Some women absolutely love breastfeeding. They feel beautiful and confident and aren’t afraid to feed their baby at any time or in any place. I was not one of these women and I was terrified to breastfeed in public!
I felt nervous and self-conscious even thinking about nursing in public. For months I struggled with low supply issues. This meant I just gave my baby a bottle any time we were out and about. (Click here to learn the best way to give your baby a bottle!) However, once he finally started nursing more successfully, I quickly grew tired of being tethered to my house so I could feed my baby in the security of my own home.
Over time, I learned the best ways to nurse in public to feel more comfortable and confident. With these great tips for breastfeeding in public, I finally feel free to go out and enjoy my community with my baby. Keep reading to learn the easy ways you can become more comfortable nursing in public too!
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1 – Know Your Rights
Did you know that breastfeeding is legal in all 50 states? You should feel more confident knowing that you are legally protected to feed your baby in public.
If someone says anything to you, educate them on your rights! With that being said, you should know that I have never had someone call me out or say anything about breastfeeding in public, even though I was terrified that would happen all of the time.
2 – Avoid Exposing Your Nipples
For most women, myself included, we’re the most worried about flashing our nipples to everyone while trying to breastfeed in public. The thought of this literally paralyzed me for quite a while.
You’re the most likely to expose your nipple while your baby is latching and unlatching. Once she’s hooked on, she’ll keep your nipple hidden until she wants to unlatch.
To feel more confident nursing in public, focus on making your latching and unlatching a little more private. You can step into the corner or face the wall, cover with a nursing cover, or throw a blanket over your baby.
3 – Find the Right Spot
Right away, I learned that some places make me feel much more comfortable than others while nursing in public.
I’m the most comfortable and confident on a bench a little off the beaten path, towards the back of a busy crowd, or in dedicated nursing areas.
And I feel the least confident in a crowded area with lots of people constantly walking right past me or around the table with my husband’s man friends.
Find out what makes you feel the most confident and then gravitate towards those areas.
4 – Find the optimal sitting position.
I quickly discovered that my position made a huge difference in my success for breastfeeding in public. For example, I am super uncoordinated, so nursing while standing up is a terrible idea in a public setting.
To be the most comfortable and confident, find a sitting position with a backrest. This allows you to lean back a bit and relax instead of actively holding your baby high enough or leaning down (which is hard on your back). For whichever side my baby is nursing on, I also cross that leg over the other leg. This helps to prop him up a bit more and keep him in a more elevated position (which also helps us to prevent acid reflux).
With smaller babies that can’t “sit up” a little on your leg while nursing, I also think it’s a great idea to bring your nursing pillow. I loved the My Brest Friend pillow when my baby was really small and the Boppy pillow when he was a little older.
No one will ever judge you for using these in public. On the rare
5 – Invest in the Right Clothes
Surprisingly, the clothes that you wear make a huge difference in how
I have a few nursing shirts that I love. They are super simple to use and make breastfeeding so much easier!
With that being said, I’m pretty cheap and my typical method is the two shirt method. I wear a nursing tank top under my normal shirt. When it’s time to nurse, I pull up my normal shirt, unclip my nursing tank top, and then pull my shirt down a little once we’re latched. When I want to be extra discreet, I’ll also wear a cardigan, which makes it so easy to drape over my baby’s head.
Because this method is so easy, it’s what I use 99% of the time. These are my favorite nursing tank tops because they are
6 – Use a Nursing Cover or Blanket
Now even with all of these tips, I do usually prefer to also have another way to cover my baby. He’s a pretty squirmy baby and likes to unlatch at the worst times, so I really appreciate an extra layer of protection towards any mishaps.
I love this nursing cover for a few reasons. It works perfectly to slip over both of us while we’re trying to breastfeed in public. It also works amazingly as a scarf or a car seat cover and matches everything, which makes it super versatile and easy to always have around.
Although I love my nursing cover, my baby isn’t always as big of a fan. He does okay with it, but now that he’s bigger, he does squirm a lot more while we use our cover. He greatly prefers that I just drape a blanket over him. These blankets are my absolute favorite. They are light-weight so he doesn’t get sweaty and they are really large so they keep me covered even if he moves around a bit.
7 – Nurse in Your Baby Carrier
This is one of my favorite ways to breastfeed more comfortably!! We used our Boba wrap ALL the time!! Without it, I honestly don’t know if we would have survived the fourth trimester. But is a huge hassle taking your wrap off to nurse and then putting it back on over and over again.
By leaving it on, I could nurse in my wrap and feel
Here is the video that I used to learn how to nurse in my baby wrap. (Even though I preferred the Boba wrap, this video still worked perfectly!)
8 – Practice Makes Perfect!!
Practice, practice, practice!! The more I practiced these methods at home, the more comfortable I felt breastfeeding in public.
Once or twice a day, I would nurse while using our nursing cover, putting a blanket over my baby, or nursing in our baby wrap. Within just a few days, I felt like I knew exactly what to do and we found our rhythm so I didn’t feel awkward doing these in public anymore.
9 – Be confident!
This was hard for me at first, but the more confident you are, the easier it is to breastfeed in public. Trust me when I say that people really aren’t paying any attention to you and don’t care if you’re feeding your baby. You should be super proud that you are breastfeeding because it is not an easy thing to do!
Be confident and rock the fact that you can feed your baby anywhere that you go.
10 – Use Nursing Stations
Although all of these tips are amazing and they have helped me to feel so much more comfortable and confident while nursing in public, sometimes I just don’t have the emotional energy for it.
And this is why I love nursing stations! They are so much more private and comfortable because they are specifically designed for breastfeeding. If I know that I just don’t feel like breastfeeding in public, I always look up nearby nursing stations and then just take a quick break to use them when we need to.
These are the 10 ways I was finally able to become more confident breastfeeding in public.
Did you ever nurse in public? What helped to make it easier for you? Please share your experience in the comments below!