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Tips for Breastfeeding in Public

Find out how you can comfortably nurse beyond the confines of your own home.

By
Cherylyn Feierabend,
August 1, 2009
Episode #124

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Did you know that the week of August 1st through 7th is World Breastfeeding Week? I sure didn’t, but it seems like a good time to talk about the subject of breastfeeding! I’m going to talk about some of the ways you can feel more comfortable when you are nursing in public.

First of all, I think it’s important to note that not every mom chooses to breastfeed and that’s OK. We have all been informed that breastfeeding is the healthiest form of nourishment for a baby, but not everyone is physically able to breastfeed and for some moms, it’s simply not the right choice for them. It is a very personal choice and I believe that each mom has the right to make that choice for herself and that choice should be respected.

The Right to Nurse in Public

If you have chosen to breastfeed your child, you may feel like you’ve sentenced yourself to at least one year of staying home whenever you baby is hungry. I only say that because that’s how I felt when my daughter was born. The idea of nursing in public scared me to death. Nobody had ever told me that it was OK to feed my baby in public and I honestly didn’t know how. I’d never done it before. I was also still working in an office, so I didn’t get out much other than going to work, and when I was there, I was using a breast pump in the private lounge. There were a couple occasions when my husband tried to take me out to dinner and I’d have to nurse, so I went to the car because I thought that would be more private. I had no idea how wrong I was. When my daughter was 10 months old I joined the MOMS Club and there were moms nursing around me everywhere: at the mall, in restaurants, and at each other’s houses of course. They were all nursing everywhere and without shame. I was amazed and I admired those moms. I wanted to be like them! It was those moms that taught me that I have a right to nurse and my baby has a right to eat anywhere. I was empowered.

Tips for Discretion While Breastfeeding

Now, just because I was feeling empowered, didn’t mean I wasn’t still feeling modest. I’m very modest and there are tons of products on the market to help moms like me to keep themselves covered up while nursing. There are nursing bras, slings, cover-ups, specially-designed shirts and tank tops; the list goes on and on. Of course, you should think about your outfit before heading out; a one-piece outfit like a dress or overalls may not be your best option. Loose fitting tops, I found, were best because they provided additional coverage. You can invest in a special type of nursing cover-up, sometimes called a nursing wrap that goes over your head and provides full-coverage. These are handy and can definitely help keep you modest. If you don’t want to buy a special item, you don’t have to. I never did. I carried various sizes and weights of receiving blankets. It’s good to have some blankets made of lightweight material so that when you cover baby’s head, she won’t get too hot underneath.

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