Breastfeeding in public is hard enough on its own without the stares, the complaints, and your baby trying to whip their head around to see a new sale on shoes with your nipple still in their mouth. It's enough to make some moms search for tips for breastfeeding in a public bathroom just so they can have some type of peace when it's time to nurse their child.
I know — you would't eat your lunch in there, so why should your baby? The truth is, some moms feel like they have no other choice than to breastfeed in a public bathroom. Whether they have no support from their friends or family or aren't sure of the laws in their state about breastfeeding on a bench in the middle of the city, some women go for the bathroom as a place to feed their baby. When I was breastfeeding my daughter, I had tons of support and plenty of people showing me how easy it was to nurse in public, but I still insisted on a cover to keep it private for my own comfort, despite the annoyance of a baby who has discovered her hands and the ability to whip fabric off of her head and my breasts. It was challenging and frustrating, and I was so grateful to find places that had nursing rooms or family bathrooms so I could have a little peace.
But for the mom who's breastfeeding in a public bathroom, I salute you. I'm also offering you these nine tips for doing so, so that you and your little one can make the most out of your situation.
1. Check For A Lounge Area First
A lot of bathrooms, especially those in larger department stores, may boast a nice lounge area outside. You can still have the privacy of a bathroom, but you don't have to worry about where to sit or if you'll be comfortable.
2. Use The Larger Stall
There's not a whole lot of room in the small stalls to pee, let alone breastfeed your baby. The bigger stalls often have changing tables as well, so you can knock out two birds with one stone by nursing your baby in there.
3. Wear A Sling
Unless you are a squat master, I can't imagine that you'll be hovering over the toilet while nursing your baby. A sling can really help you out here according to KellyMom. Find one that allows you to breastfeed your baby while wearing them so your arms are free and you don't have to try a balancing act just to breastfeed.
4. Keep A Bottle Of Sanitizer & Pack Of Wipes Nearby
You're going to need a lot of sanitizer for obvious reasons, like before you touch your breast or baby after touching items in the bathroom, but the wipes can come in handy, too. Put one in each hand so you don't have to directly touch the bathroom doors, toilets, or other germ-infested areas. When you're ready to go, just drop the wipes in a trash can.
5. Wear Nursing-Friendly Clothes
I know that romper of yours is adorable, but if you can't get it open to breastfeed your baby, you're going to be half naked in a public bathroom trying to nurse. La Leche League International recommended nursing friendly clothes if you want to breastfeed discreetly and items like tank tops that can be pulled down or shirts that can be unbuttoned will make that much easier for you.
6. Use The Stall To Latch & Then Breastfeed Outside Of It
For some moms, it's the latching on that can be hard to manage in public, especially if you and your baby are still relatively new to breastfeeding. Today's Parent suggested turning away to latch when you're in public, but if you still want to use the bathroom's space, head into a stall just to get your baby latched and then use the other non-toilet spaces to actually breastfeed your baby.
7. Use Toilet Seat Covers
Sitting anywhere in a public bathroom sounds gross, but if you're going to use the toilet, make sure to line it with plenty of toilet seat covers so there's a layer between the toilet seat and you.
8. Pack Extra Clothing Items For Support & Cleanliness
If you know you're going to have to breastfeed in a public bathroom at some point, pack extra clothing items or fabric in your diaper bag for support and cleanliness. A towel can be great to sit on the bathroom floor and another one can provide some cushion for you against the wall and protect you from germs.
9. Don't Do It
Seriously. If you think this is your only option, it's probably not. There are breastfeeding laws in place to protect you and your baby — you can breastfeed in public. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, breastfeeding a baby can not be considered indecent exposure and different states have different laws to protect you, such as Mississippi that requires licensed child care facilities to have a sanitary area for breastfeeding mothers instead of a bathroom.