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 your local cafe or a breastfeeding group.
Keep in mind that if you are choosing to breastfeed, you have the right to do it wherever and whenever your baby needs it. Most importantly, it’s against the law to discriminate against breastfeeding in the UK - click here to read more advice on this from the NHS.
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!
If you want to be more discreet while breastfeeding, you can use a breastfeeding cover if you want 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:
Nursing shawl: the most common one is just a large piece of fabric that you can easily DIY it with any muslin.
Nursing poncho: this will cover not only your front but also your back becoming the right solution for colder days.
Nursing scarf: as the name says, it can be worn around the neck when you’re not nursing.
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:
BebeChic.UK Breastfeeding Cover
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.
One downside is that the neck strap isn't adjustable, but it is a good length at 18 inches.
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
This cover is made with 100% 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.
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!"
Milkscarf by MamaMoosh Breastfeeding Cover Scarf
This breastfeeding scarf is quick to put on and take off - essential when you're getting ready to feed a hungry baby. You could also wear it as a regular scarf. The neckline is semi-rigid, allowing you to keep eye contact with baby. It's recommended to hand wash this.
Review: "I bought this after seeing a friend use it and I could see how useful it would be. I first fed my baby in public when he was two weeks old at Center Parcs and it was really useful because I didn't have to hide away. I used it on a badminton court and in a restaurant. It takes a minute or two to get organised, but is far better than anything else I've seen. The material is really soft and the colour is subtle and goes with everything."
Breastfeeding Cover up, Nursing Cover and Scarf Apron
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.
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
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.
Red Stars Cover Me Multi-Use Cover
This multi-use cover was the Silver award winner in the 2020 Mu0026B 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.
Tested by mum Ellen for the 2020 Mu0026B 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."
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