When I heard that the topic for this month’s Carnival was going to be Breastfeeding In Public, I was thrilled. This is a topic that I have been meaning to write about for a long time – and it is something that I have a ton of experience with!!
Welcome to the Carnival of Breastfeeding for June! This month’s topic is breastfeeding in public and you can see lots of other great posts by following the links at the end of this article.
You see, when my son was an infant – and really throughout the first year of his life and beyond, he was a “nibbler.” He didn’t eat a lot at a time, but he ate often! On average, he nursed every 1-2 hours for the first year of his life during daytime hours. So no matter where we went, we ended up breastfeeding in public. I became the queen of finding great places to breastfeed my baby and I developed a list of tips and tricks along the way. I’d like to share those places and tips with you now.
Places that are particularly breastfeeding friendly:
Babies ‘R’ Us: I think we went to Babies ‘R’ Us at least twice a week when my son was an infant. Each store has a wonderful mother’s room equipped with a changing table, a comfy sofa, a rocker and pretty pictures on the wall. Whenever you walk in, there is usually another mom in there breastfeeding her baby. It is a lovely room and I spent many hours in it during my sons early days!! Many of the store locations also have free infant sized diapers for you to use when you are using the changing table too.
Motherhood Maternity: Each Motherhood store has a sign in their dressing room that says “Breastfeeding welcome here” and they freely open up their dressing room to you to come in, sit down and nurse your baby. Even if I wasn’t buying anything (their nursing supplies collection is pretty limited), I was still able to go in and use their dressing room. And at least at the one near me, the sales associates were always very friendly.
Tips for breastfeeding in public:
Many moms are nervous about having to feed their babies in public. The first thing you should know is that you are doing what is BEST for your baby and what is NATURAL! You shouldn’t ever feel intimidated about breastfeeding in public. In fact, you should be PROUD! Below are some tips to help you feel more confident.
1) Know your rights. In most states, breastfeeding mothers are protected by law. Read up on the laws in your state and be knowledgeable about where and when the law is on your side.
2) Practice. Many moms are nervous about breastfeeding in public because they are afraid that they will bare too much skin while getting the baby latched on. The best way to get good at getting your baby latched on is to practice. Practice at home where you don’t have to be nervous while you are doing it. Another good thing to do is to practice in front of a mirror. That way you can see yourself and see how little of your breast can actually be seen. You will be surprised at how discreet you already are – without even knowing it!
3) Get some nursing clothes. Many women feel more comfortable breastfeeding in public if they have clothing with easily accessible nursing access. This is what I did. For me personally, I didn’t care if someone happened to get a glimpse of my breast, but I didn’t want them to see my belly!! So I invested in nursing tops and wore them everywhere! I even wore them at work when I was pumping. Now-a-days, nursing tops are so cute and stylish that your non-nursing friends will be asking you where they can get a top as cute as the one you are wearing! So treat yourself – you deserve it!
4) Use a sling. Using a sling makes it easier to nurse your baby while walking around or even sitting somewhere comfortable. It helps to keep your baby close to you and makes nursing a little more discreet by giving you some extra fabric to cover up. I can remember walking around shopping when my sister-in-laws were in town one time. I had my sling and my baby was nursing while I walked around! It was great. The only down-side was I wasn’t wearing a nursing top, so I had to cover up my belly with a receiving blanket! I highly recommend combining use of your sling with a great nursing top – that way you can walk around, have one arm free and still nurse your baby anywhere!
5) Be confident. You are doing the best thing for your baby!! Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for it. I can remember being in a restaurant one time with a friend. My baby needed to nurse and we were sharing a table with another couple. I thought about asking them if they “minded” if I nursed my baby. But then I thought to myself “What if they say that they do mind? I’m not going to change what I am going to do – my baby needs to eat, so I am going to feed him” So I didn’t ask. They didn’t say anything either!
I nursed my son in public just about anywhere you can imagine (at the grocery store, at the mall, sitting on a park bench, at the library, when visiting friends at work, at my work, at my husband’s work, at Disney World, at the museum, on the side of the road in my car and just about any other place you can imagine). We nursed in public until he was about 18-20 months old and we NEVER had anyone make a negative comment towards us. I was always ready in case they did – but no one ever did. Sometimes people would smile at us and sometimes they would walk away, but I always felt good because I was giving my baby exactly what he needed! I even convinced my nanny to nurse her own children with out even trying! Just by her seeing how “easy” it was when we were together and I could just nurse my baby when he was hungry and how “difficult” it was when she was by her self and had to plan ahead and lug bottles everywhere.
Bottom line, there is no need to cover yourself when nursing in public – you have a right to feed your baby. Different women feel more or less comfortable when doing this in public – so use the tools that make you feel better. Get out and enjoy this time with your baby! And most of all FEEL PROUD of what you are doing.
Do you have funny or interesting stories about nursing in public? Do you have any great tips you’d like to share with other new moms? Please leave a comment.
And don’t forget to visit the other Carnival of Breastfeeding Posts at the great blogs listed below (NOTE: this list will be updated throughout the next few days, so please check back often!):
- Lucy & Ethel Have a Baby Blog: (Boobs) Out And Proud
- Dirty Diaper Laundry Blog: Breastfeeding in Public- Talents- I haz it
- PhD In Parenting Blog: Would You Could You Breastfeed In Public
- Kim Through The Looking Glass Blog: Here? At The Restaurant?
- GrudgeMom Blog: Nursing in a room full of people you know
- MumUnplugged Blog: Aww, is he sleeping?
- Massachusetts Friends of Midwives Blog: Nursing in Public: Chinatown, the Subway, the Vatican, and More
- Mother Mary’s Soapbox: June Carnival: Breastfeeding in Public
- Tiny Grass Blog: Nursing in Public as an Immigrant
- Blisstree Blog: Nursing in Public: To Cover or Not to Cover
- Stork Stories Blog: Little Old Men… & Nursing in Public
- Chronicles Of A Nursing Mom Blog: Why Worry About NIP?
- Warm Hearts Happy Family Blog: Breastfeeding and the summertime
- Blacktating Blog: Thank You For Nursing In Public
- Musings on mamahood Blog: NIP, no tuck
- The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Get kicked off a bus for nursing in public? Here’s how to respond
- Mama Knows Breast Blog: Products That Can Help You Breastfeed In Public
- babyREADY blog: A wee NIP in the park!
- Tales of life with a girl on the go Blog: Planes, Trains and Automobiles, we’ve breastfed in them all
- Breastfeeding Moms Unite Blog: Nursing in Public: A Fresh Perspective on Nurse-In’s
- Never a Dull Moment…Blog: Breastfeeding Hats? YES! Nursing Covers? Uh… Not So Much
- Breastfeeding Mums Blog: Nursing in Public – What’s a Breastfeeding Mother to Do!!
- Hobo Mama Blog: Easy, discreet way to breastfeed a toddler in public