venturing out

Venturing Out with Baby

A few years back, while out with my youngest son and walking around the mall, he noticed a mother tucked away in a corner nursing her baby. He was around 3½ and—having been breastfed beyond the first year and remembering it, as well as being the son of a lactation consultant—he took notice to the duo. Off he ran toward them, clapping and exclaiming “baby eating mook.” I profusely apologized to the mother and we were on our way.

Most moms venturing out with their breastfed babies do not encounter an overly excited, loud little child cheering for them, but there are many challenges mothers do face. Every breastfeeding mother has her own comfort zone and, depending on the situation and environment, may choose to cover up or not to cover. New mothers—who are still getting the hang of breastfeeding and positioning—may feel especially anxious.

To help ease mothers into breastfeeding away from the home, I have compiled a few tips:

1. Choose clothes you will be comfortable in.

You can buy special nursing clothes or opt for loose-fitting tops and layers. Many mothers find cardigans, unbuttoned shirts, and jackets layered over a t-shirt helpful. Make sure you choose an easy access or easy release bra for nursing.

2. Use a sling, wrap, or cover.

All of these can be used to cover or drape, depending on your level of modesty. Many mothers, with practice, are also able to nurse their baby in a sling or carrier.

3. Practice at home in front of a mirror.

Observing yourself when feeding can help you pick the outfit and position best for your own comfort. You also may find that a nursing baby covers the breast really well; this alone can provide you reassurance and comfort.

4. Find a comfortable spot, whether it be a bench or quiet corner.

Find where you feel at ease and most relaxed to feed your baby. Seek out a nursing room if available when shopping, or choose a booth or back table when out to eat.

5. Be confident and positive.

Sounds corny, right? But feeding your baby is your priority, and even though everyone has their own comfort level, with practice, nursing in public can become second nature and as discreet as you want to be. Besides, a screaming and hungry baby will draw more attention than a nursing one. 

Modest or not, every nursing mother can find her comfort zone when out in public. Find what works for you and your baby. I also promise, if I see you feeding your baby when out, I won’t clap and scream like my son.

Updated October 20, 2016

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