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10 Tips for Breastfeeding in Public


Part of the convenience of being a nursing mom is not having to wash a gazillion bottles. Part of the inconvenience is getting used to the idea of nursing your baby in front of strangers.

We’ve got some tips to help you and your baby comfortably go public.

1. Practice at Home

a mom breastfeeding her baby

Being confident is one of the biggest problems to tackle when you’re going to nurse in public the first time. Use the privacy of your own home to work out the logistics of how you and baby are going to be the most comfortable nursing in front of others. Don’t excuse yourself when guests are over--nurse where you are and make sure your system will work outside of the home.

2. Buy a Good Nursing Bra

a mom looking at nursing bra's at the shop

Whether you choose to wear a tank, sports bra, or regular style nursing bra, make sure it's easy to clip and unclip with one hand before wearing it out in public. Knowing how to quickly snap your bra back into place with one hand will help you feel more secure and will make the entire process much less stressful.

3. Try a Udder Cover

a mom wearing an udder cover

If you’re not entirely confident or comfortable with the possibility of an accidental “nip slip,” you might want to invest in a Udder Cover. Unlike using a blanket to cover up, these hiders are secured around your neck to prevent your baby from pulling the blanket off or throwing it on the floor mid-nursing session.

Good news, you can pick up a free one here (ex shipping).

4. Get a Nursing-Friendly Carrier

a packed backpack

A carrier like the Ergo, which allows your baby to face you, is a great choice for nursing on the go. This option won’t work until baby is old enough to hold his or her own head up, but once that milestone has been reached, being able to walk and nurse privately at the same time makes getting things done much easier. Check it out on Amazon.

5. Wear Layers

a mom wearing layers while breastfeeding

If you’re worried about flashing too much skin, having multiple layers of clothing on will make the job easier. Wearing a stretchy tank top you can pull under your breast will cover your belly, while a t-shirt you pull up will cover the top of your breast. Other great choices are cardigans or button-down shirts to keep other parts of you covered and comfortable while nursing.

6. Find a Comfortable Place

a empty park

A bench or a patch of grass under a shady tree make great places to nurse. Having a nice spot to sit and be comfortable will make most people think you’re just relaxing with your baby without noticing that you’re really nursing.

7. Watch your Baby’s Cues

a baby leaning out of his stroller

Don’t wait until your baby is melting down and you’re starting to panic before you settle down to nurse. A happy but hungry baby will latch on quickly and get down to business. A fussy and upset baby will be more likely to cry and refuse the breast for a minute or two—leaving you exposed with people staring just when you want some privacy.

8. Practice a Response to Negative Comments

a man looking shocked

Thankfully it’s incredibly rare that anyone calls out a mom for feeding her baby, but sometimes it does happen. Don’t go out expecting a confrontation that won’t happen, but do be prepared. You’re not doing anything wrong, so being ready to say something firm but polite like, “My baby is hungry so I’m feeding her. Please let her eat,” will politely get your point across.

9. Prepare for Looky-Loos

a grandma smiling

There are many more stories from nursing moms about people trying to engage in conversation and peek at the baby  while they’re nursing than there are of moms getting dirty looks from passersby. Well-meaning people will mistake your quiet snuggling for a chance to sneak a peek at your little bundle of joy; taking a moment to say, “Sorry, he’s eating right now, not sleeping,” should be enough to get the point across without embarrassing your admirer.

10. Know Your Rights

two old books and an old hammer sitting on a desk

Forty-five states have laws that specifically protect a mother’s right to nurse her child in any public or private location. Knowing that the law supports your freedom to feed your child when and wherever you need to is a major confidence booster.

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