The best breastfeeding covers for new mammas

Two mothers breastfeeding their babies

by Sophie Knight |

When you are new to breastfeeding in public, it can be nerve-racking. You can always start at friendly places that will give you the comfort and the confidence you need to do it with peace, such as at your local café or a breastfeeding group. If you want to be more discreet while breastfeeding, you can use breastfeeding covers for more coverage and privacy.

Why buy a breastfeeding cover?

Most of the maternity tops in the market are breastfeeding-friendly, but if you want to keep using your old wardrobe, these covers will be an excellent addition to your daily life.

They're quite simple - they literally cover you and your baby while you breastfeed, acting as a shield to give you privacy if you so wish.

You might not know that there is more than one type of breastfeeding cover:

Shawl: the most common one is just a large piece of fabric that you can easily DIY with any muslin.

Poncho: this will cover not only your front but also your back becoming the right solution for colder days.

Scarf: as the name says, it can be worn around the neck when you’re not nursing.

Apron: it isn’t designed to be worn as regular clothing pieces as it looks like aprons that tie around your neck and drape over the baby.

Are breastfeeding covers safe to use?

Yes - specifically designed breastfeeding covers are safe for you and your baby to use; although, always make sure your baby has plenty of room to breathe, and that air can circulate underneath the cover.

You also want to make sure you are comfortable while feeding, and that you don't overheat either. Breastfeeding is hot business and wearing a cover can make you feel warm, so always make sure you are happy however you're feeding. Never feel any pressure to cover up - it is your choice and your decision on how and where to feed your baby.

If you would like to try a breastfeeding cover, here's our selection of favourites:

Mamascarf Breastfeeding Scarf

Best breastfeeding scarf
Mamascarf breastfeeding scarf

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Doubling up as as a trendy scarf, this breastfeeding cover is great for nursing and accessorising, so it's one less thing to pack in your changing bag! It has a hidden pocket inside to store your breast pad too, which is super handy.

Pros: You can maintain eye contact with your baby throughout the feed
Cons: Some mums thought the material was too thin

Review: I bought the feeding scarf after watching the video tutorial. It really is easy to use whilst feeding out and about. The scarf made me feel confident to breastfeed in public. The material is good quality - baby doesn't get too hot underneath it - that was my concern with other breastfeeding scarves. I would highly recommend the mama designs scarves.

Marl Grey Stripe Infinity Feeding Scarf

Best lightweight breastfeeding cover
Marl Grey Stripe Infinity Feeding Scarf

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There's no awkward tying involved with this infinity-style breastfeeding cover. Just pop it over your head and shoulders, and you're good to go. The fabric has an all-over stripe print and is super soft, which will feel great against your and baby's skin.

Pros: Lightweight fabric
Cons: Cannot be dry cleaned or tumble dried

BebeChic Breastfeeding Cover

Best cotton breastfeeding cover
BebeChic Breastfeeding Cover
Amazon

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Made in the UK, this breastfeeding cover gives more coverage than many other brands. It's made from 100 per cent cotton fabric, resulting in a lighter, looser, and more comfortable cover. We love the polka dot design; it has a boned neckline, allowing you to keep eye contact with your baby while they feed.

Pros: Good length at 18 inches
Cons: Neck strap isn't adjustable

Review: "This came in handy while breastfeeding out and about. I wasn't embarrassed about feeding, but whipping your chest out in a waiting room or on the street when you have to lift up your entire top, wasn't something I cared for - cold too! I was more embarrassed about my post-baby tummy than my boobs. This has great coverage, a nice design, and a handy wire that allows you to look down at your baby, and stops them getting a face full of apron. Highly recommended."

Breastfeeding Cover with Adjustable Strap

Best breastfeeding cover with adjustable strap
Breastfeeding Cover with Adjustable Strap
Amazon

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This cover is made with 100 per cent premium cotton. The rigid neckline means you can have eye contact with your baby at all times while feeding, and the strap is adjustable so it's easy to find a position that's comfortable. There's also a handy little front pocket - ideal for a lip balm, or your essential purple tube.

