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Nursing in public was once one of my BIGGEST fears about breastfeeding. There are all sorts of stories about women getting dirty looks, lectures from strangers, or even having an accidental slip of the cover! As if I really needed more pressure as a first time mom right? But I did what any overwhelmed mama would do and pushed those fears aside, figuring I’d cross the bridge when I got there.
That bridge appeared one afternoon two weeks into my postpartum adventure. My husband, my mother in law, and I took the baby to a store on base to browse around (really I was just getting cabin fever from being stuck at the house). Things we’re going smoothly as we wandered the store then the inevitable happened… the baby got hungry. In a panic I debated going to the bathroom (gross) or the dressing room (awkward) to feed the baby. Instead I settled on the car.
So I rushed my increasingly demanding newborn out to the car, hopped into the cramped front seat, and began fumbling between unsnapping my bra and covering myself from passerbys. You can imagine how this went; screaming baby struggling to latch, cover slipping down, and me, an emotional new mom with engorged boobs crying in a parking lot.
After that I was determined to find ways to make this a more comfortable experience for both me and my baby. After following the tips I’ve listed below I became a pro at nursing in public. I learned to do it like a professional without a second thought.
1. Find a reliable cover. Some women find that they don’t enjoy using a cover and I applaud that! But for those of us who don’t feel comfortable enough to breastfeed uncovered in public, a good cover can make a world of difference! A blanket can work just fine but if you want a little more support then I suggest the Udder Cover. This little lifesaver loops around your neck almost like an apron. It helps to prevent any nip slips for the public eye and has a plastic insert that allows you to look down at your baby! Tip: use promotional code 767593 at www.uddercovers.com to receive $35 off of your order!
2. Practice in the mirror. I’m not kidding. Do it! If you’re feeling vulnerable while nursing in public then feed your baby at home in front of a mirror using your cover. Doing this will help you practice maneuvering the baby while staying discretely covered and comfortably! This was by far the best advice I ever got while nursing!
3. Ignore the haters. If you’re worried about judgment while breastfeeding in public just remember you can’t please everyone. There will always be people who question or criticize your parenting style. Don’t let them make you or your baby feel unwelcome or unsafe. If the looks bother you then I suggest reading a book or playing a game on your phone. It will distract you until the baby has a full belly!
4. Ask about accommodations! With breastfeeding becoming more and more popular, businesses have become more accommodating. For example, the mall in our town just added in a private room with a couch, rocking chair, and changing table. It looks like a nursery and is comfortable and CLEAN! If something like that isn’t available to you then I suggest asking an employee where a discrete area like a shaded bench can be found. If you’re at a restaurant I suggest asking for a booth! All of these options sure beat the bathroom!
Breastfeeding in public doesn’t have to cause you anxiety. There is no shame in what you are doing and there are even laws in place to protect nursing mamas! Whether you choose to cover up or nurse in the open, or whether you choose to use a private room or nurse in the middle of a crowd of people, do what’s best for YOU!
Have you nursed in public yet? What are some tricks you used to help you feel safe and comfortable?
Want to see more?
Check out more of my Breastfeeding Diaries HERE and keep an eye out for more in the following weeks!
Want EVEN MORE? Check out my dear friend at My Petite Picassos. It’s a great way to get some different perspectives and advice! (She just released an article on Feeding Tips for the Working Mom and the Stay at Home Mom)