Breastfeeding in public can seem daunting at first. Whipping out your breast in front of strangers, isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world for many. However, it does get easier.
I had never really thought about breastfeeding before I became pregnant. As an adult, I hadn’t seen many women breastfeeding their babies around me. Although, now I think of it, maybe I just hadn’t noticed. Once I found out I was expecting, it wasn’t until I saw a woman breastfeeding in public, that breastfeeding even became a consideration.
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The Breastfeeding Woman
I had travelled into London for a work meeting and had stopped at a coffee shop for something to eat. While in there, I saw a woman with her baby. Before you knew it, she had whipped out her breast in front of everyone in the entire coffee shop else and starting breastfeeding. She didn’t have a cover on and didn’t even blink an eye. I was in complete awe of how comfortable she looked. She made breastfeeding in public look carefree and relaxed and as though it was nothing. She caught me staring at her and although I was pregnant at the time, I wasn’t yet showing. So, it wasn’t a knowingly stare, where she could see that I was about to embark on my own journey of motherhood. I wish she somehow knew how much she inspired me to start my own breastfeeding journey!
After doing some research on breastfeeding, I decided it would be my preferred option for feeding my baby. I have loved breastfeeding and have fed in public, many, many times. I find it so easy to be out and about when breastfeeding and will pretty much breastfeed anywhere; while walking, shopping, sitting in a coffee shop, catching up with friends or travelling. It became a part of my usual day to day and here are my top tips for breastfeeding in public.
Practice at Home
Getting into a breastfeeding routine at home first can really help. It can take a while to feel comfortable while breastfeeding. Get to a point where you feel relaxed at home so it will be easier once you decide to start breastfeeding in public. It’s a good idea to get to know your breastfeeding set up prior to heading out. What items do you like? Which position works best for you and your baby? Having a similar set up while out and about, can at first, can make the transition a little smoother.
Consider a Nursing Cover
While you don’t have to cover up while breastfeeding, it can make the process more comfortable for some. I had a nursing cover like this for my most recent breastfeeding journey and I loved it. It had a strap to go around my neck to keep the cover in place. There was an opening at the top to allow for ventilation, which also allowed me to see my baby. Lastly, it was large, lightweight and folded up small in my changing bag. I used a muslin cloth with my first and tucked a corner into my bra. Go with whatever works for you.
Wear Breastfeeding Friendly Clothes
Wearing clothes that are easy to manoeuvre is going to help a lot. These are the options that I feel are the easiest while still being modest. The first option, is to wear a vest top underneath your clothing. You could then wear a top over it, that you would just pull up, pulling the vest top down to access your bra. Alternatively, you can wear front opening tops and dresses. This way you can save money and wear your usual clothes throughout your breastfeeding journey. The second option is to is to buy nursing clothing. There are a lot of options out there these days. You can find tops like these with special openings.
Know your Breastfeeding Set Up
Know the breastfeeding items that you will need that make you comfortable and make sure you have these when out and about. Items such as nursing pads, bibs, muslin cloths, a nursing cover. Have spares in your changing bag, along with a spare set of clothes for your baby and a spare top for yourself in case of any spit up.
Familiarise Yourself with Breastfeeding Locations
There are many locations which have breastfeeding rooms. You don’t have to use these but it’s good to know. These spaces are often quiet and equipped with comfortable seating and baby changing areas. Sometimes you might want to stop for a moment and relax while you feed in private. If your baby gets distracted when feeding, these spaces are particularly useful.
Use a Baby Carrier
Grab yourself a baby carrier which allows for breastfeeding. Be aware that not all are designed to allow this, but if you buy yourself this baby carrier, it allows for easy breastfeeding and has a cover too. The baby carrier allowed me to be out and about shopping, walking around and nursing at the same time. It means you don’t have to stop to feed, unless you want to. I didn’t have to be aware of feeding times and if I did want to stop to feed, I could feed my baby in the carrier until I found a location to stop at. Check out this review to see for yourself!
Maybe you too can become that inspiring woman that other first time mothers look at and see how comfortable it can be to breastfeed in public.