Many new moms worry about breastfeeding their babies in public. They may be worried about a passing glance or a judgmental comment, or perhaps they don’t feel like they have the hang of breastfeeding well enough yet to confidently nurse their babies in public.
Firstly let us say, you have the legal right to breastfeed your baby at any time and in any place, covered or uncovered. It is not necessary to cover yourself while you breastfeed, though you can absolutely do so if that’s more comfortable for you. Birth Boot Camp wholeheartedly supports and encourages breastfeeding on-demand, and sometimes that means breastfeeding in the middle of Costco, at your child’s soccer game, when you’re out to lunch with your friends, or on a bench at your favorite park.
Even knowing that, however, actually breastfeeding in public can still be anxiety-inducing for many women. Here are some practical tips to help you when you’re breastfeeding in public.
Use a Blanket or Nursing Cover
A common way to breastfeed in public is by draping a blanket over your shoulder and latching your baby underneath the tent you’ve created. This one is particularly nice when you’re trying to get baby to sleep and need to keep her from getting distracted while she’s nursing. We suggest using a blanket made of lightweight material, like muslin, which is breathable while still providing the coverage you need.
The Two-Shirt Method
Wearing a light, stretchy undershirt (like a tank top) with your regular shirt on top can provide great coverage without worrying about whether you have a blanket handy to use. Simply pull the top shirt up and the undershirt down, allowing your baby to latch while ensuring you don’t have to worry about showing more than you’re comfortable with. This one can sometimes take a little bit of practice, so try it out at home until you get the hang of it.
Layer with a Jacket or Cardigan
Layering your clothing is a versatile way to help you breastfeed in public. Grab a light jacket or cardigan to help you, similar to the two-shirt method, get the coverage you need while still providing easy access for your baby.
Covering while breastfeeding your baby is a relatively new phenomenon, one we feel can be damaging not only for moms and babies, but for society as a whole. So if the thought of fiddling with blankets and nursing covers, or planning your outfits in order to be able to breastfeed in public stresses you out, just breastfeed uncovered and ignore all the naysayers! Your baby needs to eat, and that’s all that matters. Your mom did it, your grandmother did it, and hundreds of thousands of generations of women before you did it. You can, too.