We believe it is important to feel comfortable and prepared whenever your little one needs to feed, especially as we begin to socialise again. Therefore, for World Breastfeeding Week it seems fitting to offer some top tips for mums who have chosen to breastfeed and plan to continue feeding, wherever that may be.
We know that breastfeeding can be tough for even the most seasoned mums and without the ability to retreat into a private setting, it’s natural to feel uncertain when thinking about breastfeeding in public.
Did you know breastfeeding in public doesn’t necessarily mean outside of your home?
Mums who choose to breastfeed at home and in front others including relatives and friends, would also fall into this category, so you may have already made progress in this area without even knowing!
1. Planning ahead
Being in an environment that doesn’t offer a calm feed can ultimately disturb the peace between you and your baby so establishing where you would feel most comfortable is a good start.
Many breastfeeding mums choose to start off feeding in places such as local coffee shops and shopping centres. Once you have a feeding-friendly spot in mind, consider planning your visit around a feeding pattern as this will help to avoid situations where your little one is hungry or distressed and you don’t feel comfortable to feed.
If you would like some good recommendations of places close to home, ask your breastfeeding friends or speak to a midwife, health visitor or peer supporters at a local breast-feeding drop-in.
2. Clothing and comfortability
Clothing is a matter of personal taste but a lot of mums feel more relaxed wearing clothing and bras that can be easily manoeuvred. Finding what works for you will be invaluable to building your breastfeeding wardrobe and establishing your feeding method; do you prefer a discreet feed, can you do it one handed etc.?
Breastfeeding tops are a great option if you are wanting a more discreet feed. Often designed with hidden layers, we love the Belly Bandit Perfect Nursing Tee which is super soft and includes a second layer for full coverage.
If you want the freedom to wear more of your current wardrobe, layering is a great solution. Tops such as the Mamalicious Nell Tank Tops are a great base-layer to wear under non-breastfeeding shirts meaning you don’t have to compromise on style or practicality.
If practicality is what you’re after, nursing bras also offer a stress-free solution to quickly dropping your bra whilst providing added support for tender breasts. We recommend a soft, non-underwired bra for maximum comfortability such as the Belly Bandit Bandita Bra. Featuring a one-hand clasp release, this is a perfect option for when you want to breastfeed without having to place your little one down.
3. Baby slings
Baby slings can provide added support for both you and your baby, although you may find that how you both like to feed works better without. The success of using baby slings to breastfeed can depend on a number of factors, including your babys' age, weight and neck strength. Like anything, practice is key so, if you want to achieve an effective latch with your baby, trialling sling positions in front of a mirror can be really useful.
4. Take someone with you
To build up your confidence, arrange to meet up with a close friend, family or better yet, other breastfeeding mums who can help make the process of breastfeeding in public that little bit easier.
Looking for other breastfeeding mums?
Mother-and-baby groups are a great way to socialise with others who will more than likely be in a similar position to you so, can offer advice and support. Plus, the groups are a fantastic starting location to feed!
You can also reach out to someone you know with an older baby as they can suggest places that they already know and love.
5. Knowing your rights
Finding somewhere with a welcoming atmosphere is important however, don’t feel like you need to hide away - unless this is your personal preference. It is illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public space, including shops and public transport so be confident and remember you are doing amazing!
... and remember never feel pressured to hideaway in a public restroom to feed your baby.
There are places and businesses that actively support breastfeeding mums by displaying ‘Breastfeeding welcome’ signs. To find out where, you can search via The Breastfeeding Network.