The first few months of breastfeeding was one of the most challenging and isolating periods of time in my life. I remember sometimes feeling as though I couldn’t leave my house for more than 20 minutes at a time in case I had to feed my baby. There were many times when I felt as though I had to miss out on social gatherings. The phrase “I can’t, he has to nurse” was something my partner heard all too often. It wasn’t that I couldn’t physically nurse elsewhere, it’s that I wasn’t comfortable. I would nurse in front of my partner and my mom, and that was it.
It wasn’t until 8 weeks postpartum that I stumbled across my first “Mommy & Me yoga class”. I watched how each Mom used their preferred method of feeding (ie: the two-shirt method, with a nursing cover, out in the open, mixing together a bottle of formula, or feeding their child pumped milk) and it was then that I realized they all had 1 major thing in common: meeting their child’s needs was #1 priority. It didn’t matter who was watching or where they were, if their baby was fussing, they were going to fix it. That’s when I realized I had found a “comfort zone”; finally somewhere I could comfortably feed without feeling the need to rush home. The funny thing being that this yoga class took place in the middle of Bayshore mall! There was absolutely zero chance of me nursing in front of older family members, but somehow I was able to nurse carefree in the middle of a shopping centre. I think this is because I knew I was in a supportive environment where meeting your child’s needs was top priority.
Of course we live in a much more open society nowadays, and some may say it’s silly to worry about what others think. I strongly believe that mothers should be supported in nursing anywhere, but where you nurse is still a preference, and I happened to be more reserved about it. Having found a community where I felt comfortable meant a lot to me. So much so, that I began thinking of ways I could integrate my prior career (a French teacher) with my new found passion: motherhood.
Fast-forward to today where I now lead my own “Mommy/Daddy & Me activity”: 123 Petits Pas Beginner French classes. I make it one of my major goals to ensure all participants know that meeting their child’s needs is the #1 priority. Learning happens best in a comfortable, positive environment and so I encourage participants to feed or change their little one anywhere they like. Whether that be right in the middle of class, off to the side, or in a quiet room- they have the support they need from me, as the class leader, to care for their child as they see fit. I hope that all past, present, and future participants of 123 Petits Pas find our classes to be their “comfort zone”.
It’s for this reason that I am so happy to have 123 Petits Pas as a Gold Sponsor of “Ottawa Latches On 2018”. Being a new mom, I know how integral a supportive community is and so I love that I now have the opportunity to contribute to this support. I look forward to meeting and supporting many new families at the Ottawa Latches On event on August 4th and I encourage everyone to come by our 123 Petits Pas table and say “Bonjour”…even if that’s the only French word you know ;) !