Nursing in Public: Utilize Pack Mentality

Lately, I’ve been talking with a lot of new moms about getting the hang of nursing in public. I remember how challenging that was, when I had my first son. In addition to feeling totally vulnerable about everything in the world, you’re out in public with a crying, hungry baby. In my case, I was worried everyone was watching, judging. Maybe they were…

It’s so, so hard in those first days to maneuver everything. That hungry little bird mouth, all that clothing, your spare bits of skin jiggling around where a baby used to stretch that belly taut. And, of course, you’re baring your breast in public. I certainly had never done that before! How odd it felt to have a breeze blow on my breast. Even if it takes only a nanosecond to get baby latched, it feels like a hundred years. Because you’re in public!

Yes, I remember that. You may not think so to see me dashing through the Children’s Museum with a baby on my boob while I chase down my older son…or nursing on my front porch so I can supervise bike riding…but I was once timid about nursing in public!

It sure does get easier, though. And, until I felt more comfortable about it, the very best thing I did was hang out with packs of other nursing moms. I will never forget how amazing it felt to nurse at my first La Leche League meeting. Truly, nobody cared if my boob was out. Even I could sense that, and I had only been a mom for three weeks at that time.

How liberating! To just pull up my shirt and wriggle my son to my dripping breast. It was just like being at home, but I was in public and surrounded by other women doing the same thing. I’ll tell you what, it’s magical.

Before long, I eavesdropped on some post-meeting conversations and learned where these nursing mothers hung out other times of the week. I started showing up so I could sit near them and nurse my baby. Sometimes, I was too shy to even announce my presence, but I’d just park my bag and plop onto the ground and nurse.

You do not need to be shy or covert like me! Breastfeeding moms hanging out in groups are excited for you to join them, for you to feel comfortable nursing your wee one in public, too.

If you can’t find a gaggle of moms nursing in a park near you, you can definitely try a New Moms’ group. These are often free, just a chance for new mothers to hang out, sit around, drink coffee, and figure out how to nurse their babies. If you delivered at a hospital, you  might be able to join the birth month group for your baby. There’s very likely a La Leche League meeting near you, something at the Y or library. Pretty much any event that caters to kids will tend to attract groups of nursing moms.

There’s something so comforting and safe about nursing in numbers. Doing it in a group seems to say, “Hey! Look! Lots of us are doing this, so it’s obviously ok!” Because, of course, we all know that nursing in public is just feeding a baby the normal way, but we also know there are so many barriers to overcome in order to feel comfortable doing that.

Hopefully, you can find a group of new mothers that synchs with your personality and interests. Your “tribe” such as it were.

How did you find your village of nursing mothers? Leave us a comment to share your experience nursing in public en masse!

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