The original poster is returning to work and I assume will be pumping when that time comes. Therefore it is CRUCIAL to establish a good supply now, so that pumping is easier. It's hard enough to pump when everything is going well, a bad start to your supply will most definitely impact your pumping experience negatively.
As for nursing in public, I would suggest practice in front of a mirror. That way you get to see what others would see. A tank underneath a shirt is a great way to ensure that you don't expose too much skin (lift up the outside shirt and pull down the tank). And for now I would suggest not going for outings longer than 2 hours, that way you can nurse before you leave and again when you return. This time goes by SO fast. I know it's hard right now and you feel locked up, but in a year you will look back and say "wow, 6 weeks of my baby's life isn't really a long time to be stuck in the house." My oldest is now 12 years old - his first 6 weeks seem like they happened in a blink.
Good luck mama - I hope you have a great nursing relationship with your little one :gvibes
When I pump and bring a bottle of breastmilk for outings I always put it in a small mini cooler bag with an ice pack. And as long as you have access to a bathroom you can run it under warm water or bring a plastic cup along and fill it up with warm water and dunk the bottle inside for 5 min or less, depending on how warm the water is...
I didn't mean to start an uproar w/my post! I really do appreciate all the advice. We had Claire's 2 week check up yesterday and I had a few errands to run afterwards. She got hungry so I just BF her in the car. It wasn't even bad at all. I figure that's a good first step to nursing in public. Maybe I won't get comfortable enough to nurse everywhere, but I can handle being in the car, as long as the heat or A/C works!
The pediatrician said yesterday that I should try nursing her, then pumping afterwards to build up some bottles. I did that last night and was pretty happy with the rest of the night. When Claire got hungry during the night, she didn't cry after she nursed and I think it was cause my milk wasn't gushing out. We are slowly learning. ( :
Oh yes, she has gained another 13 oz and grew half and inch! The doctor was very pleased with her growth since our last visit. ( :
I started in the car too! It was harder/ uncomfortable in the beginning when he was so little but soon I expanded. I like using a blanket tucked under my shoulder bra strap as a cover instead of a hooter hider and just cover what I want covered. I am more self concious of belly instead of boob..... You can do it.
I started off nursing in public using a much-maligned nursing cover. I know a lot of activists have a problem with covers, but I would not have been comfortable nursing in public without it in the early days. DD needed a lot of help getting and keeping a good latch, and it took some effort and I had to watch to make sure her latch was correct. It often took several tries to get it right. I wasn't (and am not) comfortable exposing myself for long stretches of time in public - I'm not ashamed, I just don't like doing it.
I used a cover until she was about 6 weeks old and was able to latch quickly on her own. At that point I just planned to wear a nursing top or to layer a nursing tank under a normal shirt and feed her whenever and wherever she needs to eat - and at 5 months she's still nursing (or getting a bottle of EBM at daycare) every 2-3 hours during the day so I have to feed her in public with some frequency. I still sometimes use a blanket or burp cloth over my shoulder when getting her latched - again, for my own comfort and not for the benefit of anyone else! Our little one will take a bottle of EBM if I'm not around, but will refuse the bottle if she knows I'm available to nurse. Because of that I don't have much choice but to feed her. I also nursed at my breastfeeding support group and that helped me ease into nursing in front of others, and it reminded me that what I was doing was the best way to feed our baby.
If you aren't comfortable nursing in public yet, that's OK. :) Most moms become more comfortable with it as their babies grow bigger but some don't. Nursing in the car, going into the ladies' lounge at the mall, or whatever is all right if that's what you need to continue your nursing relationship right now. I would encourage you to start to practice but it has to be something you're comfortable with.
It's been said already but at 2 weeks, if you're skipping a nursing session by giving a bottle you need to be pumping around that time to help your supply continue to develop. Not doing so is going to cause your supply to drop. I cannot tell you how many friends of ours have pumped a bottle so that they could skip feedings and wound up weaning to formula within weeks!
I wanted to say that I agree with everyone that says to pump for missed feedings, but also to mention just to use a dressing room when you are out until you get the hang of nursing in public.
Most stores have them (Target, Walmart, the malls, etc) and I never had anyone give me a problem by requesting to use their dressing room.
Pumping after nursing is a good way to build a stash of milk, but if you are having issues with milk gushing out you might want to be careful. Pumping after nursing is also a way to increase your supply and you don't want to end up with oversupply. If you pump after feedings try to keep it down to once or twice a day. And if you notice excessive gassiness, consistently green or foamy poops, or discomfort in baby during your letdown (pulling off, gagging, etc) you might want to lay off on pumping for a bit to let it settle back down.