When I was a teen, I remember seeing women breastfeeding their babies in public and thinking how beautiful they looked. I couldn't wait till the day I had my own baby to nurse. But as I got older, the stigma surrounding breastfeeding in public wore me down. After I had my first daughter, I remember feeling nervous and even ashamed to nurse in public, like I needed to be somewhere no one could see. I've resorted to feeding in bathroom stalls or in the car, for fear of what people would think.
As I got more comfortable with breastfeeding in public, though, I became more confident. I realized that there should be no shame in something as natural as feeding my baby. I learned that there are many ways to make nursing on-the-go less of a chore to be dreaded and more of a special time to be (dare I say it) enjoyed.
Ultimately, breastfeeding is between you and your child, and if you're not comfortable nursing in public then you shouldn't feel any pressure to do so. But if you want to ease yourself into the practice of nursing in public, here are seven easy tips for discretely nursing in public. Before you know it, you'll be feeding your child whenever, wherever, and serving serious sass to anyone that tries to shame you.
1. Know Your Rights
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 49 of the 50 states have laws that allow women to breastfeed in public (Idaho has yet to join the team.) Although there may be limited legal action you can take against anyone who may feel differently than you, there is no law that says you can't nurse where and when your baby needs to.
2. Wear Comfortabl Clothes
Breastfeeding doesn’t sentence you to wearing sweatpants and unattractive nursing bras all of the time. In fact, there are some super stylish breastfeeding clothes available, if you know what to look for. Invest in a few button-up shirts, nursing dresses, or your clothing of choice, and take the town by storm.
3. Use A Sling
Slings may just be the single most convenient baby item out there. With a little practice, you can nurse your baby hands free, using the sling as a support and cover.
4. Invest In A Nursing Cover
A nursing cover is beneficial for breastfeeding moms who aren't as comfortable with the exposure. But they’re definitely not a necessity. In my two years of motherhood, I have yet to invest in one, and we’re nursing in public just fine.
5. Get Comfortable
If you’re eating out, ask to be seated in a booth, as wooden chairs aren’t the most comfortable nursing spots. Pick a place where you can easily focus on your baby and not have to worry about outside distractions.
Take a deep breath. If you’re nervous, your milk won’t flow easily, so it’s important that you’re able to feel calm.