Breastfeeding in public is scary. You can read about my experience here. It shouldn’t be, but it is because its still so frowned upon in some countries! Today is the last day of World Breastfeeding Week, so I thought I’d write about how to breastfeed in public. I’ve had to do it a few times when we were travelling as we couldn’t find a private room. I wish I was more confident about it!
1. Wear breastfeeding-friendly clothes
There are some great clothes you can purchase to make breastfeeding easier. It is especially handy if it’s in the middle of winter and you don’t want to remove alot of clothing. You can also wear a baggy top over a singlet if you don’t want to buy new clothes.
Here are some of my favourite pieces that I’ve purchased during my breastfeeding career: (I absolutely love ASOS, if you wait for sales, you can get their products at a really good price. Online shopping with free returns is an absolute luxury for a time-poor mother)
From Left to Right:
All of these have a top layer that can be lifted exposing a singlet underneath so that you can breastfeed in discrete with minimal skin exposed.
2. Forget breastfeeding wraps (they are expensive) use muslin wraps instead!
With a muslin wrap, you can tie a knot using the top two corners and then place it over your head, this will do the exact same job as a breastfeeding wrap. The above photo is of me breastfeeding using a muslin wrap at the airport.
3. Wear a maternity/nursing bra
You will most likely need to buy a new bra anyway as most woman usually go up a size (or a few) during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Underwire bras are not recommended in pregnancy because they don’t accommodate for a growing diaphragm. It is also not recommended during breastfeeding as your milk supply changes daily and it can get quite uncomfortable. Maternity/Nursings bras are soft and have more hooks to allow for growth. There’s also a clip to undo the cup of the bra for easy breastfeeding.
4. When people stare, just give them a smile
I find that usually when I look back at those staring at me, they tend to look away. Only on a few occasions, they didn’t, which took me by surprise. I just simply smile back, thinking “I’m breastfeeding my baby, do you have a problem?” But by staying positive and smiling gives off a “I own this” vibe!
5. Look at your baby to remind yourself why you are doing this
Remember why you are doing this! To feed your baby of course. I look down and see how settle she is and I forget the stares. Seeing my baby thrive is all that matters.
6. When things get awkward, pull out a book or your phone
I love this as it will distract me, and I won’t notice anyone watching!
7. Surround yourself with other mothers or families with kids
Being around other mothers gives me a sense of security. Mothers don’t judge. One time, I got a thumbs up from another mother and it made my day!
8. Covering up
If people know that you are making an effort to cover up then they will be more accepting.
9. Talk to someone whilst you are breastfeeding
I often find that it’s easier to breastfeed in public when I’m with someone else. Having a conversation with a friend makes me forget the nervousness of having to breastfeed in public.
10. Breastfeed in a carrier
This takes a bit of practise, but once you get the hang of it, it is one of the best ways to breastfeed in public. I did this when Madeleine was just a newborn and it helped alot when I had to run errands. It is great as no one would know that I’m breastfeeding. Here’s a picture of me breastfeeding in Japan whilst I had her in the carrier.