One of the most nerve wracking parts about breastfeeding is getting the hang of nursing in public. Few things are more stressful than trying to handle a crying, hungry baby in a room full of people. But before you let that description scare you away from eating out forever, take heart, because if you're equipped with a few tips for breastfeeding in a restaurant, it really isn't bad at all.
Between my two daughters, I've been nursing for more than two years and I'm living proof that nursing in public, especially at restaurants, can be done. As a first time mom, it's easy to get worried about the "what ifs" of breastfeeding. What if the baby is crying and can't be calmed down? What if she pulls away and exposes the goodies in front of a room of people? Luckily, those what ifs aren't really anything to worry about because when it comes down to it, you're doing what you should be doing for your baby (ie. feeding when they're hungry) and it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks.
But, should you need a little guidance, here are nine nursing tips I've learned from countless restaurant breastfeeding sessions. Namely, do what feels best to you, because ultimately, it's between you, your baby and both of your delicious meals and no one else.
1. Think About What You're Wearing
If you know you'll be eating out, make an effort to plan your outfit accordingly. A word of advice: dresses, unless they're designed for nursing, are not the most easy access choice.
2. Choose Your Table Wisely
No, not so you can hide in the back. Personally, I find it much more comfortable to nurse in a booth, instead of a chair. Decide where you'll be most comfortable and ask to be seated there.
3. Use A Cover Up (But Only If You Want To)
While you certainly don't have to use one, many women like the security of using a light blanket or nursing cover.
4. Nurse Before Your Food Arrives
There's nothing worse than staring at a plate of hot food the whole time your baby is eating. Do your best to plan ahead and feed your baby first thing.
5. Know Your Rights
Legally, you're allowed to nurse anywhere. You don't have to "cover up" or be re-seated or keep it at home.
6. Be Confident
Though nursing in public can definitely take some getting used to, remember that ultimately, you're feeding your child and being a kick ass mom and nothing else really matters.
7. Know How To Respond
If someone is so rude as to approach you, have an idea of what to say before hand. Even if it's as simple as "I'm legally allowed to feed my child anywhere." It will probably shut them right up.
8. Don't Run To The Bathroom
It can be tempting to retreat to somewhere private, especially if you're feeling self conscious. But remembering feeding your baby in public or at home shouldn't be any different can make it seem less scary of a task.
9. Don't Overthink It
Don't worry about the people sitting across from you or the looks someone may give you. This is between you and your little, and no one else.