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Breastfeeding in public has become very controversial here in the U.S. Because of this, many mothers have been shamed and embarrassed for publically breastfeeding their baby.
But if you are going to leave the house with your baby, you are likely going to have to breastfeed in public unless you have a bottle of pumped breastmilk or formula.
And although some moms are perfectly comfortable right away with breastfeeding in public, there are many moms who are still uncomfortable and nervous about people shaming them for doing what nature intended.
When my son was born, I was one of those moms who was scared that someone would look at me with disgust or tell me to go to the bathroom or somewhere else to feed my baby. If that sounds like you here are some tips that helped me become more confident while breastfeeding in public:
1. PRACTICE AT HOME
“Practice makes perfect!”
My first tip is to practice breastfeeding your baby at home as if you are in public.
One of my biggest fears of breastfeeding my baby away from home was that a ton of my skin (breast and post-baby belly) would be showing. So every time I would practice breastfeeding at home, I would ask my husband if anything was showing, and most of the time he could only see our son’s head.
Your baby’s head will usually cover most of your breast while breastfeeding. (Thank goodness for big baby heads Haha)
Another option is to practice breastfeeding with a mirror close by so you can see for yourself if any unwanted parts are showing.
2. CHOOSE EASY ACCESS CLOTHING
Next on the list is easy to access clothing.
When your baby is hungry and screaming, you will want to feed that kid FAST! And having clothes with easy access to your breasts makes public breastfeeding so much easier.
You can find many different shirts and bras that are specifically designed to be pulled down or unclipped for when you are out of the house. And while I have tried many different types, the nursing cami is still my absolute favorite.
I also love nursing camis because they provide much more coverage than many nursing shirts and bras do.
For example, I will usually wear a nursing cami with a T-shirt on top. This way I can lift up my shirt on top and unclip your nursing cami to breastfeed quickly and easily. And with this method, you have the top half of your body and most of your breast covered with the shirt and the bottom half of your body (like your post-baby tummy) covered with your nursing cami.
No more having to worry about showing too much skin.
With this method, I have never had any problems. In fact, I have had many instances when people have come up to me and not even realized that I was actually nursing my baby. Since your baby would most likely be cradled by you while breastfeeding, many people might believe your baby is simply sleeping.
3. CHOOSE A GOOD SPOT
I cannot stress this enough. Choosing a good, comfortable spot with fewer people around can help you feel much less nervous while breastfeeding in public. For example, if you are out at a restaurant, try getting a booth facing away from huge crowds of people that way you have fewer eyes to even think about.
Or, if you are out at a shopping mall, try to find a comfortable bench or dressing room to sit down and breastfeed. (There are also some baby stores that now have rooms provided for nursing with comfortable chairs and privacy) As long as you and your baby are comfortable and have enough room to breastfeed, it is the perfect spot for you.
4. CONSIDER USING A NURSING COVER
If you are still very uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, consider using a nursing cover when you are out of the house. I know many moms swear by them and are able to breastfeed without the worry of anything being seen. There are also so many different nursing covers to choose from that have multiple features such as the one I have.
My favorite nursing cover is the Covered Goods 3in1 Nursing Cover because it is designed much like a poncho that goes around your entire body. This feature helps when you have a wiggly baby that pushes covers off.
Another option is to use a baby blanket when nursing. I love using the muslin baby blankets since they are fairly large and very thin and breathable for baby.
However, since my baby will kick and pull nursing covers off now I don’t use them very often anymore. Many babies often do not like anything covering their face while breastfeeding.
Related: My Top 9 Breastfeeding Essentials
5. FOCUS ON YOUR BABY
A lot of times when I became nervous about breastfeeding in public, I would just look down at my son and watch him as he was nursing. And suddenly I would forget that there was anyone else around us. Because seeing how happy and healthy he was from me feeding him made me remember why I decided breastfed him in the first place.
For me, I learned that other people’s opinions did not matter at all. My son was hungry and I needed to feed him which is all that I cared about.
6. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BREASTFEED
Despite what anyone may say to you. You are legally allowed to publically breastfeed your baby anywhere that both of you are allowed to be.
“Federal law states that a woman may breastfeed her child anywhere that the woman and child are allowed to be present.”
Not only do you have the right to breastfeed your child in public, but also doing it is spreading breastfeeding awareness to others. Moms were made specifically to nourish their babies through breastfeeding. It is also currently recommended to breastfeed your baby for the first 6 months of life and then to continue breastfeeding along with complementary solids for up to 24 months by the WHO or World Health Organization.
Or basically, as long as you and your baby are comfortable with breastfeeding.