6 Tips for Breastfeeding in Public
It’s lunchtime! For your baby, at least, and you’re all for nursing with pride. You cheered on Tess Holliday breastfeeding at the Women’s March, and your Insta feed features your very own #treeoflife brelfie. But you’re less comfortable uncovering your favorite nursing bra in the middle of the mall when a random group of dudes is leering from across the food court trying to catch a nip slip. Don’t stress! You can continue nursing, even in public, without worrying that you’re about to become the floor show. Check out this advice for breastfeeding baby on the go.
1. Practice makes perfect. Do a dress rehearsal before your first public breastfeeding session. You’ve mastered nursing at home (well, kind of), but that’s totally in private. Juggling your baby and a cover-up (or re-positioning your clothing) while trying not to knock over your iced tea as you nurse at the local cafe takes effort. A dry run at home can ease your mind and prepare you for the real deal.
2. Dress the part. Nursing at home? Go ahead and take your whole top off. When you’re nursing in public, though, completely undressing is rarely an option, which means you need to choose your outfit wisely. That fitted turtleneck sweater might look fab, but it won’t do you any favors when it comes to breastfeeding. Choose a top that’s comfortable and easy to maneuver and comes undone in just the right places. A cute cardigan or button-down will make nursing easier by giving you the option to open up from the bottom. Avoid most dresses — they won’t allow the access you need for no-fuss public nursing.
3. Make it quiet time. Nursing doesn’t just nourish your baby: It’s a time to bond too. Sitting in the middle of a busy mall doesn’t leave much room to focus on your baby. Noises, sounds and smells may also distract your little one, making it a challenge for them to eat. Whenever possible, pick a quiet place. That might mean hanging under a shady tree at the park or making the most of a tricky situation by sitting on the outskirts of a bustling food court.
4. Sling it. Not only does a baby sling make it easier to carry your newborn around, but it also helps you to nurse them! The sling provides support while leaving your hands practically free, and it acts as an impromptu cover-up.
5. Stand up — with backup. You have the right to breastfeed in public almost anywhere in the US, including 49 states, DC and the Virgin Islands. If an onlooker — even an employee, manager or business owner — tells you to stop, cover up or move, know that you don’t have to put up with their harassment. Most anywhere you go in America, there are laws that protect your ability to feed your baby anywhere you need to. (Sorry, Idaho mamas: They’ve yet to pass a specific rule on the issue.)
6. Find focus. A group staring at you might not stop you from breastfeeding, but it’ll probably distract you. Instead of focusing on them, turn toward your baby. Look them in the eyes or just concentrate on the bond that’s building between the two of you. They’re the only person in the room who needs to matter to you right now.
What’s your favorite nursing outfit? Tweet us your pick (and maybe a pic!) @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)