So, you’ve got to grips with breastfeeding, and now you’re faced with the task of breastfeeding in public. With a little practice – and a few well placed cover-ups – you’ll soon be able to feed anywhere with confidence
While breastfeeding in public comes very comfortably to some mums, it can be a source of anxiety for others. You worry about people looking or saying something, but then also your baby getting the feed he needs when you’re out and about.
The main thing to remember is that you have the right to breastfeed anywhere you like, and there are ways to banish the nerves and move forward. It’s just about taking one step at a time.
Location, location, location
You have the right to breastfeed anywhere you like – but planning where you will feed once baby gets hungry is a good idea when you’re starting out.
Choose somewhere you will feel relaxed – for example, a local NCT meeting, a friendly cafe or a local park. You’re less likely to feel self conscious if you have someone to chat to, so take a friend, your mum or your partner along with you.
Perfect breastfeeding outfits
There are lots of breastfeeding tops and nursing bras available and what you choose is really a matter of personal taste. Some mums prefer to wear loose tops that can be lifted up while others like to keep their tummy covered up and wear two stretchy tops – one which can be lifted up and the other pulled down.
You may find you can wear your usual maternity tops, and simply fit baby underneath, close to your skin.
Practice at home
What you see when you look down at yourself breastfeeding is very different to what someone sat opposite you sees.
To get a better idea, try nursing at home in front of a mirror. Dress in the clothes you plan to wear when you’re out and about and you can practise how to discretely cover up, especially while your baby is latching on.
If your baby tends to ‘pop off’ the nipple frequently, try leaning back slightly. This makes your baby slope towards you slightly, so if he pops off, his head still blocks the view. It also gives him the advantage of gravity, so he’s less likely to come off and need re-attaching.
Slings and cover-ups
Some mums like to breastfeed while their baby is a sling. With this, you have the advantage of being able to pull the sling higher up baby’s head to provide more cover, while still giving you a good view of baby. Some mums simply lay a muslin cloth (great for mopping up any accidents), on their chest while breastfeeding.
Know your rights
The Equality Act 2010 has made it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place, such as a restaurant, shop or public transport. While it’s natural to feel a little self conscious at first, remember you have the right to feed your baby anywhere you like.
Trust us, anyone who gets bothered really isn’t worth thinking twice about.