Tips & Techniques

2 Oct

Here you’ll find a bunch of tips and techniques on how to breastfeed in public so you, your baby and those around you can feel comfortable.

I have had a few girlfriends who either didn’t nurse their baby at all or had a very short breastfeeding relationship. Of course there are many reasons for this and I can respect their decision but the reason that saddens me the most is when they say it’s “inconvenient”. One friend of mine who’s baby is 8 weeks old has “never attempted to breastfeed in public”. To me, women have the amazing privilege to bond with a baby in a way even the best dad in the world isn’t able to do and to terminate that relationship early because of fear of the public is a terrible thought.

Educate yourself and feel empowered!

Tip 1. What are the laws in your area? – If you’re nervous about being kicked out of a restaurant or being asked to move to a “private” area just for feeding your baby, know your rights. Find out the laws in your area. Most states and provinces have laws to protect nursing moms from being discriminated against. Ontario’s slogan is “anywhere, anytime”. Two simple words that say so much.

Technique 2. Unfortunate gawking – I applaud the moms that can “whip it out” without a second thought. Personally I’ve never been one to do that but those that do have to be ready for whomever passes by. Sadly today there is so much porno and sex wherever you look and although boobs are there specifically for your baby (although most men may tell you different). You may notice a teen boy walk by and gawk or an older fuddy duddy that looks at you in disgust. We are working so hard to be accepted everywhere think before yelling at them, we need to pick our battles. The gawker will never change and neither will the fuddy duddy.

Tip 3. Practice! Practice! Practice! – Teach yourself a few techniques in front of a mirror, friends or your partner. Learn how to unhook yourself, position the baby, adjust any blankets or covers that you like to use. The better you get at it, the more comfortable you’ll be with no fumbling.

Technique 4. Stare her down! – Whenever possible, watch another mom do it! How much can you see? What is she wearing or using? What position is she holding the baby in? Everyone has their way of doing things, but that doesn’t mean you can’t steal a trick or two!

Tip 5. What is she wearing? – Nursing Clothing! There are so many different styles on the market today that are actually flattering AND functional! Crazy, I know! If nothing else, nursing bras are a must. Invest in good quality, they’re well worth it. Sadly, I know this from experience when I bought some cheap ones off eBay and my boob kept poking through the flap and the side of the bra because the fabric was flimsy. It can get very expensive to buy a wardrobe full of nursing clothes so another great idea is to cut slits into old t-shirts and tank tops to wear underneath your blouse so you don’t have to worry about pulling your whole shirt up to your chin showing off more than you’d like to. Practice at home so you’re comfortable and know how to work it when you’re out and you GO GIRL!

Technique 6. Use a nursing cover – nursing covers are wonderful for the shy. There are many designs out there to choose from and to suit your personality. From pink skulls for the rocker mom to soft Victorian scrolls, you’ll find the one for you. The best part is they are very simple to use. Simply slip it over your head and it has a peek-a-boo area so you can see your baby and she can see you but nobody can see what you don’t want them to see. You see?? You’ll have this technique down one-handed in no time. Baby in one arm and with a swift motion, you’re covered with the other.

Tip 7. Be proactive – Don’t wait for your baby to get hungry and let out the siren when you’re in a quiet boutique. You’ll get to know your baby’s cues and you’ll be able to guess what time you’ll need to feed him. Make sure you get to feed him before that alarm goes off.

Technique 8. Look at that baby sling! – A baby sling is a great trick for any mom. All babies need to be held. Some need to be held all day long, which is a little exhausting for mom and it’s proven that babies who are worn close to mommy’s heart cry less and may help with that dreaded colic. Wearing your baby in a sling is a very easy and convenient way to nurse your baby when in public. The best part? You’re covered! No blanket to fall off!

Tip 9. Empower and Inspire! – By breastfeeding in public, not only will you feel confident the more often you do it but you will have empowered yourself! An incredible feeling that is a great gift to yourself. You may not know it but by nursing your baby in a local coffee shop may inspire another mom to do the same. She may have just as much fear as you do but by being the example, she knows she can do it too and is not alone. Remember that mom you watched earlier to see how she does it?

Technique 10. Act Normal – If you act freaked out then other people will freak out. The baby will feel your anxiety and you’ll just draw attention to yourself with the fear in your eyes and squirming in your chair. When the waiter comes to your table to ask if anyone wants dessert, just smile and say “yes please!” after all… you just put a big check mark next to your life’s TO DO list!

Tip 11. Use a Nursing Necklace – A nursing necklace is a great tool for older babies. As they become more aware of their surroundings, trying to nurse your baby in a mall full of people and noise becomes a challenge, squirming, twisting, pinching and pulling mom’s hair. A nursing necklace is full of colors, shapes and textures to keep baby’s interest where it should be, front and center!

Technique 12. Use a Nursing Room – Find a nursing room in your area or call ahead wherever you are going to see if they have one available for your use. Most are quiet, private rooms that are comfortable to most moms because they’re out of the house but still out of the public eye.

Tip 13 – Restaurant: – Ask for a booth or a table in the corner. Find a seat that will be comfortable and discreet for you to nurse. Some like to prop up their menu on the table till they get the baby latched on and comfortably nursing then put it down, relax and decide what wonderful meal you’re going to have someone else prepare for YOU!

Tip 14 – Lift your shirt up: – If you’re prone to leaking or forgot your nursing pads while your nursing, tug up your shirt on the other side. This way, when you’re done and putting yourself back together, any wet spot will be below your breast area and won’t be as noticable while it dries!

Tip 15 – Cut holes in your shirt: That’s right, I’m suggesting you cut holes in your shirt. No, not the nice ones, get yourself a bunch of tank tops. I suggest getting them in the men’s department. They’re cheaper and usually come in packages of 4 or more! Cut slits over each side where your breasts are and wear your normal shirt on top. That way, every shirt is a nursing shirt and your stomach, side and back remain covered!

“I am beautiful as I am. I am the shape that was gifted. My breasts are no longer perky and upright like when I was a teenager. My hips are wider than that of a fashion model’s. For this I am glad, for these are the signs of a life lived.”
~ Cindy Olsen, co-owner of The Body Objective



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