5 Tips for Breastfeeding in Public

Breastfeeding is widely known as the most healthful way to feed a baby.  Unfortunately, there are still many controversies about women breastfeeding in public.  First time moms can get very nervous about nursing in front of other people and often see it as a huge barrier.  Every mom has a right to feed her child in any public area.  New moms can follow these tips as a guide to successfully breastfeed in public:

  1. Practice: Before you go out in public for the first time with your baby, try practicing breastfeeding in front of a mirror to see what positioning works more comfortably for you.   You may try nursing in front of close family, friends, or other nursing moms at first to help feel more confident.
  2. Wear appropriate clothing: Functional fashion is key when breastfeeding.  Loose tops that can be easily pulled up and adjusted to hide your breast after latching your baby are basic and simple to work with.  Experiment with different nursing bras and tanks to find what is most comfortable for you.  Some moms decide to use a drape or blanket to cover their breast and baby while nursing in public areas, but this is totally based on comfort level and is not required to feed your baby.
  3. Find a quiet spot: A nice calm and quiet public spot can be difficult to find at times.  If you will be taking your baby to a public spot on a regular basis (like a store or park), it will be helpful to scope out a spot or two for you to rely on when your baby gets hungry.
  4. Nurse your baby when they are hungry: Babies become hungry at the most inconvenient times.  Feeding your baby when they first become hungry will be a lot easier to deal with than a baby who is fussy and crying.
  5. Keep calm: It can be nerve wracking the first few times you breastfeed in public.  A nursing mom and her baby are usually very calm, quiet, and unassuming.  If you act like nothing is going on, most people will not pay any attention.  Know that it is your right to feed your baby in any public space.  Stay confident and calm; you and your baby will do just fine!

By Kelly Martin, MCD, RD, CD, CLE

image credit: http://blogs.babycenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/No-Breastfeeding.jpg

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