For a long time I was paranoid about breastfeeding in public. Why? Because it is made out to be such a big thing! After a year of feeding I no longer worry about it.
Theres a few things I’ve done and learnt that have made me feel more comfortable about feeding in public. So here are some of my top tips!
- Focus on your baby, or a person you are with, ignore people looking or glancing your way, chances are they are doing so because they are impressed with the beautiful sight of you feeding your baby but if you are feeling in the slightest bit concerned your going to take those glances as something that they are not. Not looking means you wont worry!
- If your in a situation where you don’t feel completely comfortable then use a cover. It doesn’t need to be a dedicated breastfeeding cover it can just be a muslin or one of babies blankets. I’ve even used scarfs or the edge of my cardigan before now. If it makes you feel comfortable dont feel bad for using one. I was once seated at a table in Nandos sitting directly opposite the queue, a queue full of young men. Needless to say I whipped the cover out as I wasn’t completely comfortable with the situation. These days I use a cover if we are out somewhere busy and full of distractions to ensure baba has a good feed.
- Look for cafes etc with the breastfeeding friendly logo. Everywhere has to be breastfeeding friendly but in these places you know for certain your going to be welcome.
- Onto my next point for places that may try and ask you to leave, move to the toilet etc, know your rights and be prepared to declare them. In the UK the law protects breastfeeding mothers, of babies any age, for feeding in public. If someone asks you to move, be it a member of the public or someone that works there simply tell them your within your rights and the law protects you. There is a brilliant fact sheet here.
- Have coffee with other breastfeeding mums and even just other mums, they dont have to be breastfeeding mums. Its good to get in the practice of doing it in public so you don’t worry. It took me a few months before I went out and fed in a cafe on my own simply because I was always with friends but when I did do it it felt like such an achievement!
- Wearing tops that are easy to access your boobs with are great, it means you don’t have to draw attention by lifting things and yanking at clothes. I tend to wear vests that I can simply pull down and whip it out. Zero fuss thus zero attention drawing. There are also tons of tops on the high street with buttons, these are your best friend!
Another thing I’ve found helpful is to have in your mind prepared some of the things you could say if someone asked you to move. Such as the response when someone suggests you feed your baby in the toilet? Ask them if they’d like to eat their lunch in there! If someone has a problem with you breastfeeding your baby it is exactly that, THEIR problem! Not yours! And most of all be proud of it! Your doing the most natural thing in the world and the law recognises that.