Guest author: Heather McMaster
Breastfeeding in public has become very controversial in the U.S. Because of this, many mothers have been shamed and embarrassed for publicly breastfeeding their baby.
If you are going to leave the house with your baby, you are likely going to have to breastfeed in public. Although some moms are comfortable right away with breastfeeding in public, there are many moms who are still uncomfortable and nervous about people shaming them. 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. If that sounds like you, here are some tips that helped me become more confident while breastfeeding in public:
1. Practice at Home
Practice breastfeeding your baby at home the way you would in public. One of my biggest fears was that a ton of my skin would be showing. So every time I practiced at home, I would ask my husband if he could see any skin, and most of the time he could only see our son’s head. A baby’s head will usually cover most of your breast while breastfeeding. (Thank goodness for big baby heads!)
2. Choose Easy-Access Clothing
You want clothes that have easy access to your breasts. Clothing that is specifically designed to unclip is wonderful for when you are out of the house. There are so many types designed for breastfeeding, but my favorite is the nursing cami.
I love my nursing camis for this exact reason. I will usually wear a nursing cami with a T-shirt on top. This way you can lift the shirt on top and unclip your nursing cami to breastfeed. With this method, you have your top half covered with the shirt and the bottom half covered with your nursing cami. No worrying about showing too much skin.
3. Choose a Good Spot
Choosing a good spot with fewer people around can help you feel less nervous. For example, if you are out at a restaurant, try getting a booth facing away from crowds of people. Or, if you are out shopping, find a comfortable bench or dressing room. As long as you are comfortable and have enough room to breastfeed, it is the perfect spot for you.
4. Consider Using a Nursing Cover
If you are very uncomfortable, consider using a nursing cover. I know many moms swear by them and are able to breastfeed without the worry of their breasts being seen. There are so many different nursing covers available today.
My favorite nursing cover is the Covered Goods 3-in-1 Nursing Cover.
You can also use a baby blanket. However, many babies will kick and pull nursing covers off. Babies often do not like anything covering their face while breastfeeding.
5. Focus on Your Baby
A lot of times I would just look down at my son and watch him as he was breastfeeding. And because of this, I would forget that there was anyone else around us. Seeing how happy and healthy he was from me feeding him made me remember why I breastfed him.
6. You Have the Right to Breastfeed
Federal law states that a woman may breastfeed her child anywhere that the woman and child are allowed to be.
Not only do you have the right to breastfeed your child in public, but also it is spreading breastfeeding awareness to others. Moms were made specifically to nourish their babies through breastfeeding. It is also currently recommended to breastfeed for the first six months and then to continue along with complimentary solids for up to 24 months.
I hope these tips will help you become more successful at breastfeeding in public.
Heather McMaster is a stay at home mother of two and the creator of Very Anxious Mommy.