breastfeeding public

10 Tips for Breastfeeding in Public

Nursing your baby is one of the best things you can do. Be proud of what you're doing and enjoy the nursing experience, even outside of your home. Here are some tips to ensure an enjoyable, comfortable breastfeeding experience.

1. Know your rights.

Breastfeeding in public places is protected by law. You have every right to feed your baby when he or she is hungry, and there is no reason to be apologetic. The more often mothers nurse in public, the more accepted it will become.

2. Find a comfortable place.

Find a comfortable place to breastfeed that’s spacious enough for you and your baby, as well as for your diaper bag, purse, stroller, and your other children who may need settling with a toy or a snack.

3. Create your own private space.

If you are with your partner or a friend, have them position themselves to create a more private space for you. Ask him or her to hold up a blanket until you get your baby latched. Turn away and turn back around once you get situated.

4. Wear clothing that makes it easier to nurse.

Two-piece outfits or clothes designed for nursing make feeding your baby away from home a bit easier. When you want to nurse discreetly in public, bring your baby in close and then open your top. When you pull your top up, the fabric covers the top of your breast, and the baby covers the rest.  Many nursing clothes are designed to look like your regular clothes, so you can continue to wear them even after you stop breastfeeding.

5. Carry a lightweight blanket or cloth to cover.

Once the baby settles in to nurse, cover yourself with a lightweight blanket or cover. If it’s too hot, you may opt to not use it. It’s an option to have if you feel like you need to use it, or if you feel that nursing will make you or the people around you uncomfortable.

6. Consider baby slings or wraps.

Using a baby sling or wrap is a great way to nurse without anyone noticing. With some practice, you can learn to nurse while you are walking around, and most babies love to be in them, close and snuggled with you.  

7. Watch for your baby’s feeding cues.

Find a place to nurse at the first fussy signs rather than wait until baby is frantically hungry. A crying baby attracts attention, making it more difficult for you remain calm and to be discreet. 

8. Scout out places to nurse.

Look for places to nurse, ideally before you need them. Many places provide these areas, as more families are breastfeeding. Some mothers will feed the baby in the car before going into the store or shopping mall, temperature permitting.

9. Practice, practice, practice.

Rest assured that discreet breastfeeding becomes easier with practice - it is a learned skill. Before you breastfeed in a social setting or in a public place for the first time, you may want to practice in front of a mirror so you'll be able to see what others would see and make adjustments.  

10. Have confidence and enjoy yourself.

If someone approaches you, meet their eyes and smile. If you are with someone, just carry on your normal conversation. Chances are that people won’t even notice that you’re breastfeeding.

Updated July 27, 2021

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