When it comes to nursing in public, a number of new mommies are hesitant in the beginning so they end up locking themselves in the four walls of their home. However, breastfeeding shouldn’t stop moms and their babies from going out; after all, it’s a natural process and an important one. In this article, you will find helpful tips for breastfeeding in public.
Currently, doctors advise exclusive breastfeeding for first six months and breastfeeding along with complementary foods for two years and beyond. Since you’ll be nursing your child for so long, you better get the hang of doing it in public places otherwise your life will become very restricted.
Many mothers find it awkward because of the people around and the way people stare. Some women make it a point to feed babies before leaving home. Some women leave the babies at home and then go shopping. But this isn’t fair. Just like every other person, babies too need to have their food and mothers shouldn’t feel odd while feeding their babies.
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Scroll down to read 11 tips for breastfeeding in public:
#1. Plan in advance
If you are going to be out with your little munchkin for long, be well-prepared for breastfeeding in public. Visualize the place and think of spots where it will be right for you to nurse your baby. Look for quite locations like a cafe or women’s lounge in a shopping mall. Many public washrooms also have a separate nursing room, so make sure to use that. Next, visualize the whole process and be prepared for your fears of skin show and people judging you. Don’t get intimidated by such thoughts and try to overcome them before you step out of your house.
#2. Go along with someone
If you are new to breastfeeding in open, then avoid going out alone. You can go out with somebody with whom you are comfortable like your mother or a friend or your spouse. A company will provide you appropriate support, help you find a suitable place and make you feel less conscious about your surroundings. Besides, you will also need someone to carry your nursing essentials bag while you’re holding the baby.
#3. Learn your rights
While India has no statutory laws regarding breastfeeding in public, it is considered socially acceptable in certain rural areas and frowned upon in urban areas. However, you should realize that nourishing your little one in public is completely fine, as long as done in the right surroundings and with right covering.
#4. Practice at home in front of a mirror
If your major concern regarding breastfeeding in public revolves around exposing a lot of skin, try practicing it in front of a mirror to reassure yourself. You will be surprised at how much of your breast gets covered by a nursing baby. You can try breastfeeding in different angles to see which one works best for you and shows off the minimum skin.
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#5. Opt for comfortable clothing
There are a lot of nursing tops and blouses available in the market, with hidden openings to make the whole process of breastfeeding quite easy. You can also opt for a loose fit shirt with a button-down front that can be unbuttoned while nursing. While some babies are okay with the fabric touching their face, others tend to get anxious and fussy, so make sure you know what suits your little one.
You can also try wearing a loose tank top underneath a jacket so that most of your skin will be covered up while you lift up the tank top to feed the baby. If you’re conscious of your stomach being exposed while you lift up the tank top, wear a belly band underneath the tank top. Many nursing covers and wraps are also available in the market to help women breastfeed without hesitation.
#6. Opt for Nursing Bra
Nowadays, nursing bras are very popular and easy to use for nursing moms. You just have to flap down the cover from the cup to nurse your little one. Make sure to practice undoing the bra with one hand and then putting it back again at home so that you’re not conscious about it in public.
A lot of mothers suggest stretchy sports bra for breastfeeding. This is because it allows you to nurse your little one by simply pulling down the cup of the bra. Turn away during latching.
#7. Turn away while latching
While latching your baby onto your breast, initially, a great portion of your skin will be visible. It’s advisable to turn away from the crowd while latching. Say for instance- if you’re sitting in a cafe, next to a wall, but still in the sight of other diners, before you begin to latch, turn your front towards the wall and then turn back to the table once you’re done latching. Follow the same while unlatching the baby.
#8. Watch your infant’s cues
The moment you realize your baby is hungry and needs nursing, you better get down to business. If you take a lot of time to settle down, your baby will become fussy and upset due to hunger and will be more likely to cry, thus leaving you embarrassed in public. On the flip side, a hungry but happy baby will latch onto your breast quickly and not make a scene in the public space.
#9. Try covering up
If you still feel uncomfortable and unsure about breastfeeding in public, you may want to try covering your baby and breast with a sheet. Try practising it with a cover at home because some babies do not like having a sheet over their head while breastfeeding and begin to fuss. However, you still have to follow the above advice of turning your front away while latching in the public places. Some mothers also use a broad-brimmed sun hat which is more acceptable by babies.
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#10. Plan your response
At times, no matter how confident you are about nursing in public, an elderly might frown, a security guard might request you to move to the bathroom or a stranger might remark a negative comment and all this could drastically affect your confidence. In such a situation, it can help to have a planned response ready. If nothing works, you can respond with politeness that you do not eat in a washroom so how could you feed a baby there.
#11. Smile and let go
In India, especially in the urban areas, you will experience a number of people staring at you looking horrified or cringing. All you have to do is smile and let go. But, make sure to be aware of bullies. Nourishing your little one is important, but don’t forget to spot the difference between a stare that is a plain frown and harmless and a stare that seems like a threat. The moment you feel threatened, leave that place and move in a crowded area or raise alarm.
Also read: Breastfeeding Experiences of Bollywood Mommies
So, the next time you’ve to go out with your baby, you need not worry about breastfeeding in public. No need to feed your child beforehand or be scared of how you’ll manage. Just remember our hacks and you’ll have no problem at all!We hope that these tips for breastfeeding in public will be extremely useful for you.
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