Re: Out and about with baby & BF rhythm
I also know how you feel, but for slightly different reasons: my LO has HATED his carseat, and we live in the mountains, about 30 minutes from town, so almost any trip has provoked screaming. But getting out on a semi-regular basis (like 3X a week) makes a world of difference for me emotionally, so we've struggled through it for the last few months. On some days I'm the one crying hardest by the time we get home, and I feel so selfish, but then we'll have five days at home without going out and I'll realize that the world seems to be getting darker and darker...
Anyhow, the good thing is that once we're out and out of the car, we do really well. But for that to be the case I've had to make a few key changes:
1. Change my expectations: I plan at least an hour for every stop, even stops that would have previously taken 15 minutes, because now I expect to nurse when we get out of the car and when we get back into the car, plus at least one diaper change. If you are in a city where you don't have to use a car (*sigh*) you might try to plan your trip around locations where you know you feel comfortable nursing, at least to start (more on that next).
2. Nurse everywhere and anywhere we go. That means we're ALWAYS using the Ergo out of the house, me in a nursing tank or similar easy-nursing top and my boob/his mouth covered with a light muslin blanket (AdenandAnais blankets make for easy nursing covers). I don't use the stroller right now because we still need to nurse so frequently. Sure it limits what I wear tremendously, but so does the curdled spit-up. The Ergo keeps me moving while we nurse (grocery store, crossing the road, etc), though I have to move slowly -- oh, and nursing in it did take some practice. The Ergo (we used to use the Moby, before he got so big) is great because it kind of works like blinders on the baby, and my LO is now terribly distracted nursing unless we're in that or lying down in bed. I should also note: being able to nurse everywhere also means feeling like I have the right to nurse everywhere. I have made a real point of exploring this, and I've nursed on public benches all over town. I've also been happily surprised that many places (most recently the opthomologist's) will have a back room I can nurse in, I only have to ask. (Since workplaces in California are required to provide a place to pump milk, I figure as a patron I can probably get access to those spaces at least). I think that, if you and baby need to nurse, you should not feel shy about making that need known and challenging the others in that space to help you come up with a solution. I try to keep in mind that, while LO may be my child, he will contribute as a citizen someday, so everyone has a responsibility to make sure he is cared for in basic ways -- let them finding me a place to nurse be their small contribution to the well-being of the next generation.
3. Make the outings baby-friendly. I try to plan at least one thing an outing that I know my LO and I will really enjoy, because I find his glee so rewarding. It might be as simple as stopping at a park and lying in the grass for 10 minutes (which we don't have at home, thanks to California dry summers) -- something sensual, generally. I have also been going on walks with some other mothers I met through the local breastfeeding support group -- there is nothing like nursing with other mothers to help it feel normal. (Even though a gaggle of women wearing their babies and nursing probably strikes most people as anything but normal!)
4. Try to maintain existing nap routines as much as possible. Now, we don't really have a schedule (I can never keep one myself), but he does have a rough napping pattern. I try to make sure that he is in a place where he can sleep during those times -- so I plan walks/long stops during naps, and short stops during his alert times. If your problem is that she sleeps too much in the car/out of the house (wow, I can't imagine having that problem! I would love to have LO sleep rather than scream in the car!) you might try timing your car trips around her napping habits, and then get her out of the carseat when you want her to wake up.
Most of all, try to remember that whatever you're struggling with, whatever phase you're in, it will change soon. And then you'll have a whole new set of struggles!
Mother to a sweet boy, born at 34 weeks on 2/11/11.
Proud that I grew 26 lbs of baby before solids, and still counting...
We received banked milk in the NICU. Thank you, donors!!!