Breastfeeding Your Baby in Public
Let me begin with what used to be obvious: Breastfeeding (lactation) is normal. Long before anyone thought about inventing bottles, women were beautifully designed to feed their babies.
But being normal doesn’t always make breastfeeding easy. We at Choices Pregnancy Center want to help you understand all the benefits of breastfeeding, including its bonding effect!
Every breastfeeding mother has a string of funny stories about feeding her baby. (By the way, this blog contains real stories. Can you guess which three are mine?) Whether they are in the stands at a baseball game, during a friend’s wedding, or on a bench at Valley Fair, moms everywhere are feeding their babies the natural way. And some in our society is trying to make that job easier.
Some public places, like malls, have lounges attached to the ladies’ room for nursing. A clean bathroom stall will even do in a pinch. But you don’t have to go into hiding to feed your baby. These days, a woman sitting with a blanket draped across her chest and lap is a universal symbol for “Nursing Mother at Work.”
Like any new habit, nursing in public takes practice. Sometimes you’ll think everyone is staring at you while you try to get your baby and your shirt and your bra and your blanket into all the right places. A few people may be trying to figure out what you’re doing under that blanket. And at least once, your baby will probably whip off your privacy blanket like a magician revealing a rabbit.
These are all experiences that eventually get easier to avoid—or at least accept. Here are a few ideas (and some supplies available for free through our Baby Buck Boutique to help you along:
- Wear a bra made for breastfeeding. It will support your fuller breasts, and spare you lots of fumbling.
- Keep extra pads handy in case of leaking, especially if you might have to delay a feeding.
- Pick a shirt or blouse that lifts or easily unfastens (and refastens) in front.
- Stash a lightweight privacy blanket in your diaper bag.
- Choose a quiet place where your baby won’t be distracted.
- Sit in a seat that supports your back.
- Tuck a rolled-up blanket, jacket, pillow, or diaper bag under your arms for support.
Focus on the good you’re doing for your baby. Breastfeeding is totally appropriate behavior for a mom who loves her baby. So don’t worry about the people passing by, Just enjoy that experience of togetherness that no one else gets to have with her. Speak or hum soothingly to her, stroke her gently as she feeds, peek into her eyes under that blanket. All too soon, tender moments like these will be just memories.
More pointers are coming in future blogs. In the meantime, stop by Choices Pregnancy Center and watch our Simply Breastfeeding video. It’s like having your own lactation consultant in the room!
Can you guess which three scenarios happened to me? Comment below and I’ll let you know if you guessed right!