My Tips for Breastfeeding in Public

In the very beginning, lets face it, if you haven't done it before it's pretty common to feel like you have no idea what you're doing. Everything is so intense. Activities you didn't really think twice about before, like heading out for a casual shopping trip, can feel seriously daunting and overwhelming with a newborn baby in tow.

What if the baby starts crying? Where will I feed them? What if I can't feed 'discretely' enough? What if I make people feel awkward? What if I leak everywhere? What will people think of me? 

Despite living in what people like to think of as more progressive times, breastfeeding in public is still a talking point. It's still something that you have to think about. And it bloody shouldn't be. 

After reading Gillian's of post about public breastfeeding, I saw that the results of a recent poll had found that 1 in 5 breastfeeding mothers feel other people do not want them to feed in public. What's more, a third (34%) of those mothers also reported feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable about feeding their babies outside of the home. 

Breastfeeding in public is something that I feel strongly about. In my opinion it should be taken for granted and certainly shouldn't be a 'thing' that causes women to feel anxious. Sadly however it still does, and when Harry and I first started our breastfeeding journey I would certainly have included myself in that 34% who felt uncomfortable, nervous and super self-aware.

5 months in I feel much less phased about feeding in public. It's simply a necessity in our lives and something we are extremely proud of doing.

I'm no expert, but below is a list of the best breastfeeding hacks, tips and advice I've collected since I started feeding Harry in June. I hope those out there who might be in need of some support and encouragement to feed in public find it helpful. Please also feel free to add any further tips and advice you may have in the comments :)   

1. Give no shits

It's easier said than done but giving no shits about what people may or may not think of you or what you are doing is the absolute best way to approach breast feeding in public. And there are some amazing women out there doing just that. I saw a lady in the summer walking along the street feeding her little one whilst chatting to a friend. She was so confident and laid back with what she was doing she needed no extra layer or muslin blanket to cover her body. I silently saluted her because that is exactly as it should be.

Remember your rights as a breast feeding mother. It is against the law to ask a someone to leave a premises, to refuse service or give a poorer quality of service to mothers who feed in public. The law is well and truly on our side with this one. 

2. Layering

As much as I wish I could be like the lady I saw in summer, I'm just not that confident. My friend Jo gave me this piece of advice and it has literally been the key to making me feel comfortable when breastfeeding in public. It basically involves wearing a vest underneath a t-shirt or jumper, pulling the vest down and your top layer up in order to feed. This method reveals a smaller amount of your body and for me was and is the best way I have found to feed. 

The only downside to this is that it radically limits your outfit choices. 

2. Spare Tops

Sometimes you will leak. It's just a fact. It's happened to me in a couple of awkward situations but you know what, in my experience people tend to have an encouraging amount of grace about these things if they know your a breast feeding mother, and if not you just look like a sloppy fucker but who honestly cares about that? 

Pack a spare top so you have something to change into when it happens.

3. Actual Nursing Bras

Ever tried to breast feed whilst wearing a normal bra? Because I'm a tight bastard and only bought 2 nursing bras I do it all the time. It's not fun, or comfortable, in fact it's an absolute ball ache all round so my best advice would just be to buy some damn nursing bras already. They are really a necessity and not something you should feel you have to save money on. 

4. Breast Pads with Adhesive Strips

Best. Things. Ever. I use these ones from Boots. They stay in place 90% of the time and work for me at night time too. In my experience, any other breast pad has the annoying habit of rolling up, moving about or straight up falling out of your bra. 

5. Only do what YOU feel comfortable doing

Don't make yourself feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, just because you think you should be breastfeeding in public. If you want some privacy and feel like you'd like to leave a room or a particular situation to feed your baby, do it. And don't let anyone make you feel guilty either. Do exactly what you want to do because at the end of the day this is about you and your baby. No one else. 

6. Remember to give no shits

It's my new year's resolution. Life is too short to care about any form of negativity. Other people's problems are exactly that; other people's. Let them keep them. Don't take them on board.



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