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You may have heard about the amazing benefits of breastfeeding and so will breastfeed your baby. But the thought of breastfeeding your baby in public sends shivers down your spine (maybe I’m being a little dramatic).
Hopefully, after reading this post, you should be able to breastfeed your baby in public confidently.
Prior to becoming a mom I had seen several women breastfeeding in public. There was no shame about it. It filled my mind with questions, questions I now have answers to. If you are wondering whether to ever breastfeed in public, I was almost sure I would never do that (I thought it was a thing of the past, 21 century women don’t do that). I mean how can you expose your boobies to the whole world in the name of breastfeeding a baby?
I’m now a mother as life will have it and breastfeeding in public is not big deal for me anymore. This is because, it can be done gracefully. I will show you how in the next few paragraphs but first, lets go through a few reasons why breastfeeding in public is okay.
Why it’s okay to breastfeed in public
1. You are feeding a human being. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s as normal as eating pizza at an eatery.
2. You’re exposing your body lawfully.
3. You’re a mom, someone must have done it for you (well, most likely).
4. Would you rather express milk, try to keep it warm, clean bottles or probably discard your hard pumped milk because it’s been out for too long? Well, you decide.
5. Because it’s fresh milk!
Oh, there’s nothing wrong with carrying expressed milk. I have too, a number of times. However, I find breastfeeding more convenient.
Breastfeeding in public can be daunting especially if you are a first-time mom. Notwithstanding, there should be no shame about it.
It can be awkward in the beginning but hey, you will be fine and you will even be a pro before you even know it.
My husband made breastfeeding in public easy for me until I became “a natural”. I remember asking him on countless occasions whether he thought people could see my breasts- I was shy. He would always give me the nudge and say “no”. He would further add that, it was the most natural thing to do. This gave me a lot of confidence.
In addition, I found these tips and tricks noted in subsequent paragraphs helpful in making breastfeeding easy whenever you are in public.
1. Nursing bra
It’s no brainier, nursing bras are an amazing invention. They ensure a baby is breastfed discreetly. It doesn’t allow unnecessary exposure of the breast during breastfeeding. This is my favorite for when I have to be outdoors.
Envsoll Nursing and Maternity Bra The breathable tulle at the top of the bra does not even allow you to show cleavage.
Question- why does showing cleavage seem more acceptable than breastfeeding in public? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.
2. The right clothing
This makes it easy to access the breast for the baby. You always need to think about the right clothing when you are stepping out with your baby as a nursing mother. The best kind of clothing for breastfeeding are: Clothing that has V necks- that can easily be pushed to one side, tops with spandex (remember to wear a camisole underneath); off shoulder clothing (just push it down); clothes with buttons or zips at the front. Check out out the top below. It’s perfect for breastfeeding in public.
3. Keep the baby focused
It is easier to breastfeed babies when they are younger, 0-6 months but at eight months or older they easily get distracted when being breastfed. You can get a teething necklace to help keep them focused when breastfeeding.
4. Use a breastfeeding cover for more discretion
I have never used one because I haven’t felt the need to. But if you want more privacy, a breastfeeding cover will definitely do. These work for a limited period though. Because, babies older than four months or so are noted to take off their breastfeeding covers during feeding sessions. Remember to get a breathable one like this. It also has multiple uses. It can be used as a baby car seat cover and a trolley cover for example.
5. Nurse in a wrap
I enjoy feeding my baby in a wrap. Being in a wrap soothes her and puts her to sleep. She is also more focused. I guess it’s even hard to tell I’m breastfeeding from the picture below. The wrap also keeps babies warm.
6. Find a support group
For me, the support I needed to breastfeed in public came from my husband. Having a support group helps build your confidence. If you find yourself at any point in time with a group of people that make you uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public, move away.
7. Follow the hunger cues
It is best to breastfeed babies before they get hysterical. Always follow hunger cues. Once your baby starts wailing, you draw attention to yourself which can be very distressing.
Some places- coffee shops, restaurants may have places specifically for breastfeeding mothers. My church for instance has a place just for breastfeeding mothers. I don’t always use the place as I mostly breastfeed sitting within the congregation. You just will never know till you ask if there is a place specifically for breastfeeding wherever you find self.
9. Prepare to breastfeed in public
Ensure you have packed your diaper bag with all the essentials that will help you to breastfeed. This should include a burping cloth and a hand sanitizer. Get the full list here.
10. Pick a discreet spot to breastfeed
If you ever find yourself needing to breastfeed in a public place, just pick a discreet spot. A table at the extreme end of a coffee shop for instance is better as it offers more privacy.
11. Practice at home
If you are still feeling a bit jittery about breastfeeding in public, practice at home, Mama practice. You can do this.
Now go out there and be you! You know what? No one might even notice you breastfeeding.
So, have you breastfed in public before? What was your experience like? If you haven’t, is it something you will consider doing?