Years ago as a new mom, I was a bit nervous about breastfeeding my first when I was not at home. I initially resorted to sitting in the car or hiding away in dressing rooms. But over time I became more confident and relaxed and ultimately, over the last six years, I have nursed three children in restaurants, playgrounds, parks, shopping centers, airplanes, on the beach and many other public places.
These are some of things I have learned to do over time that have helped make breastfeeding in public stress free:
Nurse as soon as baby signals that she is ready instead of waiting for baby to get a little fussy or crying. By feeding right on cue the chance of baby crying and increasing the stress for both mama and baby while trying to latch are greatly reduced.
Practice nursing while baby wearing. Once my babies where comfortable in a carrier or wrap, I was able to nurse them while walking around, grocery shopping, at the park and usually this happened completely unnoticed. I happen to really love my ergo carrier, and this video has a quick demonstration on how to use it to breastfeed while baby wearing.
Wear breastfeeding friendly clothes. My favorite and inexpensive solution has been to match a stretchy camisole under my top for a layered effect to create full coverage. The top can be lifted while the camisole can be lowered at the breast for baby to latch on.
For nursing a more active baby that likes to move around or twiddle, I like wearing a fun necklace with wooden beads or a charm that baby can play with.
If you are really worried about nursing in a public place, try nursing a bit in the company of other nursing moms, going out with another nursing mom together or with a friend/partner that can give you that extra support.
Smile and be confident! Maybe easier said than done in the beginning, but really, the more confident you are about it, the more baby will be relaxed too and then the chances of anyone really noticing or commenting are greatly reduced.
Focus on soothing and feeding baby and try to not worry about what others may think. Having nursed more than 10,000 times in the past years, I have seldomly had a negative encounter while nursing. Once at a restaurant, a server noticed I was breastfeeding and within a few minutes a new server introduced herself and helped us for the rest of our meal…the only one with a hang up about this was the first server…oh well!
Remember that breastfeeding is natural, normal and most of all a wonderful way of nurturing and nourishing a child. It is also protected in many countries/states as a legal right.
Do you breastfeed in public? Do you have any more tips to share?