How to Nurse in Public

Imagine the situation when you are a new mom and you’re not quite confident yet on some aspects of life in a breastfeeding mode, and you’ve been invited to a restaurant. During the visit someone tells you that you shouldn’t breastfeed at the table and recommends going to a nice restroom of a four-star restaurant you’re dining at.

Whatever your thoughts or feelings are (from being shy to ironically questioning “Would You Eat in the Restroom?”), here’s what you need to know.

We still live in a society regarding breastfeeding as an “unnatural” practice, something that should be hidden away. In the US, society is particularly guilty of sexualizing breasts; there’s more breast showing on your grocery aisle newsstand than I’ve ever shown nursing in public.

Why then is seeing a mama nurse her baby in public a uncomfortable thing? 

Why is it weird to see breasts being used for their biological purpose?

I think society’s discomfort with nursing in public is a symptom of our greater problem – a lack of education about breastfeeding.  As a nursing mama, I do what I can to help those who are just beginning their nursing journey to be successful; as a part of that, I proudly nurse in public.  And guess what?  Unless you come over and stand right over me, you aren’t going to see a thing except kiddo’s head.  Crazy huh?

So for all you nursing mamas out there is this awesome guide.

10 Commandments for Nursing in Public from a Fellow Mom

  1. It’s your legally protected right to nurse your baby in public.
  2. If you are a beginner, try practicing nursing at home in front of a mirror.  You’ll be surprised by what you aren’t showing as you nurse.
  3. There’s nothing wrong with using a cover if it makes YOU feel more comfortable (a blanket can work too).
  4. Don’t feel obligated to use a cover for someone else’s comfort – YOU are the one nursing; do what works for YOU and your baby.  Some babies refuse to eat covered up.
  5. If you are uneasy about nursing in public, try nursing in a quiet location the first few times – a park, the corner of a bookstore, your car, etc – you may find it easier to get sorted out if you aren’t as worried about who is around.
  6. Practice makes it easier!
  7. If you are going out to eat and are uneasy about nursing at the table, ask for a booth or a corner table – do what makes you comfortable.
  8. A sling or baby carrier can make nursing in public even easier. I’ll try to add an article with a few tips for nursing in various carriers later. Stay tuned.
  9. As your baby gets older, you won’t have to “help” him as much.  If don’t feel you can coordinate nursing a newborn in public, give it a go again when baby is a bit older and you have the hang of nursing.
  10. Try nursing in the company of other mamas.  A La Leche League meeting or a nursing cafe make great places to give nursing in public a go – and to get tips and hints on breastfeeding in general.

Enjoy your dinner mamas!!

How to Nurse in Public With a Cover

Nursing in public with a cover can provide an extra layer of privacy and help you feel more comfortable while breastfeeding.

Here are some tips for nursing in public with a cover.

  • Choose the right cover. Select a nursing cover that you feel comfortable using. There are various options available, such as nursing scarves, shawls, or specialized covers with adjustable straps. Pick one that suits your style and preferences.
  • Practice at home. Before nursing in public, practice using the nursing cover at home to get comfortable with how it works and find the best way to position it for easy access and sufficient coverage.
  • Dress strategically. Wear clothing that allows easy access for nursing. Opt for tops that can be easily lifted or have discreet openings for breastfeeding. This can help make the process smoother and more convenient while using the nursing cover.
  • Find a comfortable spot. Look for a quiet and comfortable area where you feel at ease. This could be a corner of a coffee shop, a bench in a park, or any place that suits your needs. You may also want to consider using a cushion or nursing pillow for added comfort and support.
  • Position the cover properly. When nursing, position the cover to provide coverage over your chest and the baby’s head, while ensuring proper ventilation for your little one. This can help create a private space while allowing you to maintain eye contact and bond with your baby.
  • Be confident and relaxed. Confidence is key. Remind yourself that breastfeeding is a natural and beautiful act. Stay relaxed and focus on the connection with your baby, tuning out any potential distractions or judgmental glances.
  • Educate yourself about your rights. Familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations regarding breastfeeding in public in your area. Knowing your rights can boost your confidence and help you advocate for yourself if faced with any challenges or misunderstandings.

Remember, nursing in public is a normal and protected right for breastfeeding mothers. Using a cover is one option to enhance privacy, but it’s entirely up to you and what makes you feel most comfortable. Trust your instincts, listen to your baby’s needs, and enjoy the special bond that nursing provides, regardless of the setting.

How to Nurse in Public Without a Cover

Nursing in public without a cover can be a personal choice for breastfeeding mothers who feel comfortable doing so.

Here are some tips for nursing in public without a cover.

1. Dress for accessibility

Wear clothing that allows for easy and discreet access to the breast for nursing. Look for tops that have buttons, zippers, or stretchy necklines that can be easily pulled aside or lifted for breastfeeding.

2. Layering

Layering your clothing can provide additional coverage and help you feel more comfortable while nursing. Wearing a loose-fitting top or a nursing tank top underneath can allow you to nurse discreetly, with the outer layer providing coverage while the inner layer is pulled down for breastfeeding.

3. Use a nursing bra or camisole

Invest in a nursing bra or camisole that provides support and easy access for breastfeeding. These specially designed undergarments have clips or flaps that allow you to nurse discreetly without needing to remove your entire top.

4. Practice different nursing positions

Experiment with different nursing positions to find one that works best for you and your baby. Some positions, like the cradle hold or the side-lying position, offer more coverage and can help you feel more comfortable nursing in public.

5. Find a quiet and comfortable spot

Look for a quiet and comfortable area where you can sit and nurse your baby without feeling rushed or self-conscious. Seek out breastfeeding-friendly spaces, such as nursing rooms or designated areas in malls, airports, or community centers, if available.

6. Be confident and assert your rights

Remember that breastfeeding in public is a protected right in many places. Educate yourself about the laws and regulations in your area to feel more confident and comfortable nursing in public. If you encounter any challenges or negative reactions, know that you have the right to breastfeed and advocate for yourself and your baby.

Always trust your instincts and prioritize your and your baby’s comfort while nursing in public. Remember that breastfeeding is a natural act, and you have the right to nourish your baby wherever you feel comfortable doing so.

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