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I was still breastfeeding my daughter when Wisconsin’s archery deer season opened. I felt like I couldn’t go hunting because I was breastfeeding. At the time, my daughter would eat every three hours (or less). At first, I thought this meant that I either had to put a time limit on my hunting trips or that I just didn’t go hunting. Mom-guilt got the best of me and I decided not to go hunting.
Over time, I resented breastfeeding because I associated it with not being able to do things I enjoyed. Instead of continuing these negative thoughts, I decided to make a change.
Balancing hunting and breastfeeding is doable but takes a lot of planning (and bravery). There are questions you need to consider and concrete plans need to be made prior to the hunt.
How to Manage Breastfeeding while Hunting
Questions to help you plan
- How long will you be gone, theoretically and realistically? Include the time you leave your little one until the time you return. Remember travel time, prep time, the time it takes to get to the blind, etc.
- Is it a hunt where you can bring your little one? Sometimes bringing my daughter along on a hunt was ideal because I could spend as much time hunting as I wanted. One time, my husband, daughter, and I packed up and headed out to duck hunt around 9 am. If we had left Amelia with a sitter, we would have had to be home at a set time. But since we brought her, along with a plethora of distractions, we were able to stay out until shooting time. This was one of the coolest days we’ve had as a family and no, we didn’t even come home with a duck.
- How will you bring your little one along? Should you pack her in a carrier or hiking pack or nothing at all?
- Will the hunt require pumping sessions? If you leave your little one behind, you’ll need to think about how frequently you will be forced to pump due to discomfort.
- Will you need to bring a change of clothes in case of a leak? Definitely worth considering!
- If pumping, do you have enough storage bags? Do you have a cooler? Is your pump charged or will you need an outlet to plug into?
- If leaving your little one with a sitter, how early will you have to wake up to pump and then head out to the hunt? Can’t forget to account for that pumping time!
- How long will you last before becoming super full and uncomfortable and need to either pump or go home to nurse?
- Which bra has the most stretch to accommodate some fullness while also providing support to eliminate discomfort?
Advice for the hunting mama
- Plan your gear and layers with breastfeeding in mind. You’ll need layers that provide easy access. I had to completely rethink my layering system to accommodate this.
- Don’t be shy when breastfeeding in the field or having to pump while sitting in the cabin.
- You’ve got this mama! You are an incredible mother and are providing for your little one. THAT is something to be proud of!
- Don’t let breastfeeding deter you from doing what you love. I know this one is easier said than done but it is truly an accomplishment when you find the balance between your own self-care and breastfeeding.
Normalize breastfeeding while hunting
As I mentioned before, hunting while on your breastfeeding journey is achievable. In an attempt to normalize this walk of life, especially in the hunting world, here are some places that I have breastfed my daughter:
- The middle of the field during a pheasant hunt. I also nursed Amelia in the car before we went out to the field and the owner walked right up to the car window. (At some point, it is actually comical seeing how uncomfortable some people get…)
- The marsh while duck hunting
- The duck blind while duck hunting
- The duck boat
- A box blind while deer hunting
- The middle of the snowy woods while squirrel hunting
- The middle of the woods while shed hunting
- Pumped in the car on the way to some early morning goose hunts
- Pumped in the car on the way to and from 3D archery shoots
It is possible to be an avid hunter while still breastfeeding!
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This post may contain affiliate links. Miss Pursuit may earn a small commission for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support our work in bringing you real information about hunting and the outdoors.