I am often asked by new mums or mums-to-be about breastfeeding in public and whether there is anything they can do in advance to plan or prepare for it. Breastfeeding in public can be a nerve wracking thought for any new mum and even not so new mums. I hope that you find these tips helpful.
1. You can practise in front of a mirror. It may help you to know exactly what can be seen when you are breastfeeding your baby and you might be pleasantly surprised!
2. Wear the right clothes. Ensure that you are wearing something that you are comfortable in and that can give you easy access for feeding. This might be a large top that you can easily lift or open. Layering with a cardigan can offer additional coverage. There are many different styles of breastfeeding clothing available, often with hidden openings across the chest allowing access without having to lift or remove any item of clothing. You might choose to double layer vests and lift one and pull down the other which will provide a similar effect and give you some extra coverage.
3. Take a friend along for moral support. If you are going to breastfeed in public for the first time, you should take someone supportive along with you whether this is your partner, friend, mum or even some other new mums. I found feeding in public as part of a group made me feel more confident.
4. Go to a breastfeeding friendly place to feed. You may want to seek out some breastfeeding friendly places in your local area and choose one for your first outing. Your Midwife or Health Visitor should be able to advise you on local breastfeeding friendly places. Often child/baby friendly cafes are breastfeeding friendly.
5. It sometimes helps to find a seat out of the way. If you are still feeling nervous you may want to find a seat out of the way or in the corner until you increase your confidence.
6. You could use a breastfeeding cover such as a Mamascarf. This provides privacy for public breastfeeding, allows you to see your baby throughout the feed, can’t be pulled off and also provides some additional support.
7. It is good to have a route in mind. If you know where you are going to be when it’s feeding time, you will be able to make sure that you are somewhere you are going to feel comfortable breastfeeding your baby.
8. Have confidence in yourself and what you are doing. You are breastfeeding your baby and it is your right! Good luck and remember it gets easier with time.
Keira O’Mara from Mama Designs