Pros: Cotton will keep you and your baby cool
Cons: Some reviews have mentioned that the strap doesn't tighten enough

Review: "Absolutely delighted with this product. Been using blankets and/or muslin cloths but my LO just used to cry because he couldn't see me. I'm also large chested so hated that I couldn't see my LO properly before to make sure he could breathe easily enough. This new cover has sorted all of that for me! It's lovely and lightweight and I can see my LO the whole time - great cover for a great price, very happy!"

Breastfeeding Cover up, Nursing Cover and Scarf Apron

Best breastfeeding apron
Breastfeeding Cover up, Nursing Cover and Scarf Apron
Amazon

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A one-size-fits-all apron, easy to roll up and carry with you wherever you go. It features two pockets, to pop in your phone and other stuff, and the strap is adjustable. It's machine washable, and comes with a little bag to store it nicely away too.

Pros: Can be used as a buggy sunshade or blanket too
Cons: Some customers felt this cover-up drew more attention to them breastfeeding compared to without it

Review: "Since purchasing the nursing cover I have been using this a lot for over 6 months without any issues. The style of the cover gives me great privacy and it is easy to put on/remove especially when holding my little one. Can adapt the neck strap easily and be able to see inside the cover. Material is great as it's not too thin or thick. Pockets are very handy for putting things in. I've washed this a lot and it still looks/feels great!"

Seraphine Grey Breastfeeding Cover

Best fashionable breastfeeding cover
Seraphine Grey Breastfeeding Cover

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Seraphine’s essential breastfeeding cover is the perfect way to keep you and your little one covered while you feed. It's stylish as well as practical, and the fabric is hypoallergenic with antibacterial properties. It's made from an eco-friendly Bamboo wool blend, with poppers at the shoulder - we love the way you can wear this as a shawl or scarf with no one knowing it's a breastfeeding cover.

Pros: Both fashionable and functional
Cons: Wool blend could make baby hot while feeding

Red Stars Cover Me Multi-Use Cover

Mother&Baby award-winning breastfeeding cover
Red Stars Cover Me Multi-Use Cover

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This multi-use cover was the Silver award winner in the 2020 M&B Awards Best Travel Product Under £30. It can be used as a breastfeeding poncho, a blanket for your baby, or a sunshade - a handy product if you're travelling

Pros: Can be used for multiple uses besides a breastfeeding cover
Cons: Not suitable for tumble drying

Tested by mum Ellen for the 2020 M&B Awards; she said: "This product allowed me to breastfeed my daughter discreetly with ease. I see myself as a confident breastfeeder, however, I do find at times, usually when I'm wearing a top that requires me to completely expose my breast to feed my daughter, that I still feel uncomfortable nursing. Cover Me provided me with the privacy I required to feed my daughter."

Read our full review of the Cover Me Multi-Use Cover here.

Breastfeeding covers FAQs

How often should a mum breastfeed her baby?

If you're new to parenting and breastfeeding, you may be wondering how often you should breastfeed your baby. Of course, every baby is different so you can feed them as often as they want and for as long as they want. The NHS states it's fine to feed your baby whenever they are hungry, when your breasts feel full or if you just want to have a cuddle. The good news is that it's not possible to overfeed your baby.

In the first few days, you may find your baby wants to feed every hour for the first few days. However, this will reduce over time. According to research by nutritionjewel.com, babies who are one-week old need to be breastfed at least eight-12 times a day. 6–12-month-old babies will only need between three-four times a day. Up to the first six weeks can be the toughest for a mum, but it should start to settle down around the three-month mark as your baby becomes a more efficient feeder.

Is it illegal to ask a breastfeeding mother to cover up?

Keep in mind that if you are choosing to breastfeed, it's against UK law to discriminate against breastfeeding. You have the right to do it wherever and whenever your baby needs it.

You should not ever be made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public. It is illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place, such as a café, shop, or public transport, just for feeding her baby.

If you would like additional advice on this, the NHS has more information.

Before going out and about, you can research suitable areas that will provide a happy and cosy environment.

One of our favourite pieces of advice from the NHS website is this: "Avoid the loos. Do not feel that you should sit in a public toilet to breastfeed. You would not eat in there, so do not feel that your baby should be fed there." Quite right!

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