A reader commented a few weeks back regarding a post on breastfeeding in public:
You don’t have to answer this or write a post on it if you don’t feel comfortable but just wondering… how do you feel about breastfeeding in public. I stopped breastfeeding when my baby was about 1 month old. We had many obstacles and the reason was not related to breastfeeding in public but I’m someone who didn’t even feel comfortable breastfeeding in front of my mom, never mind other strangers.
How do you feel about it? How do you make it work for you?
I hope if I have another child that breastfeeding will go better for me but do worry about how I’ll ever be able to leave the house and socialize with others when I just don’t feel comfortable with breastfeeding in front of others.
The other day in our play group we got to talking about nursing in public. For some women it was no big deal, others tried to avoid it if possible and then others commented that their spouses were the uncomfortable ones.
I was forced to jump into breast feeding in public five days postpartum when we decided to head out to the farmers market. I attempted to get in a good feed before we left but with a five day old, feedings tend to be more frequent and so instead of doing any real shopping I sat on a bench and nursed while directing Neil to which stands to purchase the produce we needed. It was a bit awkward and of course I didn’t wear a breast feeding friendly top. I tried covering myself with Edie’s muslin blanket but it kept blowing up but I managed. Tip: tie the ends together and slip over head- makes a perfect cover and means one less thing to buy/carry around. It was quite the challenge but I had to do what I needed to do for Edie regardless of how comfortable I was.
Over the course of the last 15 weeks I have had numerous public nursing sessions and to be honest my favorite place to nurse had become a park bench, especially during the farmers market. It is peaceful spot and Edie always seems to nurse really well, bonus I get to people watch while I nurse and get to enjoy the fresh air. I have come to really love nursing outside and will take that over nursing in the car any day.
Before giving birth I was relatively modest but child birth changed that all for me. Don’t get me wrong I’m still pretty modest but I am more relaxed about things. I know that breast feeding is the best thing I can give my baby and I unfortunately have a difficult time letting down to the pump (that’s a whole other post) so pumping a bottle to give E while we are out is not an option. That being said I had two options breastfeeding in public or staying at home until E stops nursing so frequently and/or eats solids. Since the second option would drive me crazy I had to figure out a way to make it work. As I said above I just jumped into it and it was awkward and slightly uncomfortable but now it’s second nature to me.
To help make the situation more comfortable I have nursed in the privacy of the car, covered with a muslin cover or breastfeeding cover, or found a relatively private public spot. For those who are feeling uncomfortable breastfeeding in public I encourage you to get a breastfeeding cover it makes things much more private. When you go to friends houses ask to use a private room to nurse in (not the bathroom because really would YOU want to eat in a bathroom? I didn’t think so.)
My biggest tip is to get out and do it! The more you do it the more comfortable you will be so start out small with maybe even just going in your backyard or on your porch to start and then head out to the market and then over time make your excursions longer and you will find that breastfeeding in public will get easier.
What others have to say:
How do you feel about breastfeeding in public? Do you have any tips or a story to share?
If you have a question for us please email us firstname.lastname@example.org we’d love to hear from you!
kathleen ojo @ onward; inward
Great response and props for breastfeeding comfortably in public! I’ve been asked this before too but find it hard to answer because I’m not a remotely modest person – I’ll whip out a boob, sans cover, in front of my parents, male and female friends… anyone, basically (i use a cover in public, just trying to be considerate to those who are more sensitive). It honestly doesn’t bother me, and I see no reason to be embarrassed about feeding my baby the way my body was designed to.
I agree! I used a cover at first but now I rarely do!
I remember when I was young – not quite school-aged – I watched a young woman beside me in church breastfeeding. At the time I had no idea (NONE!) what she was doing, but at the same time, I could tell that whatever it was, it was normal and natural. I think that contrast between confusion and confidence is why I remember it so clearly today, and I’m sure it’s also what has shaped my opinion on the matter today – I’m *not* a mother and may never be, but I really believe that if a small child can figure it that it’s natural, no woman should ever feel ashamed or shy.
What a beautiful way to put things! You are right it is just a natural thing for women to do!
I didn’t ever breastfeed my son in public (I think once I did it in the car and was afraid of everyone seeing me), but things changed when my daughter arrived. I’ve breastfed her walking around the fair (with a cover over her while she’s in the carrier), at the zoo, and in a restaurant. My daughter will not take a bottle so it’s either stay at home with her or nursing in public. Thankfully my husband is very supportive and has said if someone has a problem with it (especially because I’m always covered with a nursing cover) that they will need to get over it 🙂
I am glad you have embarrassed breast feeding in public the second time around! It is nice to be able to leave the house!
Never had a problem with it. I’ve breastfed uncovered on a moving subway, on the floor of the Eaton Centre (because someone didn’t give up their seat), during a presentation that I had to do for class, and even in front of my tutorial group that I was a teaching assistant/tutorial leader for at York University! If people don’t want to see boobs, they can look elsewhere. It’s not my job to manage their discomfort!
I agree with your last statement! Such a great way to put things! I don’t even think twice when nursing now and rarely use a cover aka her blanket but usually only for her benefit (warmth) than modesty. When we were at the Eaton Centre in Montreal I went to change E and stumbled upon a bathroom with a private changing room/feeding suite with a nice rocking chair and a warmer for bottles! It was nice to sit and feed in there bc the Raton Centre was packed the hustle and bustle was so distracting for her.