Recently, Denver Metro Moms Blog was offered a unique opportunity to visit the Pepsi Center. Not for a Nuggets or Avalanche game. Not for a concert. To breastfeed. Yes, you read that right! The Pepsi Center and UCHealth have collaborated to support nursing moms with a world class Nursing Suite, the first of its kind in Colorado and in the NHL. We sent two of our still nursing contributors to give it a go and here’s what we found out:
Earlier this week, I was given the opportunity to check out the brand new nursing suite at the Pepsi Center, sponsored by UCHealth. I walked away from this event with admiration for the forward thinking movement our Denver healthcare and social events systems are taking, and in unison no less!
As a brand new mom, figuring out this whole breastfeeding thing was HARD… and it still is!
I have luckily been on my breastfeeding journey with my baby just shy of 12 months, but there was SOOO much I had to learn along the way! Prior to my baby being born, I wore what I like to call my Magical Lenses: special frames that create scenes of a projected reality with beautifully painted expectations. In this reality, I envisioned that I would be the type of mama to breastfeed without a cover. Then my baby was born and my magical lenses were ripped off my face, allowing me to see the reality that my baby was a force to be reckoned with, and this force doesn’t always pause for beautiful, relaxing, nursing sessions…especially out in public. Now, believe me when I say I HAVE TO cover in public, because if I don’t, more often then not, my breast is fully exposed for the world to see. Now, I am a relatively relaxed, go with the flow individual, but given how trying breastfeeding has been and how vulnerable it has made me feel, I do not often then want my nipple blasted into the faces of my fellow community members.
So I cover up. Easy solution, right? WRONG!
My daughter does not like to be covered, because she’s just too focused on the notion that she may miss something, and that cannot happen! So when we are out in public and she gets hungry, I cringe a little bit, knowing this nursing session could potentially and epicly, erupt my vulnerability to an entirely new level. Can you say holy-anxiety?! Given this level of anxiety, I have become a relatively calculated breastfeeding mama, especially when it comes to nursing out in public. However, you know what they say about the best laid plans…
So, for me, getting the opportunity to not only see the nursing suite in person, but to actually nurse my daughter in the suite was awesome!
I welcomed the chance to have a quiet moment with my baby to feed her, without having to cover, without having anxiety about feeling overtly exposed, and limiting most, if not all, distractions from my daughter so she could focus on what was important! And let me tell you, I was able to get all of these things and then some in the UCHealth Nursing Suite!
As I approached and walked into the suite, it felt a bit unknown, as anything new and modern might. The suite itself is simple, welcoming, and comfortable. It was very clean and bright, but not in that medical-hospital sort of way. As we settled in to begin our nursing session, I sat back on the bench, getting a bit of lumbar support from comfortable throw pillows provided within the suite. Throughout our nursing session, the space felt friendly and relaxed, and I greatly appreciated the limited visual stimulation that was offered within the walls of the suite. Although, I sincerely valued the statement on the wall, just opposite from where we sat, “We hope you and your biggest little fan are comfortable.” As I sat there nursing my daughter, I realized so very many things: we were out in public, nursing, and it was peaceful. I cherished this moment because we haven’t had a ton like it, but that’s also because we haven’t been in a space quite like this either.
After our nursing session was over, I walked away with a feeling of empowerment, because not only was it a calming space for me to do what I feel is a pretty important job, but my community was supporting me in doing so, and whole-heartedly put thought into how they could meet my needs, and the many other mamas in the same boat as me. For that I will always be grateful.
As I enter this breastfeeding phase for the second time, boy do I have some stories to tell.
The second time around has definitely left me more comfortable in knowing that feeding my baby in public (with a cover) is not as horrible as it once seemed with my first. But pumping… well, pumping is a whole other animal. There is no way in the WORLD that I would ever feel comfortable pumping in public. My husband and I attended a concert at the Pepsi Center just recently and needless to say the children were not invited.
With a new baby at home, it would have been impossible for me to enjoy the concert with rock hard breasts, so I had to pump.
Before the UCHealth nursing suite, I found myself waiting in line for the crowded women’s restroom with my hand pump supplies in my purse. I’m sure the women waiting were wondering what I was doing in there while they scrambled to use the restroom before intermission was over. There I was, not unfamiliar with the experience, thinking there has got to be a better way. We all know how precious this liquid gold is, but who wants to keep it knowing in what surroundings you had to produce it. Just gross!