Tips for nursing in public

Downward nursingPublic breastfeeding can be stressful even under the best circumstances. Maybe the temperature is not ideal, your outfit is awkward, you need some extra pillows, or you’re afraid baby will boot all over your shirt.

The first time I tried to nurse in public, we took two-week old Holden to a wedding. I awkwardly nursed in the car on a popular walkway in front of the restaurant — I was wearing a wrap dress, sweating, and banging into the steering wheel and then the carseat. It sucked.

Later that same evening, I asked the venue manager if there was an office I might use for the purpose. Even asking him was mortifying and I turned red (and likely sprayed milk) just having the conversation. When he let me into the office, I had to completely undo my fancy outfit and pray that nobody would enter the room. Now, almost two years later, I have a few lessons learned the hard way that I’d like to share.

My top six tips:

  1. Wear something comfy that allows you to lift up from the bottom. Wearing a tank top underneath can shield your floppy belly and back. Having a zippy-hoody or other cardigan will further protect your modesty.
  2. Have a little blanket or Bebe Au Lait (aka Hooter Hider) to cover yourself and protect the little one from the sun.
  3. Try to start feeding before a major meltdown occurs.
  4. Position yourself as discreetly as possible during the latch. After that part, you can pretty much relax.
  5. Go out with some supportive pals like a moms’ group or your husband.
  6. Just go for it! Let it be part of your Fearless Friday to try it if you’re nervous.

Finally, I’ll say that it’s not illegal in any US state and it’s specifically protected in many of them. More details about breastfeeding and the law are on the La Leche League website.

[Photo from  Mothering Touch via flickr]