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How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com Photos by Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project

How to properly breastfeed in public

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips

Hi mamas, I’m Lacey Parr, a certified lactation educator counselor and mom of 3. I’m here today to talk about something I am particularly passionate about… helping moms feel confident to breastfeed in public! Enjoy! Special thanks to Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project for the images in this post.

How to properly breastfeed in public

Breastfeeding In Public: How to Find Your Confidence

When it comes to breastfeeding in public, there seems to be a lot controversy around the topic. Our newsfeeds seem to be flooded with stories about moms being shamed about breastfeeding away from home. But is that the real story? Is it wrong to breastfeed in public? How could it be wrong to feed your baby? I’m here to remind you that the shaming and eye-rolling situations are the exceptions, not the rule. Millions of mothers feed their babies in millions of places each day without any issue. But since this can be a sensitive issue that some new moms feel uncomfortable with, let’s talk about some topics with public breastfeeding so you can breastfeed in public places with confidence!

  • Reasons to consider breastfeeding wherever you go
  • State & Federal Laws: What Are Your Rights?
  • How to address others
  • Where To Breastfeed in Public
  • Tips for Breastfeeding in Public
  • Breastfeeding in public stories

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com Photos by Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project

Reasons to consider breastfeeding wherever you go

One of the top reasons mothers wean has to do with apprehension about breastfeeding in public. I want to help dispel those concerns today. We all eat when we are hungry and so, your baby requires the same thing. Yes, they may need to feed more often and what may seem like at the most inconvenient times, but all they know is that they are hungry and that you satisfy that need. Let’s talk about some of the reasons breastfeeding on the go is easier than an alternative:

  • Your milk is always the right temperature.
  • Nothing extra to carry. You’ve got all the “equipment” with you.  
  • Not having to worry about feeling engorged when out and about.
  • It’s a great way to connect with baby during your busy day together. Baby is taking in all the sights and sounds of being in a public place. Resting to nurse and just focusing on you will help baby to feel calm and secure.

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com Photos by Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project

State & Federal Laws: What Are Your Rights?

The majority of states have laws on the books that protect a mother’s right to breastfeed in any location that she has the legal right to be (1). Learn your state’s specific law at breastfeedinglaw.com. So keep on nursing! It’s your right. In addition, this knowledge can create confidence, especially if someone were to confront you about feeding your baby in public. 

How to address others

In the case that someone does react negatively to your legal right to feed your child, here are a few responses that have been empowering to other moms:

  • “I have the legal right to be here and to feed my infant.”
  • “Oh? You aren’t comfortable with me keeping my baby alive in public?”
  • “Your comfort is not my concern. My concern is my baby’s comfort.”
  • “You can look away if you aren’t comfortable with my feeding my infant.”

If you are like me and try to avoid others when breastfeeding out and about or have an easily distracted baby, finding a good spot is key. Read on how to find a great spot to breastfeed in public.

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com Photos by Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project
Where To Breastfeed in Public

When your baby gets hungry while out and about for the first time, you might look about frantically for a good spot.  Here are a few places that some moms have found helpful:

  • In a carrier. Feeding while walking around can make a new mom feel like a pro – comfortable for baby and people may not even be able to tell you’re breastfeeding. Read our tips on breastfeeding in a carrier here.
  • In the shade if you’re outside on a hot day.
  • Many public places have a nursing room, research locations or the Pumpspotting app for the closest one.
  • Out of the hustle and bustle. Often a quiet corner can be a great place to get a baby quieted and ready to nurse.
  • If you are in a health clinic or office and would like a private room, just ask! You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many people want to accommodate you.
  • Anywhere and wherever you want.

Remember, you have a right to feed your baby whenever and wherever you need.  Read on for 5 tried and true tips for breastfeeding in public from moms who have successfully nursed their children wherever they go.

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com Photos by Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project

Tips for Breastfeeding in Public

  1. Relax. Find a nice spot where your baby will be less distracted. Drop your shoulders, push your hips forward in your chair and get comfy. You’re feeding your baby, that is all. When you are relaxed, your baby can be relaxed as well.
  2. Use a cover, or not. Decide on the amount of coverage (or not) you are comfortable with. Some moms feel more comfortable using a cover (we love Covered Goods). Some babies nurse well under them, as they can help block out noisy distractions. Other babies kick them off. Do whatever works best for you and your baby.
  3. The two-shirt method. I like to use what is often referred to as the two-shirt method. This is when Undercover Mama (use LLINK for 20% off!) tanks really come in handy. I reach under my shirt to pull down my bra/tank and then latch baby as I lift my shirt. Easy-peasy. My t-shirt covers the top of my breast, my tank covers my stomach and baby covers the rest.
  4. Use a carrier. I have found this to be the easiest way to nurse in public. Ergobaby’s babywearing educator wrote a blog post about this for us recently.
  5. Give yourself a pat on the back. You are feeding your baby beautifully wherever you are.

Breastfeeding in public stories

We have collected some stories from real moms who found confidence breastfeeding in public. I hope they inspire you as well!

“I was away from baby most of the day working. My husband came to pick me up from my event. But at the last minute, a bunch of women came to my table to try and buy product. So, I just latched baby on and kept working. It was a beautiful experience with all the women being supportive and being my hands!” -D. R. Vigil

“I was at a store with a 2 month old and my 2 other crazy boys ages  4 and 2. It was around Christmastime and we were waiting in line for an online pickup. I wasn’t going to leave the line to feed her so I fed her right there in line standing up and the two women behind me were so nice and in awe that I could multi-task so well! Haha. I am grateful they were so helpful and nice while I was feeding my baby. I don’t think I ever felt so much confidence in breastfeeding in public before that experience.” -A. Denney 

“I saw a photo from early in American history where women were openly nursing in church. I thought, ‘if it was modest and accepted in THEIR day, it definitely should be in our’s. If someone take issue with isn’t, that is their problem, Not mine.’ Now I nurse in church and just about everywhere else.” -J. P. Bellinger 

I hope that you can remember that breastfeeding wherever you go is a great choice for you and baby. Understanding that breastfeeding is your right and protected by law can be empowering! Know that there are many options for breastfeeding in public and no wrong way to do it! I hope this reduces any stress or concern you have about breastfeeding in public. Remember that all of us at Lactation Link are cheering you on.

Thanks for stopping by,

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com

Lacey Parr, BS, CLEC

Sources

  1. http://breastfeedinglaw.com/federal-law/