Comfortably Nursing in Public
Do you nurse in public? When I first began breastfeeding my son, I was extremely shy about nursing in front of anyone. The last thing I wanted was for anyone to see any more skin than I might want to show someone, whether I was in public or even at home with guests. But after spending the Christmas holidays holed up in the bedroom nursing my newborn rather than enjoying the company of our visiting family members, I realized enough was enough. After all, no one was making me breastfeed my son in private – except me.
A quick survey would have found that our guests would not have been uncomfortable with me nursing in front of them. I was the one who was embarrassed.
Nursing in public can be challenging, especially the first time. But over the past few months I have come up with several tips and tricks for nursing in public.
- Find a secluded spot. If you can, try to find a low traffic site where you can nurse comfortably. This could be a corner booth in a restaurant, a dressing room at the department store, or a park bench.
- Make sure you’re comfortable. There’s nothing worse than hunching over to get baby to latch – and then getting stuck in that position for a half hour or longer. Bring a pillow if you need to, or use a folded up blanket to position yourself and your baby comfortably.
- Make sure others are comfortable. If I’m with a group, I ask if anyone would be uncomfortable with my nursing my son. In most cases, everyone is fine with it, but I think sometimes it doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Don’t over-expose. In the winter, a pashmina scarf around my neck and shoulders helps to keep people from seeing anything I don’t want them to see. In warmer months, I bring with me a receiving blanket that I can drape over my shoulder to shield baby from onlookers. Many online stores also sell special tops or covers to keep you covered during a feeding.
- Practice at home. Nurse your baby in front of a mirror or ask your husband or a friend if they can see more than you would want someone to see of you in public.
- Check the laws. Many states have laws regarding breastfeeding. Check out this link for your local laws. Some states allow breastfeeding in any public place. Some states will even let you get our of jury duty if you are a nursing mom!
Breastfeeding in public can be nerve racking, but with a few preparations you can do so comfortably.