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April 27, 2005

doing it on the subway

Yesterday I breastfed my ten-month-old at a subway stop in Brooklyn, on the Q train in Manhattan and on the W train from Manhattan to Astoria.

I have always been nervous about feeding on the subway. I've done a lot of pumping and bottle-toting to avoid it. But the trek from Brooklyn to Queens was just too long. I found a seat at the end of the car, asked my husband to stand guard and let Alfred stretch out on my lap... within minutes he was drifting off, all that screeching train noise lulling him to sleep.

I remember when my baby was born I was so frightened that I would never be able to “get out” that I insisted on dragging my wounded postpartum animal self to the nearest subway—tiny, days-old, crusty-bellybuttoned baby in arms—so that we could enjoy a summer afternoon at the Frick. What could be more civilized? Well, turns out they wouldn’t let us in with the stroller, so we spent the afternoon in Central Park. The sun was very healing. Alfred and I, both squinty-eyed, vulnerable and pale, fell in and out of sleep under a tree. I was sore and scared, but the trip made me feel that “getting out" was still possible. That Alfred could be my buddy in life rather than an obstacle to my life. Feeding Alfred on the subway yesterday gave me a similar boost. In fact, getting over the feeding-on-subway hurdle has made me feel more confident to try it again. Maybe soon I can try it without the husband?

by ceridwen at 10:49 AM
in baby | breastfeeding


Nursing in transit is (pun intended) efficiency in motion. I used to look at that picture of breastfeeding a baby in a carseat and laugh at the acrobatic impossibility. Then we got stuck in a traffic jam in LA. Five minutes of shrieking later, I was slung over the car seat with my shoulder belt and all manner of plastic digging into my ribcage. But it was quiet. We eventually got attached to car-feeding...kept him happy in the car, and kept us from having to deal with nursing when we got to our destination. All for the small price of bruised floating ribs.

comment by rebecca at April 27, 2005 12:26 PM

Fantastic! I've yet to even take a stroller on the subway for fear of lugging all the gear, so my subway trips have been pretty short and handled with a bjorn. However we did go on our first plane trip--I nursed on the way up and down and the baby slept through most of it. The car-seat feeding is a new one--I'll remember that. Here's to thinking of the baby as a buddy. I love it.

comment by Tomoko at April 27, 2005 4:39 PM

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