One of the biggest concerns of most breastfeeding mothers is breastfeeding in public. Most women are very modest about the entire breastfeeding process, and for many, the idea of feeding your child in the middle of a shopping mall simply doesn’t fit in with their idea of a good time. However, concerns about breastfeeding in public shouldn’t keep you hidden at home for the first year of your child’s life. It is quite easy to breastfeed discreetly. The first step in quietly breastfeeding in public is to wear a loose fitting top or a nursing shirt. You want to be able to allow your baby to reach your breast without fully exposing it. Your baby will cover the nipple and lower breast. Tops that unbutton from the waist are a good choice. If you are talented with a sewing machine, you can even purchase patterns to make your own nursing tops. If you do not want to invest in specialized nursing clothes, try cutting a slit in an old t-shirt. Wear it under your outfit. When you pull your shirt up, you will still be virtually unexposed. A nursing bra is also a good choice, as they adjusted with just one hand.
If you decide to attempt feeding while you are out during the first few weeks, you may still be having trouble getting your baby to latch on. In this case, you might consider a nursing shawl or a small blanket that will cover both of you. You might also consider sitting near a wall or a corner, as you will have more privacy in this area. If you are eating out, try sitting in a booth rather than a table, as this will offer you and your baby the most measures of privacy.
Many mothers find that a baby sling meets their needs for nursing in public. These are worn over one shoulder and form a kind of pouch to support the baby. Moreover, you can place the baby in a number of different positions, even the cradle position, for optimal nursing comfort. They are discreet, as they cover most of your upper body. You can be wearing it and your baby can nurse to his desire. These are available at most baby stores and online.
Remember that feeding your baby in public will get easier the more often you do it. It is certainly a skill you learn, so you may want to try a few practice sessions in front of a mirror. You might also try to learn and understand your baby’s hunger cues. When a baby gets agitated, it is much more difficult to get them to latch on. As a result, you may get frustrated. This can cause you to fumble with your shirt, the nursing bra, and your baby. All of this will call much more attention to you and your baby than you may wish.
If you find that you are still uncomfortable feeding your baby in public, but you still will want to escape the house, you might try going to the car to feed your baby if the temperature permits. You can also try allowing a store to loan you one of their fitting rooms to feed your baby. If all else fails, you can always feed your baby in a handicapped restroom stall. This will give you all of the privacy you need.