When I became pregnant the first time, I had so many questions when it came to hunting. I tried to research or ask my doctor about shooting firearms, shooting my bow, or climbing into my tree stand. There weren’t any great resources, and my doctor/midwives could only give me their best educated guess. I noticed there is not much of a conversation about the issues women face in the outdoors in all stages of life.
Women have a different set of hardships and issues when it comes to hunting. There are so many taboo subjects (that are just a natural part of life) that women face in the outdoors, but I think if women start sharing more about their experiences and what they do, maybe that will help someone else facing the same thing.
This year, the biggest problem I faced trying to hunt was breastfeeding. What do breastfeeding women do when they go hunting? I was breastfeeding two babies, and I couldn’t spend days, let alone a couple hours without breastfeeding or pumping. I drew a spot in a quota turkey hunt in Georgia that took place a few weeks after Audrey was born. I didn’t think I could even consider it, but nick scouted out the area and prepared everything for me. He dropped me off and picked me up a couple hours later with the babies in tow. I was by myself, because Nick had to watch the girls, and I couldn’t bring all of my supplies with me to go out longer (I also literally just had a baby and didn’t want to be trekking the woods for much longer). My next hunt was in the fall when Audrey was a little older and could go longer without nursing. Nick again did the scout work and the prep for me. He dropped me off in the plains, and we would meet up every time Audrey needed to eat. I was army crawling in open fields, and there was no way I could pump out there and carry a cooler around. As the year progressed we had better situations, and I got the hang of things. I was able to hunt all year and still breastfeed! I have a few recommendations now that I have the hang of things.
My recommendations after this year are
A hand pump (I like medela), my freestyle pump is way too loud to be honking out in the woods.
The Kiinde breastmilk storage system. You will love these, and they will not spill while bouncing around all in your pack.
Accessory cleaning wipes and water bottles. Clean your pump parts with the wipes, and use the water bottles to rinse them after.
A cooler backpack. Walmart has these on clearance for 25$ right now.
The last helpful item I recommend is a tank top under your shirt or a wrap around cover. It might be you and the trees, but being exposed (especially in the cold) is not fun.
Freshly expressed milk can stay good up to 24 hours in a cooler with ice packs. It can stay refrigerated for up to 5 days, but using it or freezing it is better within 3 days. Pumping anytime your baby eats helps to maintain your supply, and pumping at LEAST every 4 hours will help maintain your supply. Do not go longer than 5- 6 hours. Clogged ducts/mastitis are absolutely terrible, and you also want to make sure you’re keeping up your supply for your little love. WHO now reccomends breastfeeding until at least 2, so if you’re a huntress, there will probably come a time when you want to hunt and still be able to feed your babe. It is possible to hunt, keep your supply, and feed your baby!
I really hope this can help a hunting momma out, or at least bring some solidarity to her! There is so much more I could write, but this post would never end. If you have any specific questions or just want to talk, please contact me! Have you ever had any problems come up that you’ve never heard discussed? Comment, DM, or email me and tell me about them!
God Bless and good hunting!