Breastfeeding can present a number of challenges, from struggling to get your baby to latch to creating a feeding routine that works for you and your baby.
Choosing to breastfeed your baby in public, however, can create even more potential hurdles — and may even be met with certain stigmas and “raised eyebrows.”
While these challenges may induce a sense of trepidation around feeding your baby in public, it’s important to understand that there’s no shame in it. Breastfeeding your baby is one of the most natural things you can do!
However, if you’re struggling with lactation challenges, there are plenty of helpful resources to turn to, such as the MamaNatal website.
Their mission is to help expecting and new moms with their motherhood challenges, through a network of certified maternity experts, as well as Breastfeeding Supplement and Multivitamins that are essential for promoting a healthy and plentiful milk supply.
Advice About Breastfeeding in Public Places
1. Familiarize Yourself with Public Breastfeeding Laws
One of the first steps you can take to gain confidence in your choice to breastfeed in public is to familiarize yourself with any relevant laws in your area..
At first, you may assume these dos and don’ts for breastfeeding in public are more centered around the ‘don’ts’. But with some research, you’ll quickly see that many of the laws are, in fact, in place to safeguard you and your choice to nurse in public.
Thankfully, there are great resources available, including the National Conference of State Legislature’s (NCSL) page on all the state laws. Worldwide, you’ll find top advice to follow from the likes of the World Health Organization.
2. Be Prepared with the Right Clothes and Accessories
To make sure feeding your baby in public is as stress- and hassle-free as possible, there are a few simple things you can do to prepare yourself for your outing.
For example, loose-fitting clothes are ideal for creating easy access to your breast without having to take any clothes off. A simple button-up shirt or top you can pull down over your breast is perfect. Equally, a blanket to cover your chest and baby while you’re feeding will help ease any anxiety you may feel while still ensuring a cozy, safe environment for your baby to feed.
3. Find the Ideal Setting to Breastfeed in Public
When you’re out with your baby and begin edging closer to feeding time, it can be stressful trying to find a suitable spot to stop and feed. Knowing where to head for the best nursing environment will help make your trip out much more enjoyable and relaxing.
Restaurants with booth seating provide a great, discreet area for you to nurse, as do tables that face a corner or wall. Even if these places are busy, you’ll still be able to achieve a sense of privacy. Shopping malls and other retail outlets often provide dedicated breastfeeding areas. Or, if you’d feel better with full privacy, a baby changing area or woman’s fitting room may offer all the isolation you require.
4. Nurse Your Baby as Soon as They Get Hungry
Initially, it can be difficult to know exactly when your baby needs to nurse. But, with time, you’ll learn to understand their behavior so you know just when they need feeding.
Being aware of these cues is essential for a calm feed, especially when you’re out in public. As soon as your baby starts to show signs of wanting to be fed, head to a nearby spot you’ve found that’s ideal for breastfeeding. This will help reduce any heightened anxiety as your baby starts to struggle and cry while you’re trying to prepare yourself for their meal.
5. Practice At Home to See What Works
Before you head out for the first time, have a go at some tried-and-tested feeding methods at home to see what feels right for you and your baby.
For instance, your baby may nurse better in a sling. This provides a comfortable, discreet feeding solution for you, too, granting easy access to your breast while keeping you covered. Look at reviews from other moms to see what’s worked best for them to get an idea of what may be suited to you.
To ease any concerns about modesty, set up your trial breastfeed in front of a mirror so you can see how little you are revealing when feeding your baby. This will help ease any worries you may have, giving you that much-needed boost of confidence before you and your baby set off on your first adventure together.