Do you have questions about how to go about being able to breastfeed in public? We have 10 tips to help you be successful and confident!
10 Tips to Breastfeed in Public
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Many new mothers are anxious about the idea of breastfeeding in public or social settings. When I was a new mom, I spent way too much time nursing my son in the car. I would go out to the parking lot because I felt so uncomfortable trying to get myself set up.
I wish I knew then, what I know now. Breastfeeding is not something we should feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about doing. I mean, shouldn’t we be proud of the fact that we have this natural ability to provide our children with the nutrition necessary for them to grow, develop, and thrive?
It is recommended by The World Health Organization that mothers breastfeed their infants for at least the first six months of their life. Being able to breastfeed allows adequate nutrition and is optimal for baby’s growth, health, and development.
Nursing our babies shouldn’t mean we need to hide ourselves away from the public and never leave home.
If you are nervous about breastfeeding in a public place, we have some tips to help you.
Keep Things Minimal
Having your things spread out over a large area will draw attention to yourself and what you are doing. I know that I don’t want to draw any more attention to myself than necessary.
I really try to only take out what I need from the diaper bag and usually pull out a spit-up rag and my cover or blanket. Having a quick setup and pickup is also a plus with only pulling out a couple of things.
Practice in Front of the Mirror
You’ll be ready to breastfeed discreetly in public if you practice at home. Sit down in front of a full-length mirror and practice. I always felt like I was exposing so much more than I really was. Being able to see myself and what was showing helped me realize that it wasn’t a big deal.
A little practice at home will help you remain at ease when it comes time to breastfeed in public.
Something that really helped me with going out in public was making sure my baby was full before I left the house. That way I knew if I was going to be gone for a more extended period of time, I could gauge where I needed or wanted to be to successfully breastfeed without any issues.
It might take a little more planning, but as someone who struggled with breastfeeding anywhere besides home or in the car, it really eased my anxiety.
Comfortable and Functional Clothing
Choose to wear a comfortable access nursing bra. I personally like the bras I can snap down quickly. Also be sure to have layers to cover what needs to be covered while nursing. I’m a fan of nursing undershirts as well. It makes things a little bit easier. Be sure that your clothing is easily managed using one hand so you can hold your baby with your other hand.
There are a lot of amazing and super cute nursing friendly shirts now that I wish I could have invested in when I had my first baby.
Lots of women can walk around while nursing their baby using a sling or wrap. (I’m totally nursing in that picture to the left, and you can’t even tell!) I’m only able to do that when my babies are tiny, like newborn little. Being able to nurse while having the baby in a carrier is definitely a learning curve, but it is easy to keep everything covered! It’s also kind of nice to be mobile for simple house tasks or going shopping.
Using a Cover
There are a lot of opinions on whether or not a woman should cover up while nursing her baby. Do whatever you feel comfortable with.
Some babies don’t like being covered, but practicing at home can help the baby get used to it. Then, hopefully, they won’t try to pull it off or fuss a bit during the feeding.
If you are looking for a cover, you can order one here and use the code 534e33 to get it for free (you just have to pay shipping).
My kids usually don’t mind having a blanket over them when they are really young, but as they get older, they want to see what is going on around them. When my kids are at this age, I choose to wear clothing that conceals anything I don’t want the world to see.
Choose a Good Spot
While looking for the perfect place to stop and nurse your baby, look for the universal breastfeeding symbol. Many public places will use this to help you locate a designated area for breastfeeding.
If you can’t find a designated area, no worries! You can choose a place that is comfortable for you and your baby. Feel free to ask for special accommodations. A lot of public areas will have nursing rooms for breastfeeding mothers.
When my youngest was born, it was baseball season, and my husband had earned tickets from work to go as a family. I was nervous about it, but upon doing some research, I found out that they had a Mother’s Room. It was fantastic! There were nice rocking chairs, a changing station, and even dividers for women that wanted their own space. There were so many moms in there feeding their babies and pumping for babies that they were away from. I hope that other places follow their example and get rooms together like that.
Bring Others Along
There is strength in numbers. Having your husband or a friend can keep you company and help you feel relaxed in what might be a stressful situation when going out in public. They can hold the baby as you prepare to feed or hand you things while your nursing. It’s a huge help!
Act Natural and Have a Response Ready
What you are doing is natural, so act natural. Don’t let thoughts creep in about what other people might be thinking.
If you get dirty looks from onlookers, smile back at them! You are doing what is best for your baby. Be confident!
We live in a world where people have opinions about everything, even things that have nothing to do with them. Someone may make a comment to you while you are doing what is best for your baby. They may think they have a right to try to put you down or convince you that you don’t have a right to be feeding your baby in public. If you’re ready to respond with a polite, but direct response you will be better off. If you feel it’s necessary, keep a copy of the law that protects a mother’s right to breastfeed, in your diaper bag.
Stand Your Ground and Know Your Rights
The craze around breastfeeding in public is insane. We have all seen the videos of people mom shaming others. This isn’t right or fair. I’m not saying that it’s totally okay to let your breasts hang out while breastfeeding, but if that’s your style, people have the ability to look away. I fall into the category of being much more modest, so it’s definitely a preference.
We know that there are many health benefits to baby and mother from breastfeeding. Public breastfeeding is not against the law. In fact, federal law protects your legal right to breastfeed in public. Here’s where you can find out what state laws your state has on breastfeeding: http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/breastfeeding-state-laws.aspx.
Are you looking for tips to help with breastfeeding problems? Look here!
Do you need some help being able to successfully breastfeed? Look here!
If you feel like you need extra support or education on breastfeeding, take this course for breastfeeding.
And if you are looking to up your supply and learn how to successfully pump, try this course!
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Shiree is my other half. She calls herself boring, but she is far from it! She lives in Kansas City with her husband and her 4 kids ages 7, 5, 2, and 1! She really is super mom as she spends hours working on the blog and finding a way to still take care of her kids effortlessly! Shiree was married young and started a family right away. She jokes all the time that nothing could have prepared her for motherhood other than motherhood!
After becoming a mom she decided to get as much knowledge as she could about raising kids and strengthening families so she decided to go to college. She obtained her degree in Marriage and Family studies and is now a Family Life Educator. She has a desire to pay it forward and help other parents raise kids and strengthen their families.