If you’re breastfeeding, you don’t want to be cooped up in the house all the time, so it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll have to nurse in public. That’s quite alright! Whether you’re a free-spirit who doesn’t mind exposing herself or you prefer to stay modest, you should nurse in whatever way makes you the most comfortable. Here are some tips for nursing in public.
1. Know your rights – In most places of the country, you are well within your rights to nurse in public. It’s a biological need you are fulfilling for your baby. People may give you odd looks, but you can’t get in trouble or it. If you’re traveling outside the country, however, you need to check into local laws.
2. Practice in front of a mirror – You may feel exposed while breastfeeding, but your infant covers most of your chest. You are more covered than you realize. Watch yourself in a mirror to see this.
3. Wear a proper nursing bra – Nursing bras aren’t just designed to be comfortable. They are made to give you easy access to your breasts. You’ll want this flexibility so you can open yourself without getting undressed. Some sports bras work as well.
4. Wear something comfortable – Loose-fitting clothing is usually the best for nursing so you can lift it and move it aside without cutting into your skin. Button-downs are helpful, too. Avoid heavy materials that you’ll have to hold out of the way.
5. Use a nursing cover – A nursing cover is a light-weight garment that drapes over your baby so you can breastfeed out in the open without feeling exposed. It’s light enough so your baby doesn’t become hot and agitated underneath and folds up small so you can tuck it in your diaper bag. We’re coming out with one soon this fall. Read more about the Nurse Air.
6. Pick a good spot – When you’re nursing, it won’t be easy to just pick up and move, so to save yourself the trouble, pick somewhere out of the way of foot traffic. If you’re at a restaurant, sit somewhere you won’t have to stand to let people by. Some malls and shopping centers have breastfeeding rooms with comfortable chairs, but don’t feel like you have to sit in a closet to nurse.
7. Keep a witty response in mind – I doubt anyone will ever approach you, even if they disapprove. But if they do, it will help to have a clever response ready in case someone does. This is a quick way to turn someone away. For example, if you’re asked to nurse in private, say “We don’t eat in the bathroom and I don’t expect my baby too either.”
8. Smile – Sometimes people disapprove because they’ve never encountered this situation before. Before you become defensive, give everyone a warm, comforting smile. If they realize you’re not being indecent, they will relax.
Written by Karen Barski, BSN, RN, Mother of five, Certified Infant Care Specialist & Instructor, & Inventor of the Woombie Baby Swaddle
Karen has been an RN for 18 years, and has worked in many different nursing roles. As a Certified Infant Care Specialist, Karen counsels thousands of families yearly on a multitude of issues relating to pregnancy and infancy. Also, as a mother of five, she has invaluable experience and tips to share.
Since 2007, Karen’s company, KB Designs, has invented a line of signature baby swaddle products that have helped parents easily transition their new babies from womb to home. There are multiple designs and sizes so that babies can enjoy the comfort and security of the Woombie up until the time they begin to roll.
Each product has been created and designed by Karen because of a need she identified in her life with her five children. With convenience, safety, and fashion in mind, KB Designs has helped over a half million babies and counting!
For more information, visit www.woombie.com.
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