One of the major advantages of breastfeeding is that you’ve pretty much always got everything you need to breastfeed your little one, whenever and wherever you want! Breastfeed at home, in the park, at a café – whatever is best for you.
You might feel a little nervous to begin breastfeeding in public places, as many mums do. Try to remember it’s the most natural thing in the world and you absolutely shouldn’t feel uneasy or worried about it, but we do understand that it might not feel totally natural to whip your boob out while you’re out of the house.
Like anything with parenting, it takes getting used to and practice. You might find that your baby struggles to latch on more when you’re outside, or you might struggle to find a place where you feel comfortable breastfeeding. Where here to ease some of those worries and get you fully prepped to breastfeed when you’re on the go. Soon, you won’t be giving public breastfeeding a second thought!
Don’t back down
One of the most important things to remember is to know your rights. You have every right to breastfeed in public places, including cafes, shops and public transport. It’s actually illegal to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public area, and for good reason! At the end of the day, you are feeding your child – you’re not doing anything wrong and should never be made to feel as though you are.
Many women have fears that they will be met with confrontation when they breastfeed in public, but you might find that this is not your experience at all. However, there are some numpties out there, so if someone does ask you to stop or complains, you can always remind them of your rights and assure them you are doing nothing wrong.
Think about your outfit choice
This is totally down to you, but it might be worth thinking about what you plan to wear when you breastfeed in public. Certain outfits might make breastfeeding in public a bit more complicated, so it’s good to think about the logistics of the outfit a little. If you’re out an about in a high-neck, maxi-dress, you might struggle.
Things like nursing bras and tops are perfect for making public breastfeeding a breeze – they normally have a little slit or opening around the nipple region so you can comfortably get to what you need without having to strip or lift your top. You don’t have to buy new clothes to breastfeed in public, though. A baggy jumper or t-shirt works great to allow access to your boobs, or you could always get something that you can easily pull down like a low-cut top or a vest.
Some mums also find muslin nursing covers or blankets preferable. This allows you to basically wear whatever you want but still cover up.
What you wear is your decision, whatever you’re comfortable with will work fine.
Breast pads, breast pads, breast pads
When you’re breastfeeding, breast pads will become your very best friend. Even when you’re not breastfeeding in public, you’ll probably want to collect a few packs of breast pads to handle any leakages in between feeds. Just pop them in your bra and let them do the work.
But when you’re out and about, you’ll want to make sure you have some spare pads to avoid those leaky moments. When you’re feeding, you can simply roll them down in your bra or stock them in the other side while you’re little one is going, and then pop them back for guaranteed protection against leaks. Sorted!
But if you forget and you do leak, wear those wet patches with pride. All mums have been there, it's no big deal.
Think about taking a buddy
If you’re new to breastfeeding in public, it might make you feel better to your partner or a friend - anyone comforting really. Hopefully this will ease your mind and make you feel more relaxed. If you have a friend who has experience breastfeeding in public, they could also take you to some known breastfeeding-friendly places to ease you into to it.
Consider where you’d prefer to breastfeed
Although you can breastfeed wherever you like, you might prefer to breastfeed in spaces that are well equipped or make you more comfortable. Some shopping centers or doctors’ offices etc. might have specific breastfeeding rooms that are well equipped with comfy sofas and changing facilities and are nice and private.
You might want to breastfeed in the park, on a bench or picnic table. Sometimes your baby just can’t wait, but if you’ve mapped out the best places before you head out, then at least you know what options you have nearby.