Breastfeeding in public - the seasoned Mum's guide
'Someone give me tips for breastfeeding in public. I accidentally just flashed 10 people at the park!'
As much as I adore my tiny niece, she's not exactly the greatest conversationalist, and, unsurprisingly her mum, my sister-in-law, is ready to venture full-on back to the land of adults. For some of us, that can be a wee bit daunting (see our previous blog post on packing for the First Day Out). Between latching gracefully in a coffee shop without flashing the neighbouring table and dealing with no nursing pillow, some breastfeeding mums might be feeling a touch of extra anxiety. Fear not - we've gotcha with some tried-and-tested hacks from experienced mamas to get you back out and about with confidence.
1 Dress smart
No, not small professional, smart using your head:
The absolute ideal for those planners among you is to go through your closet before baby is born, and separate out your existing clothes. That way, none of that precious between-feed-and-nap-and-diaper-change getting yourself ready time is spent trying to find something you can comfortably nurse in. Specially designed nursing clothing is an option, as is anything that opens or pulls down. My personal favourite was tops that pull UP with a tank top underneath to keep my midsection covered and warm! A nursing bra with easily opened clips is a big YES too.
2 Get comfy
Find yourself a chair with a back - lots of malls now have dedicated nursing rooms. Crucially, remember that you are allowed to feed your children in public all of North America so find yourself that comfy chair wherever you can!
3 Use a nursing cover - but only if you want to!
Breastfeeding in public is protected across North America, (and in Canada women are allowed to be topless anywhere men are!) but first-timers especially may feel more comfortable with a nursing cover. Enter the Essential Muslin. Pop the muslin round your neck like a scarf (or even wear it out the door!). Baby's head honestly covers much of the breast, so the latch part is the most exposed bit. Turn away a little, relax and get that little mouth in there. Now pull a little of the muslin fabric down over yourself and as much of baby's head as you are comfortable with. It's light and breathable, and also great for distractible older kiddos, helping guard against the old 'clamp and turn to see what's going on' OUCH!
(Check out our IG reel this week to see the Ammonite Muslin in action)
4 Practice holds at home without a nursing pillow
Lugging around a nursing pillow is no joke, and not really an option for popping to a coffee shop. If you are used to using a nursing pillow at home, try experimenting with positioning baby facing your body, either in a layback position or older babies can sit facing on your lap. Many people have had success nursing in a carrier by loosening the straps. Alternatively, pack a jersey blanket in your diaper bag to roll up for support in lieu of the pillow.
5 Smile sweetly and get on with your day!
Here in Vancouver most people are really supportive of breastfeeding - and it's incredible how many people won't even notice you're doing it. Keep your head up, you confidence up and remember that anyone complaining shouldn't be staring at your boobs anyway!!