Breastfeeding in public can take some getting used to. The wonderful thing about breastfeeding is that everything you need is right there with you and readily available. Although breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby it’s only natural to feel a little nervous when doing so in public, particularly if you’ve never done it before.
If you find it hard to breastfeed in public, you can try some of the tips below for breastfeeding discreetly, so you can do so with confidence next time bub starts getting restless while you’re away from home.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
If you’re feeling apprehensive about breastfeeding in public, try practicing at home in front of a mirror so you can see what you look like while feeding. You’ll see that you’re not exposing as much of your breast as you might have initially thought, as your baby’s head conceals it.
You may find breastfeeding in public easier while visiting family or friends - this is a great place to start!
- What are the best clothes for breastfeeding?
If you can afford to buy some breastfeeding clothing, it is so worth the investment. Here at Flourish Maternity, we offer breastfeeding-friendly clothing that is designed to keep you feeling amazing and to provide easy access for bubs while breastfeeding. Our clothing ranges from breastfeeding t-shirts, dresses, long sleeve tops & hoodies which are designed with discreet openings to allow you to feed your baby comfortably and effortlessly. There are a variety of different styles to suit your preference.
- Do a little research
Prior to heading out with your baby, make a list of appropriate places to breastfeed in public that are close by, so you don’t have a last-minute scramble to find somewhere. Shopping malls often have baby-feeding rooms, which are quiet and private with a comfy chair and changing facilities. Ask other local mums for advice on the best places for public nursing nearby.
- Breastfeeding covers are great!
If you want more privacy while you’re breastfeeding, you can cover up using a lightweight wrap draped around your shoulders. Ultimately, you may find your little one makes the decision for you. Some babies hate being covered while feeding, while others get distracted if they aren’t.
- Know your rights
If you’re breastfeeding your baby in public and someone complains, you could politely remind them of your legal rights.
Under New Zealand's laws, you are 100% legally entitled to breastfeed anytime, anywhere and at any place. Whether you're at work, on public transport, in parks and reserves or cafés and restaurants, or anywhere else – you are allowed to breastfeed your baby!
- Be relaxed
Feel comfortable. Before you start, make sure that you have somewhere to sit that is comfortable and has back support.
Ask friends and whānau to sit with you in a café or shopping mall while you feed your baby.
Breastfeeding is the perfect way to feed your baby when you’re out. Breast milk is free, fresh and requires no preparation. It’s your right to feed your baby anywhere, any time and any place. Don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed or embarrassed for fulfilling your duties as a mother!
There is nothing more empowering than connecting with other new mothers who are in a similar situation as you, in a safe and caring environment. A new mother's group is a great resource for advice and venturing out together can help you gain the confidence you need to nurse around strangers. You can form your own support group by connecting with family or friends that also have children.
Plunket also has useful resources for everything you need to know about breastfeeding https://www.plunket.org.nz/caring-For-your-child/feeding/breastfeeding