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5 Tips For Breastfeeding In Public

 

breastfeeding in public

Breastfeeding In Public

While it’s easy to say that mothers should be able to breastfeed anywhere, anytime, it can be a bit daunting breastfeeding in public spaces. Especially in the early days. So here are some tips that might help mums feel comfortable and confident breastfeeding in public.

Know Your Rights

You are under absolutely no obligation to move, cover up, or in way modify how or where you breastfeed if you don’t want to. Breastfeeding is a legally protected right. Anywhere you and your baby are able to be you are allowed to breastfeed. Any attempt to make you leave a public space or even cover up is discrimination and harassment.

Though take some comfort from the fact  the vast majority of people don’t bat an eyelid seeing a baby being fed. While there are some people who take issue, they’re a small – though occasionally quite vocal – minority.  Discrimination does happen and is completely unacceptable, it isn’t a common occurrence. On the other hand I’ve had countless people smile at me while breastfeeding, or offer words of encouragement.

What To Wear

After nearly eight years of breastfeeding I believe any top you can get your breasts out of is a nursing top. While nursing my wardrobe consisted of stretchy singlets, scoop neck t-shirts, button up shirts, and wrap style dresses and tops. Some women prefer to pull their top down, some prefer to pull up – some layer their tops so they can pull one up and one down- do whatever works best for you. There are also some really great nursing and maternity wear brands like Breastmates and Queen Bee to make it easier for you. Ultimately wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and is easiest for you to breastfeed.

Peer Support

The first few times breastfeeding out and about can be a little overwhelming. One thing that really helped put me at ease was being with other mothers. Mothers who were also breastfeeding. It really helped lift my confidence. Shockingly I hadn’t even seen another woman breastfeed until I had my own child! So seeing other women breastfeed helped make breastfeeding seem more normal. (Though it’s a bit sad that we live in a culture where seeing mothers breastfeeding in public isn’t necessarily normal.)

Babywearing For Breastfeeding On The Go

Be aware that breastfeeding and babywearing are two separate skills. You will probably want to get the hang of both of them individually before you try them together. BUT breastfeeding baby in a carrier makes feeding your baby when you’re out so much easier. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting the trolley half full of groceries and baby starts squawking for a feed. If you can breastfeed in a carrier you just need to pop out a boob and keep on shopping. No drama.

Do What Feels Right For You

While there’s absolutely nothing inappropriate or indiscreet about breastfeeding it’s normal to feel a little uncomfortable breastfeeding in front of other people. So I want to add that you don’t have to breastfeed more openly than you personally feel comfortable. Honestly it took me about a year of breastfeeding before I felt confident feeding my son wherever – whenever. Even with my second baby in the very beginning while I was getting used to breastfeeding her (because every baby is different) I felt a little uncomfortable having an audience and I preferred to feed her in a parents room or under a cover.

Bottom line: It’s completely up to you how you feed your baby.

About Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central Australia. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner.

She has a background in early childhood education, but right now is content to be a stay at home mum.

She is passionate about birthing rights, breastfeeding and mental health. She enjoys crafting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.

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23 comments

  1. Andi Dyson

    I remember the first time I fed in public. So nerve wracking. This is fantastic .

  2. Amy Ahearn

    We’re so lucky our right to do so is legally protected

    • Parenting Central

      Yep. I actually had the exact wording of the legislation saved into my phone when my first was a baby. Not that I thought I’d ever need it, but I had it anyway to reassure myself if I ever felt like I was doing the wrong thing.

      … The wrong thing being feeding my baby…

  3. Elle Ski

    That’s one thing I never thought I’d miss! 💕

  4. Bron Maxabella

    It really is daunting to start with. After a while I was breastfeeding wherever, whenever. I liked covering up with a muslin, but that’s personal preference.

  5. Tamsin Kate Simounds

    I found this such a struggle. Thank you!

  6. Lucy Dickens

    I was nervous the first time too, but it very very quickly became the norm for me and now I’ll breastfeed anywhere and everywhere I need to.

  7. Jacq Paraguya

    We’ve been breastfeeding for 2 years now and at first I was shy about it. As the months went by, I stopped caring what other people think. Bahahaha! I also used a cover when nursing but that’s just my personal preference. And I love parents rooms with breastfeeding nooks a lot lot lot. 😊

  8. Crystal Hardstaff

    Love the beanies. If I feel comfortable, then my baby needs to eat <3

  9. Fi Morrison

    I am still a bit daunted about breastfeeding in public, but do it a lot more readily than I did early on. I would be trying to use a nursing cover and getting flustered about it whereas now I just do it because my son needs to be fed!

  10. With new mommy, the first breastfeeding in the public is often terrified. However, when thinking about our children, it makes you not to be shy.

  11. Great Tips! Love this! I am currently breastfeeding little B and having already done this with O I am out and about. When I first started though I have to say I did use a fitting room if I needed to.

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