Feeling too nervous to breastfeed in public? Try these tips and advice to overcome your fears.
Breastfeeding in public has been in the spotlight in the last few decades, which has caused much anguish for new moms. But remember that beastfeeding is probably the most natural and beautiful act between mom and baby.
These tips will help you prepare yourself to feed your baby in a public space:
Make sure you’re dressed for the occasion
You should be able to lift up, or pull to the side, any shirt or top that you’re wearing. Some feeding tops feature a hidden flap that will give your baby easy access to your breasts while offering you some privacy. Like anything in life, having the right tools makes breastfeeding an easier and more enjoyable experience.
These items will help you be prepared:
- A nursing bra with the correct fit will offer support and coverage, while allowing you to expose one nipple at a time.
- Nursing cover-ups come in a variety of designs, but you could also try fastening a shawl or nursing blanket around your neck and shoulders – the fabric should help you feel less exposed and not restrict baby access.
- Nursing tops with fabric panels that can be discretely pulled away, along with the nursing bra, so that your baby can easily latch on. The less fuss caused, the more discreet you will remain – so keeping things easy-access is critical.
- A sling is a convenient way to carry your newborn close to you, and facilitates an extra layer of privacy when breastfeeding, as the infant can stay close to your chest.
Remember, your mindset is important. Be bold, and be prepared. Anything done in public is up for scrutiny, but remember that most women have been new moms at some point in their lives, so they have been through the same, or a similar, experience.
Baby-changing facilities are now a prerequisite in newer shopping centre, so if you feel the need for a little more privacy when you’re out and about, this is an option. It’s recommended, however, that you visit these areas prior to your first outing with baby to identify the ones you feel most comfortable with.
Your baby’s health and wellbeing is the most important thing
Breastfeeding, even when you’re out and about, is convenient, hygienic and the most natural and healthy way for your baby to feed. The benefits of breastfeeding are undeniable. It’s also important for you and your baby to get out of the house for some fresh air, a different environment and some socialising.
If you are still a little apprehensive to breastfeed in public, consider these solutions:
- Breastfeed in the backseat of your car, obviously within a secure environment.
- Breast pumps are an excellent alternative to feeding in public and there are a variety of options to choose from depending on your requirements.
- Meet a friend for tea at a restaurant or coffee shop close to your home so you can make it home in time for a feed.
Despite how you feel about breastfeeding in public, leaving the house with a new baby can be overwhelming and unpredictable, so being prepared and mindful are critical components to maintaining a healthy outlook.
Finally, may we encourage you to be proud to be one of the growing numbers of mothers who are making breastfeeding more visible and acceptable in society by being prepared!
*Copy supplied by Philips Mother and Child Care Division
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.