you that may prefer a little privacy without having to leave the room, this is a perfect option! Dear Born Baby has a variety of fantastic options, including my personal favourite Milk Snob. They are located at 72 Doncaster Ave in Thornhill.
3. Sit on the ends when riding the TTC (subway, bus or train)
Rather than being in an awkward position trying to nurse your baby, take a seat that is on the end so you aren’t elbowing your neighbour, they will appreciate it and it gives your babe some room to wiggle their feet as they are being fed.
4. Toronto Parks
Toronto has so many beautiful city parks. One of my favourites to nurse the day away in is High Park. There are great attractions for children and many areas where you can easily nurse your child!
5. Change rooms & Bathroom stalls!
One time when my husband was taking a year and a half to find the perfect boxers in a department store, my son had woken up and was not willing to wait to eat. I grabbed a pair of men’s pjs and walked into the change room – no I didn’t try them on but I sure did feed my son, comfortably and interruption free. If you have to feed your babe in a stall, sit on the seat with a seat cover, saves a splash from automatic toilet flushers too!
The City of Toronto is a WHO recognized Baby Friendly city. Since 2013,Toronto has been actively striving to “provide families with information about feeding their babies in a safe and nurturing way”. Read more about the City of Toronto’s Baby Friendly Promise, and find information about your right to nurse in public, as well as a map of Baby Friendly Businesses here.
Renai Wright lives in Toronto with her husband and her son, Landon, and is the writer behind Raising Em Wright.
The purpose of her blog is to encourage, inspire, build community and learn through the journey of motherhood.
Black Breastfeeding Week is in its 6th annual year. Nourishing our families, communities and futures, and with the theme of #LoveOnTop, “Black Breastfeeding Week was created because for over 40 years there has been a gaping racial disparity in breastfeeding rates. The most recent CDC data show that 75% of white women have ever breastfed versus 58.9% of black women.” Read why we need a Black Breastfeeding Week here.
Want to help educate people prenatally and during postpartum about breastfeeding? Check out bebo mia’s Breastfeeding Educator Certification. Feel confident answering all your client’s breastfeeding questions!
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