Part of the beauty of breastfeeding your baby is the convenience factor. You can bring your breastfed baby with you just about anywhere, and there’s no need to haul along any feeding equipment; no formula, no spoon for mixing, no bottle, no sterilization equipment… nada. Everything you need to feed your baby is literally right under your shirt. But some mamas are still hesitant about feeding their baby in public.
It’s not their baby’s needs that are causing them to worry… it’s the reaction from other people. Think about it… if someone doesn’t have a lot of experience with breastfeeding – if neither they nor their partner has ever breastfed a baby, maybe friends and siblings who’ve had babies didn’t breastfeed, etc. – they probably “don’t get” why a breastfeeding mama would choose to breastfeed in public. But as a breastfeeding mama, you know exactly why.
Most establishments don’t have a dedicated space for mamas to pump or breastfeed. And in fact, if you ask, many places will actually direct you to a bathroom!!!
I remember the first time I breastfed in public. I had just had baby #2. I fed her right before we left the house, and I just needed to get a quick oil change. Well, despite the fact that this was 10:30 am on a weekday, the place was crowded. There were several other patrons in the waiting room (all men, of course) and 3 guys who worked there. As I was holding my sweet daughter, she started rooting. She bobbed her head up and down and slobbered all over my shirt. She was definitely hungry.
So, I did what she needed me to do. I fed her. Right there in the waiting room. I put a receiving blanket over us and let her eat. The other customers who were there waiting didn’t stare. I didn’t get any dirty looks. No one shouted, “You can’t do that here!” They all knew what I was doing and no one said anything. I was so relieved! I don’t know what kind of a reaction I was expecting, but I was thrilled (and honestly felt a little empowered) when no one said a word!
Of course, the mechanic came in wanting to sell me a new air filter while I was in the middle of feeding her. I asked him if I could have just a minute, and when he realized what I was doing, he said “Oh, of course!” He smiled and left, then came back a few minutes later.
Baby girl ate happily for a a couple minutes, then passed out. And I went about my business, paid, and we left.
But I know it can feel intimidating to breastfeed in public. So, some women are more comfortable finding ways to feed their babies discreetly. If you have someone with you, like your partner or a friend, you can ask them to stand in front of you while you lift your shirt up. As you breastfeed, the baby’s head and body will cover most of your upper body, and you can pull your shirt down to baby’s face to cover the top of your breast. Some mamas prefer to drape a light blanket over themselves and baby as a cover.
If having a nursing cover would make you feel more comfortable, here are a few of my favorites:
It is light and made from a really nice, soft fabric.
The strap is adjustable.
It’s machine washable.
Bonus: You can wear it as a scarf, so it won’t have to take up any space in your diaper bag!
The striped patterns are adorable.
Baby gets a matching beanie when you purchase the cover.
It comes with a lifetime satisfaction guarantee!
This one also doubles as a carseat canopy… and a shopping cart cover, highchair cover (for restaurants) or even a blanket.
It gives you 360° coverage while breastfeeding
Bonus: It will protect baby from sun and wind!