breastfeeding in public

Tips for breastfeeding in public

While breastfeeding is a maternal instinct, nursing in public takes some getting used to—and many mothers will never get comfortable with it. Showing your breast in public is not a prerequisite to nursing. While we believe women should nurse wherever they damn want to, it’s possible to feed your baby without flashing total strangers (or your father-in-law) if that’s not what you’re into. Here are a few tips and tricks for managing breastfeeding while out and about:

Embrace the nursing cover.

While your baby is small and you’re still getting the hang of latching, give yourself a little extra coverage with a nursing cover. It’s certainly not required for nursing in public, but a cover can help you feel less exposed, also calming your nerves so your milk can easily flow. We love the Four-in-One Covered Goods Nursing Scarf.

Wear two layers on top.

The “double-shirt trick” allows moms to nurse with barely a sliver of skin showing. Layer a shirt or sweater over a nursing tank (or stretchy scoop-neck tank). When it’s time to nurse, pull the shirt or sweater up and the tank down, unhook your bra if you’re wearing one, pop baby on your breast—and no one can see a thing. If two layers feel like too much, especially in warmer weather, try wearing high-waisted leggings to keep your stomach and back covered when you lift your top. Voilà, coverage above and below!

Scope out semi-private nursing spots.

Public doesn’t have to be so… public. Whether you’re running errands, visiting museums or waiting for a flight at the airport, there are plenty of spaces to go to grab a little privacy. Fitting rooms, lounge areas or an empty gate area can provide some peace and quiet away from direct sight.

Tote your baby in a carrier.

Granted, this tip can take some practice and maneuvering. It’s often best to wait until babies are out of the newborn stage so they have a bit more head control. But many moms find that nursing in a carrier is a convenient way to get some coverage. Simply loosen the straps, move your baby into position, then tighten the straps back up. Just keep a close eye on baby and a hand on the carrier to be safe.

Try not to worry about eye rolls or curious stares.

Most people won’t even notice you’re breastfeeding (they’re all too concerned with their own stuff), and if they do notice, most won’t mind. After all, no one wants to listen to a hangry, crying baby anyway. Just remember that you’re within your rights and focus on the important job you’re doing—feeding your baby.

And when in doubt? Pump and carry milk with you. The team here at Ashland Health can hook you up (no pun intended) with a breast pump so you’re prepped for those on-the-go feedings. Contact us for more information.