Breastfeeding Baby In Public … Do You Do It?
The other night I was out for dinner with my family. At the table next to ours sat a large party with three infants under the age of one. One of the moms was nursing, rather awkwardly I might add, and the scene brought back my own memories of nursing.
Breastfeeding in Public is a Personal Choice
Nursing in Public is every woman’s right to do if she so chooses. I know other Moms who nurse literally in front of everyone with nary a cover, as a matter of principle. Should a Mom leave her breast exposed if that is her preference? After all, it’s her right isn’t it?
On one hand there are those who say that nursing is natural, and that it is best for baby, and no one should feel awkward with viewing a nursing breast. On the other hand, there are those who argue that urinating is natural too, yet, we still do so privately. My take on it? I support breast-feeding in public as a mother’s and baby’s right. Nursing with a cover not only meets the objective of meeting our baby’s nutritional needs, it also spares others who may feel uncomfortable at the view. Remember, other people have personal preferences too, as well as religious beliefs that need to be respected up to a point.
Where To Breastfeed
The term “nursing in public” can run the gamut from a public restroom, to inside a car, to out in the dining room of a restaurant like in the opening example. If you’re in a restroom because you’re shy about exposing yourself, please keep in mind that the stall of a toilet may not be the most sanitary, and comfortable place to feed your baby. Try to patronize places that cater to families. As the breast is best movement keeps gaining momentum (at least in the U.S.A.), many establishments are creating family lounges, and family restrooms which have comfortable areas strictly for a Mom to nurse. If a lounge area in the bathroom is unavailable and you still cannot bring yourself to nurse in the open even with a cover, make sure to wash your hands before and after breastfeeding.
Nursing in the Car
To those who still run to the car to nurse (like I did), don’t let others make you feel bad about it. Some moms I came across that were big breast-feeding proponents expressed dismay or mirth at my method of nursing. They either implied that I could do more for the breast is best movement, or that I was a prude. Breastfeeding is not a crusade, at least not for me. I was simply giving my child what I thought was best in a way which I was most comfortable.
For the Moms out there who can and do breastfeed in public, without the cover of a car or a bathroom stall, kudos to you! As long as you and baby are comfortable, there is no reason to let others impose they’re methods on you.
What To Wear
First, the basics of clothing and bra. You can wear any of the following combination:
- Nursing tops designed to both support you without need of a bra, and to expose your breast easily when nursing. Make sure to buy one with wide straps if your cups “runneth over” from lactating. They offer more support than those with thin straps.
- Nursing tops with a nursing bra. The bra provides both support and lift. The nursing tops enables the least amount of clothing manipulation, allowing for quick and easy access.
- Regular tops with nursing bra. I was wearing regular tops a few months into nursing. Regular tops are usually more stylish, and offers a lot more choices, so I opted to go with them early on. I chose tops with loose styles that I could either pull down easily, or pull up without trouble.
- Nursing pads with all of the above. For me this was an essential, as I leaked from one or both breasts during times I wasn’t nursing. A lot of moms do, so don’t be caught unaware.
- Tip: Change them often. When nursing, fold your bra cup, along with the pad, inwards and pull down so you don’t have to take them out if you don’t wish to replace them after every feeding.
More on Nursing Covers
Going back to the Mom I saw in the restaurant, she was nursing with a large blanket, which in my experience is not the most efficient cover to use. To drape yourself, you usually either have someone hold the blanket up while you position baby, or you tuck a corner of the blanket under your chin. Not comfortable at all.
There are blanket options out there made from breathable materials, and are also light and stylish. They are available from places like Amazon.com or from companies like Bebe Au Lait (which I personally used). These blankets have a neck tie piece, usually adjustable, and it keeps one corner of the blanket around your neck, leaving you free to maneuver the rest of it.
With a baby sling you can either nurse the baby inside or use it as a cover. Most people really won’t notice that the baby nestled in the sling is actually breastfeeding. This may take some practice, so try it at home first.
Your Thoughts on Breastfeeding Baby in Public
Moms, do you agree with public breastfeeding? What methods do you use to pull it off?