In the first weeks and months of motherhood, it can be daunting and difficult to breastfeed your baby, outside the home or even in front of friends and family.
As a new Mom, it’s important that you feel confident and comfortable getting out and about. Social interaction, fresh air and new experiences are great for both you and baby – so go for it!
These five tips for nursing in public will help you develop confidence when feeding your baby.
1. Be prepared
Before you venture out, it may be helpful to find some nursing friendly locations, to give you options when your baby is ready for a feed. Look out for shopping centres and public spaces that have designated breastfeeding areas or private rooms where nursing mothers can enjoy complete privacy.
There are a number of apps, like feed finder (mostly UK), Mamava (mostly USA), Moms Pump Here (mostly USA) and Pumpspotting, that help nursing Moms find the most breastfeeding friendly locations in their area. Don’t be afraid to ask other breastfeeding Moms for tips and recommendations too!
While you’re out and about, remember to look for your baby’s first hunger cues. Noticing these will give you enough time to find somewhere suitable to nurse before your baby becomes stressed, along with allowing you to choose the most secluded area to nurse with some privacy.
Remember also to take a selection of healthy drinks and snacks out with you, to keep up your energy levels and to help maintain a good milk supply throughout the day.
It will take time to build up your confidence with public nursing, but you’ll soon be breastfeeding on the move without a second thought!
2. Know your rights
Knowing your rights as a breastfeeding Mom can be helpful if you’re challenged (though breastfeeding in public is widely accepted, so it’s unlikely that you’ll receive any negative attention.)
As a nursing Mom, you’re entitled to breastfeed an infant or child of any age in any public place – in fact, in many countries, this right is explicitly protected by law.
Try your best to brush off and ignore any comments or stares you receive while nursing. Breastfeeding is about taking care of your baby, so focus on nursing, rather than what might be happening around you.
Other breastfeeding Moms will undoubtedly be your biggest source of comfort and support as you get to grips with nursing in public – so if you see another Mom feeding while out and about, don’t forget to offer a warm smile or a friendly nod!
3. Ask for help
Like any new skill, breastfeeding takes time to master. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by learning how to nurse your baby, particularly in the first few weeks and months. Luckily, a wide range of free support is available for Moms at any stage of their breastfeeding journey.
Your physician or midwife will be able to assist you with breastfeeding or refer you to a specialist. It’s also easy to find breastfeeding support groups led by other Moms in many countries – a quick Google or Facebook search will point you in the right direction.
La Leche League is a wonderful organisation that operates internationally. In the UK, The Breastfeeding Network can help you locate your local nursing group. While in the United States, Breastfeeding USA is a great place to start if you’re looking for support. If you’re looking for information online, Kelly Mom is a great resource.
Try not to be daunted, as you get more used to breastfeeding, you will also become more confident.
4. Wear nursing friendly clothing
Specially designed breastfeeding tops and dresses allow nursing Moms to feed more confidently and discreetly in public. If you have to open, lift, pull aside or unbutton your top or dress to nurse, try wearing a fitted vest or tank top underneath to give you a better feeling of coverage.
Modern breastfeeding garments are cleverly designed to offer maximum skin coverage, allowing women to feed almost unnoticed in public. They’re also pretty fashionable too, so there’s no need to sacrifice your usual style!
5. Use a nursing cover
Breastfeeding covers are a great solution for women who worry about being exposed in any way. Nursing covers are also great for fussy feeders, as they block out noisy and over-stimulating environments.
Covers offer privacy for Mom whilst allowing the all-important eye-contact with baby, something that’s crucial for bonding in the early days.
Several different types of nursing cover are available, depending on your needs and preferences. Simple muslin squares or breastfeeding shawls do an adequate job but may slide off during a feed. It’s difficult to see beneath this type of cover, making it more difficult to adjust your baby’s latch, and many infants become upset by a cover coming into direct contact with their face during a feed.
The Baby on the Move cover has a special contoured, rigid neckline with an adjustable strap, holding the cover firmly in place during a feed. The strap holds the cover itself away from baby’s face, so he or she can feed without fussing. The cover itself is made from soft, breathable Peruvian Pima cotton, providing snuggly comfort and breathability for baby.
It’s available in a range of beautiful prints and doubles up as a safe, quiet and snug hideaway where your baby can snooze after a feed.
It will take time to build up your confidence with public nursing, but you’ll soon be breastfeeding on the move without a second thought! In the meantime, be kind to yourself, and keep trying! Breastfeeding is a fantastic way to safeguard the future health of your baby, and breastfeeding Moms deserve recognition and encouragement.
For discreet public nursing with both comfort and style, check out our Baby on the Move nursing covers. What’s your favourite print?