5 tips for breastfeeding in public

As part of World Breastfeeding Week, we've joined forces with The Big Latch On, which is a way for women who are breastfeeding to find support. Empowering mama Joanne gave us her advice on how to breastfeed in public, including feeling confident and equipment that will help.

Breastfeeding is such a natural thing to do – although we know it doesn’t always seem that way.  And breastfeeding in public can feel even less natural to many of us.  In some countries, breastfeeding in public is absolutely what you do, but for those of us who live in more conserved places or, who feel a little less confident, here are some great ideas on how to nurse outside the home surely and effectively.

1. gather your equipment. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean seeing how many pillows you can fit in your change bag.  Got your nursing bra on?  Got a muslin cloth or scarf you can use to cover up? Got some water to hand? Think about what you’re wearing.  Button downs are great (although I sometimes find they can be a bit exposing), but double layering a t-shirt and vest, or a loose top which you can happily pull up or down work really well too. Arm yourself with things that you love to use and want to show off outside the home.  It may seem fickle but it will give you an extra confidence boost.

2. practice in front of a mirror.

Definitely practice at home. You might love your breastfeeding scarf but it can easily become a tangled mess.  Seeing how you look in front of the mirror will help you make adjustments to your nursing style and position so that you feel and look confident.

3. practice in front of family.

This could be at home or in a friend or family member’s home where you feel safe and confident.  Like practicing in front of the mirror, it’s all about giving you self–assurance.

4. know why you’re doing it.

Sadly, not all countries or even states in the US recognise that breastfeeding in public is just a way of nourishing your child.  If you are worried about being challenged by others, think about how you will respond.  Will you smile confidently at people? Will you keep your eyes down and concentrate on your child or a magazine? You might even want to read up on the laws and legalities of breastfeeding in public.

5. choose your first location.

Mine was a park, where I knew exactly which set of secluded benches I could sit at. And I took my mum for moral support. Perhaps you’ll choose a coffee shop. Like all the other tips, make sure you choose a place you feel confident.

Breastfeeding in public is all about you feeling assured and competent.  Nursing your baby is what comes naturally to you; there’s no reason you shouldn’t do it outside your own home. You’ve got this mama!

The Global Big Latch On is a worldwide peer support and community development event. It aims to strengthen support for breastfeeding and to improve the health of children and women around the world, by protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding families. It is happening on the 4th and 5th August, for details see www.biglatchon.org

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