Breastfeeding in Public

While any woman would love to look this chic and nonchalant about breastfeeding in front of others as this woman, most of us don't. So how would a mother who wants to breastfeed her child out in public do so without resorting to the public restroom (gross), her car (cramped), a dressing room (not always necessary), etc.?

Well, as you can see first you need some gold pumps, some hot red lipstick and a tiger fur coat. Then breastfeeding is a snap!

Oh, you don't have a tiger fur coat, hot red lipstick, or gold pumps? Hmmm....Okay, well here is how you might feel more comfortable breastfeeding without those essentials, in no particular order:

~Wear a nursing bra/tank top under another shirt. This technique offers more discreet coverage, by lifting the top shirt up and pulling your nursing tank down to feed your baby. Most mothers feel more uncomfortable with their stomachs uncovered, when lifting their shirt, than feeling they are exposing their breasts....

~Bring a blanket to cover up with. But you should be warned, this is like a NEON sign saying "LOOK, I am breastfeeding. With breasts. And I am not very comfortable, so please stare at me as I give my baby the best nutrition and most loving comfort available to her." Instead, why not use a sling...

~Use a sling or baby wrap, you can loosely position baby in the sling, supporting her with one arm, latch her on and then readjust sling for comfort and coverage. Most people won't have any idea you are breastfeeding and you can walk around say, grocery shopping or mingling at a very fancy party, while she nurses.

~Practice latching your baby onto the breast at home in front of a mirror, so that instead of imagining "how much" can be seen, you have a good idea of what you look like when getting baby latched on. You can practice different positions and techniques, helping you feel more comfortable when in front of others.

~ Bring along a support person: your husband, mother, or a friend who is also nursing. Having someone supportive can make you feel less vulnerable as your are getting the hang of breastfeeding in public in those early weeks.

~Know your rights! Most states have some form of law that protects breastfeeding. Find out yours and make your own (or buy online) business card stating the law. Whip it out (your card) if your are approached by someone who is considering bothering you while you feed your child. Breastfeeding is not INDECENT!

~Have a few choice words prepared for nay-sayers. Your response doesn't have to be confrontational, you can use humor, too. La Leche League has a great list of ideas for responding to criticism, whether out in public or in your own home. Find it here

~Join La Leche League! Start attending the local meeting in your area to find information, support and encouragement from breastfeeding mothers. Meetings are free and welcome you, your baby and even your young children and provide snacks, a lending library and free support! Find out more here

~For more information on breastfeeding visit: La Leche League, Dr. Sears, and Dr. Jack Newman for the most up-to-date information, presented in a very breastfeeding supportive way.

Did you breastfeed? What tips for succesful breastfeeding in public would you share with a new mom?


  1. I was never comfortable with it, but that was just me. I would go out to the car and I always had a blanket over me anyhow. Not one tiny bit of skin was ever exposed on me.

    But, to each one his own. I have no problem with how anybody else wants to do it.

  2. Unfortunately I didn't breastfeed. Tried really hard and hung in there with La Leche and help but Spencer was not having it at all...later we found out he has apraxia so that may have lead to his difficulty to latch on properly.

    I say more power to ya if you can do it. I can't believe that people are so against others feeding their children whatever way they choose.

  3. I had my first baby in Holland - which was great because the Dutch aren't at all uptight about breastfeeding in public. By the time I had my second when we were living in NJ, I knew all the tricks and could give a rip what anyone else thought. PS - I'm over from Unknown Mami's. I live on the Grand Strand too! It is very nice to meet you :)

  4. I haven't had to breastfeed in public very often, which is good because my boy HATES being covered up when he eats. These are great tips, thanks for sharing.

  5. I only did with son #3. Feeding in public wasn't a problem for me. I had so much milk that came out so fast, I sat junior in the corner and shot it at him.

    (Well, not exactly, but he ate and was full in record time;) A well placed blanket always worked, but then again he was an October baby so it made sense to see me with a blanket over him.


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