Nursing in public? Breastfeeding without a care? Nursing in public has been a hot topic forever but I’m sharing with you my 6 Tips to Master Nursing in Public. Does breastfeeding in public leave you feeling like a confident queen? Or do you find yourself feeling nervous or ashamed?
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Have you heard of the term “when the baby is hungry, feed it” well that was my motto for a while and I stood by it. When I had my son in 2010 I was only 19 years old but I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to breastfeed but I didn’t have anyone in my family to turn to. Without familial resources, I knew that I would need to educate myself on all the workings of being a nursing mama.
We nursed for about 16 months and when I had my daughter it was a no-brainer to nurse her beyond a year as well. I lived in NYC with no car for a short amount of time so I have nursed in the subway, on the bus, in the mall, and in museums. I am novice breastfeeding info junkie so I’ve compiled my list of the top 6 tips that helped me with nursing in public and I hope it helps you too.
While you may be all gun hoe on nursing in public, there are still people out there who find shame in this and even people who bash moms who are simply trying to feed their babies. No one needs this kind of stress on them especially when you are a new mom! There are so many other things we need to think about when we are new mothers that feeling ashamed and bashed should be the last of our worries.
5 Tips to Master Nursing in Public
DRESS THE PART
This will make your life easier trust me! When you have a crying baby in your arms and you are ready to whip out your breast then it’ll be a much easier situation to handle if you have clothing on that is breathable, loose and will make your boobs accessible. There are many options to choose from in this regard from nursing bras, nursing tanks, and maternity shirts.
When my son and I began our nursing journey I was skeptical about guests visiting us because I didn’t want them to see me fiddling with my shirt and bra entrapments, but I quickly learned that our nursing journey was not going to be about what others thought but that it was about my baby getting from me whatever he needed when he needed it. Staying dressed in my nursing bras even under regular clothes really helped me to feel much more confident about whipping it out where I wanted and not needing to unloose a shirt, and a bra, or stretch out a tank top.
If you have not taken any breastfeeding courses before your baby arrives there are plenty of resources, videos, and tools online that can help out new moms to understand the changes they have going on with their bodies. I have found this new comprehensive online breastfeeding class which can be accessed on the go to help guide you through the endless questions you may have or to seek advice. The course will give unlimited lifetime access for less than$20, from a lactation educator and mom of 3. Like I mentioned before I did a lot of research online to help me understand the important things about nursing, I took lactation classes at my local hospital so that I was as aware as possible of the proper holds and different techniques.
Nursing is not always as easy as many breastfeeding moms make it seem, there will be times you struggle and cry. There might even be times you are crying literally over spilled milk and that’s all apart of the journey. One of my close friends just had a baby and enrolled in the ultimate online breastfeeding class and is raving about the resources and support she feels by taking the class.
SET A SCHEDULE
You know how they say sleep when the baby sleeps? For starters, I think that’s bull but that’s for another post! In the first couple days and weeks, you’ll be adjusting to life with a little and that means adjusting your schedule to accommodate the multiple feedings and or pumping sessions. Knowing your baby’s feedings times can help you plan your outings which makes this a master tip must. To prolong having to nurse in public you can nurse right before you leave and that will give you ample time before the next feeding. Having a schedule will also help know when you need to get to a nursing room soon or if you need to hurry up at the checkout and get ready to feed your baby.
Logging nursing schedules helped me get my life partially together in the early days especially with 8-10 feedings a day. When I was ready to start pumping so my husband could get some bonding time I logged those sessions as well to make sure I kept everything in order. You can use your phone’s notes to keep track, but if you are like me and you like to write things down click the image below to get a free printable log to help you out.
COVER UP – OR NOT
Covering up is just as controversial as the nursing in public topic altogether, but each mom is different with different comfort levels. This leads me to my master tip #4 “covering”, if you do not feel comfortable exposing yourself in public then that’s where covering up comes in perfect handy. You can use this type of cover, which can also be used as a scarf and car seat cover so you are getting a good bang for your buck. There are so many options for covering up that you can get them at affordable prices pretty much anywhere like this one or even this!
If this kind of cover isn’t your thing or if you’ve forgotten it at home, more often than not you will have a blanket in your baby bag which is just fine to use as a cover as well. Make sure your blanket is breathable like these here or here.
For me personally, my kids hated the covers so we never used them, I would find myself at the children’s museum with my breast out and have no shame at all. When my kids were hungry & screaming for mommy’s milk I didn’t think twice about covering up for myself or for the judgy onlookers.
BUILD YOUR VILLAGE
Like many things, it starts with who you surround yourself with. I am all for building a village which you can read more about here, and breastfeeding is no different. You want to make sure that your village is filled with people who are rooting for your breastfeeding success. No one likes a negative nancy, we want partners, friends, and families that don’t mind getting a peek at the boob and will stand by us when we are nursing in public. The society we live in has oversexualized breast when in reality they were created to bring liquid gold to the babies we gave birth. Keep your surrounding clear of the people who fight against you being a breast pumping/nursing champion! Having a village that is supportive matters so much to new moms so get your crew and get in formation.
You might be leaking, you might be restless, your nipples might even be chapped but it’s all worth it for that liquid gold. All of these things were true for me but that didn’t mean I had to stop going to doctors appointments or skipping out on my grocery runs. I prepared myself because I was determined to master nursing in public so I adjusted to make sure it was possible so that meant traveling with nursing pads in my diaper bag and keeping my nipple cream in my pocket like my life depended on it.
Whatever gear you need to get you through a feeding session, be sure to pack it with you in your diaper bag so you aren’t scrambling or feeling like you are missing something. You may have heard or already know that breastfed babies don’t need to burp as often as bottle-fed babies, read all about burping babies here, in this article by Dr. Sears. Even still many moms like to make sure they have some burp cloths handy to make post feeding session easy especially if you have a baby that spits up often.
In the beginning, you may begin to feel a little iffy about nursing in public but with time your confidence and cares will decrease. Don’t let the looks or the negative views from the outside world discourage you from doing what you know is best for you and your baby. There will be plenty of things you choose to do with your tiny human that may get looked down on but at the end of it all, it’s your life to do as you please!
I encourage you to try and block out the shamers and to feed your baby the best way you know how!