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Tips for nursing in public

Posted by Wendy Wright on

Reading news stories about moms asked to leave public places for breastfeeding their babies or told to remove themselves to the toilet to breastfeed can make even the most brave women hesitate. If you were a bottle-feeding mom, you would just feed your baby without any fanfare. So, what’s the big deal with breastfeeding?

Your baby needs to eat. So you need to find a way to comfortably nurse your baby wherever you happen to be. You don’t need to be an exhibitionist. The more relaxed and nonchalant you are about breastfeeding, the less likely it is for anyone to even notice that you’re doing it. Still feeling unsure? Consider these 4 strategies:

  • Practice makes perfect: If you’re nervous about someone seeing your body parts (whether your breast, nipple, or even your belly), sit in front of a mirror at home and nurse your baby. What you’ll notice is that you can’t see much. Apart from the bit of skin you might observe at the moment of latch, your baby and your clothing are covering most of your body. Another tip - get used to nursing in front of guests in your home (rather than excusing yourself to another room to feed baby). You’ll then feel more confident as you venture out.
  • The layered look: Plan what to wear with feeding in mind. A one-piece dress is probably not ideal. Two-piece outfits allow you to lift your shirt at the hem to feed. You don’t need clothes specifically for breastfeeding, but you might want to dress in layers. A cardigan or sweater that zips or buttons in the front allows you to lift your shirt while still having some fabric blocking your breasts from public view. If you’ve got a button-down shirt on, only undo the lower buttons, allowing the upper ones to provide some privacy. Wearing a bra specifically made for breastfeeding helps.
  • Full coverage: Some moms find that throwing a blanket over their shoulder and their baby is enough to keep them comfortable from possible prying eyes. Cute nursing covers are another option. Wearing a fashionable scarf with your outfit? It might double as a cover, too! Check our one of our favorites from itzy ritzy.
  • Location, location, location: Choose to sit somewhere that you’re comfortable. You don’t want to be perched on the edge of a wall or standing with no elbow support for 40 minutes while baby finishes! Don’t feed your baby in a bathroom – would you want to eat in there? If you’re looking for seclusion, consider a changing room in a department store or an out-of-the-way bench in the park or shopping mall. If you’re in a restaurant, ask to be seated along a wall, and take the seat with your back to the other diners.

Don’t be afraid to nurse your baby wherever and whenever. In fact, the law is likely on your side. Most states have laws protecting breastfeeding moms from harassment. You can check here to find information for your state.

A hungry baby needs to be fed. You’re doing the best for your baby by breastfeeding – nourishing your baby the way nature intended.

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1 comment

  • Good info! In my 6 years of breastfeeding I’ve only recently discovered an awesome idea! My sister in law suggested using the thin muslin blanket my son carries at all times as a cover! Ours is from aden&anais but there are cheaper ones! Hold it length wise and tie those two corners together in a small knot! Slip it over your shoulders like a scarf and voila! Now you can nurse with confidence that you’re covered and baby isn’t sweating and struggling to breathe! It’s very thin breathable material. Once you’re finished nursing simply hand the blanky back to baby or cover him (my baby boy likes to play with it Bc it’s soft and thin). There you have it!

    Rachael Clinton on

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