Monday, August 16, 2010

Breastfeeding in First Class the Night Before BlogHer

Have you ever ridden first class? I hadn't either until my trip to New York City for Blogher 2010. It was luck, and I like to think a little fate that got my seat on that flight. My sponsor--Piggies and Paws was in the process of buying my last minute ticket when I found out I had won a Twitter contest for a round trip flight Gummylump was having.

I'd only seen glimpses of what first class was like while watching an episode of Jerry Seinfield. And a scene in Jerry Maguire. In both the flight attendants would close a thin blue curtain separating the elite from the coach class. I was about to get a taste of the elite.

It didn't cross my mind that the people who actually paid an extra chunk of cash to be up front in soft cushy seats may be unhappy to see me and my baby--Mostly my baby. A dear friend and commenter on my blog put that thought in my mind a few days before takeoff. But my daughter had been on two flights before already and done wonderfully. Hopefully this trip would be no different.

It felt as though the red carpet had been rolled out for us. Not only because I had a small infant, but because I had a golden ticket--Literally. So we got to board the plane first. Well, actually second. The person with the seat next to mine managed to board before me, or maybe he was already on the plane from the flight before as he had already managed to get himself settled and even take his shoes off.
This confused me for a moment. I wasn't sure if first class means you get slippers or something too or if he was just making himself extra comfortable. Since he didn't mind taking his shoes off hopefully he wouldn't mind me pulling my shirt down to feed my baby--Shoot. I hadn't thought about that. I had nursed in public before but never directly next to a complete stranger in a small confined space. I mean sure, the seats were more spacious than coach but not far enough for him not to notice what I was doing.

I got settled in my seat and looked him up and down as I thought about my options. He was dressed in business attire from head to toe--minus the shoes. He also had headphones in. Great. Maybe that would distract him. My daughter was sleeping, as I knew she would be quite possibly for another hour or two, but surely not the whole flight. Not without eating.

By then other first class passengers were taking their seats and taking note of my little one wrapped up in my arms. I smiled and gave nods, while noticing the scene's resemblance to a recent lawsuit I had read about. Crying baby, annoyed passenger. Since when did that become a reason to sue? Anyway... I silently hoped we wouldn't all turn the flight into a news story.

I sent a tweet out to find confidence in breastfeeding elbow to elbow with a stranger--A man. A man with a beard, a business suit and no shoes. Do rich people even breastfeed? (kidding) I just know one reason I am so adamant is so I can save money I would use for formula.

The flight attendant asked for our drink orders. Nice. Pre-drinks! I got my usual, some cranberry apple juice and kept tweeting away.

By the time I turned off my phone and the plane took off I knew when the time came to feed my daughter I'd just do it. And I'd try my best to do it before she fully woke up or made a peep. Better to avoid drawing attention.

Next, the flight attendant came back around and asked for our meal orders! Yum! A meal. I'm all about free food. Though I wasn't sure where it would go. There was so much leg room in front and no trays to be pulled down from the front. Would I have to balance the food on my baby's head?

Luckily, my neighbor had done this before. I tried to be nonchalant as I watched how he pulled out the tray. AH HA! Lift your arm rest, pull on tray lever, then extend. VoilĂ !
I ate my dinner and tried my best not to spill it all in my daughter's hair, and hoped she'd sleep long enough to eat my whole meal. She did. And not long after I was done with mine she was ready for hers.

I felt her stirring in my wrap, and I could tell her boob shark fin was up, so I pulled out my nursing cover and put that on before pulling her out of the wrap. I turned toward the window to get her latched on and once she was drinking away she was happy and basically back asleep.

Piece of cake! What was I so worried about? Feeding her kept her happy and quiet. No first class drama!

We landed safely in New York--Newark actually, but close enough. A woman behind me complimented me on my beautiful and quiet baby.
I had been waiting my whole life to visit NYC and here I was, also bringing my daughter who was just beginning hers. I sort of felt like a child. As if I needed a chaperon to be there by myself, much less with a baby.

Luckily once I made my way to the Hilton, where the BlogHer convention was being held, I met up with other young moms: @BabyDickey, @MilitaryMama, @MamaBMy and @LittleBGCG who were more experienced, and I believe, less nervous than I.
Emily got the best picture of our kiddos minus her little one who wasn't there. I showed this to my husband and told him she has three boyfriends and he got so mad at me! ... Already protective!!

That night we stayed up until 4am introducing our babies, exchanging blogging stories, scooping up some swag (a $200 goodie bag from Luminess including an airbrush makeup machine and makeup), and socializing. All that fun and the conference hadn't even started yet.
The next day I had my first "I'm a bad mom" moment which sent me crying in a cab on my way back to the hotel, but more on that tomorrow.

I'll also be posting advice about going to Blogher, how to get sponsored, and how to get the most out of your trip!

Thanks again to Piggies and Paws for making it possible for us!

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