Looking back, there were a lot of things about breastfeeding in public that I wish I’d known. When my son was a newborn, I went through great lengths to avoid feeding him in public. At one point, I even turned down an empty (yes, empty) room at the doctor’s office because driving him home and nursing him on my couch seemed like a better, more comfortable option.
While much of my apprehension was tied to the fact that we had some pretty significant breastfeeding challenges in the early weeks, a lot of it had to do with my confidence and comfort level, too. I’m lucky that I never had any confrontations with strangers over my breastfeeding choices (like how long I breastfed and where I chose to breastfeed), but the looming possibility was always in the back of my mind. Sadly, I know far too many women who have been shamed for breastfeeding in public, too (despite the fact that breastfeeding in public is legal in 49 states).
Still, like many aspects of parenthood, breastfeeding took some getting used to, and some experience on my end, before it was even remotely comfortable for me to do in public. Most of the time, it was simply the lesser of two evils (the other being make my hungry, tiny son wait while I took us home, which was rarely ever realistic. The example from my doctor’s office being an exception). Now that I’m on the other side of the journey that is exclusively breastfeeding your kid, here’s what I wish I’d known: