Tips for Breastfeeding in Public
By Tamie-Ann Langevin
Practice nursing in front of a mirror. The view from across a room is not the same as when you look down on yourself. Once you see how very little is revealed when nursing your baby, you will feel more at ease.
Nurse in a carrier of your choice. Upright nursing in a sling, wrap, or mei tai is very convenient. Baby just needs to be lowered a bit to be at breast height.
If baby takes time latching on, try turning your back or leave the room while latching only. Older babies usually latch in a moment, but new moms and babies may need more time to get attached. Don’t stay away though. For the remainder of the nursing session, join the group.
Bring baby to the breast before you lift your shirt. Baby will shield your bare skin from prying eyes. Baby is the best cover up there is.
Practice nursing in different locations in your house…on the couch, in a kitchen chair, standing up, sitting on the floor. This way you are not conditioned to nurse in one place with all your “gear” and you’ll be more comfortable adapting when in unfamiliar locations.
Practice opening your nursing bra from the neck hole of your top with one hand as instead of reaching from the bottom of your top. It’s more subtle.
What to Wear:
• Invest in proper nursing bras and perhaps even nursing tops or tanks. The breastfeeding relationship may last for years. It helps to feel comfortable in your clothing during this time.
• Nursing bras should fit your breast size with milk supply, not necessarily pregnancy size and you should be able to open them easily with one hand.
• If you feel uncomfortable or chilly baring your midriff in public. Some nursing tanks can do double duty as a bra, and layered under your regular tops they provide coverage to your midriff when you pull up your shirt.
• Cheap knit tank tops can be slashed in the bust area and layered under your pre-baby tops to cover the midriff.
• Shop the sale section of Maternity shops. Short sleeved nursing tops can be worn with a cardigan in the fall/ winter.
• If you wore a belly band when you were pregnant to provide coverage to your belly when your maternity tops were getting short, use it again for nursing coverage. Pull it up to the bottom of your bra and you are covered when you pull up your top.
• For special events, consider a skirt and a nursing top dressed up with accessories, as opposed to a dress that makes it impossible to nurse easily. B
Tamie-Ann is a homeschooling yogi mama to five children. She breastfed her children for seven consecutive years.
Why breastfeed in Public? Teresa Pitman explains all HERE.
Reader tips for Breastfeeding in Public
I nurse from the bottom up and try to find a semi-secluded spot. Not for my comfort but it keeps the baby from being distracted and looking around every ten seconds! I also try to pretend like nothing is going on and most people never give me a second look and walk right by. They don’t even realize I’m nursing an.... almost 14 month old! Dana
”Keep your eyes on the prize” in other words keep focused on baby or on your conversation partner while nursing and don’t pay attention to whether anyone is looking, or take a minute to look around and notice that everyone else is so absorbed in what they’re doing that they probably don’t know you’re nursing anyway… People will be more disrupted by hunger cries than by the quiet nursing! Marci
In two years of nursing my twins, I only got a weird look once at a McDonald’s - there was an older gentleman watching me juggle them back and forth (we were near the end of a long road trip and the girls were fussy, popping on and off, I was trading them back and forth with my husband so I was a lot more exposed than normal but also didn’t really care cause I just didn’t want anymore fussing). To this day, I’m not sure if he was offended or impressed (I should have asked). I think that really is a big key to nursing in public - realizing that most other people really and truly don’t care/won’t notice. Rachel
I’m gonna borrow from Nike here - Just do it. The more I did it, the more comfortable I felt with it! It would probably help to start out somewhere you know no one will bother you about it if you are really apprehensive, like an LLL meeting or a business that openly supports breastfeeding mothers. Melinda
I always nursed from the bottom of my shirt...not the top. So long as the shirt was loose it drapes so you can’t see. I had baby covering in front for the two second pre latch if anything was exposed. Julie
Be confident. Don’t worry about anyone else. There’s nothing indecent, immodest, embarrassing, or anything you should be ashamed of, so nurse with confidence and pride. Jessica
I wear a tank under my shirt. Lift the shirt and pull the tank down and discreetly dinner is served. I don’t do nursing covers. Babies shouldn’t have to eat in the dark or in bathrooms. Monique
I noticed that as baby is getting latched my posture naturally twists a half turn away from people I was facing. Otherwise, I just went ahead and did it because I knew it was our right to do so. I’ve never ever had a negative experience through three babies. Oh yeah, I also ignore what’s going on around me. If someone ever gave me the stink eye, I sure didn’t notice. Alison
For me, it was just doing it a few times, and seeing that nobody else batted an eyelash. I was nervous at first, but it quickly became second nature to nurse my baby wherever and whenever she needed it. Amber