At a Glance
Breastfeeding is a mom’s natural responsibility for their babies since the beginning of time. However, since breastfeeding requires the exposure of a woman’s breasts to feed their child, it can be shameful to do it in public. As a mom, it can be confusing and awkward if your newborn or younger baby gets hungry while you’re at the mall or in a public market.
Don’t feel stressed – many women around the world feel the same way as you do. Here are some tips that you might find useful if you ever need to breastfeed your baby in public without shame:
Check your Local Laws and Ordinances
While it is definitely okay to breastfeed your baby in most public places, there are some countries and areas that prohibit such an act. For instance, it may not be a pretty sight when you breastfeed in public transport with all the people staring at you. However, if you do live in a place where public breastfeeding is not something discriminated against, then you are in good luck.
Avoid Distraction or Use a Breastfeeding Station
Malls and establishments around the world will most likely have a breastfeeding station. This is very helpful for moms who are on the go and need to pay attention to their child’s hunger. Most of these private stations are located near the comfort rooms, so you will not have trouble looking for them. Breastfeeding stations are like clinics – they avoid distraction at all costs, so your baby will not feel awkward or distracted.
Put Up a Cover
Nursing covers are perhaps the best way to cover your baby and keep the public eye at bay. Other options for covering your baby while breastfeeding includes a blanket, a burp cloth, a nursing shawl or any specific clothing item that lets you breastfeed in peace without discomfort from people staring at you and your baby. Nursing bras are also a good option to make yourself feel more comfortable.
Have Confidence and a Positive Attitude
We all know this is very hard to do, especially for first-time moms. However, breastfeeding should be a naturally fun and positive activity, since you are giving your baby nourishment and the gift of breast milk in order to keep them healthy and strong. It is not something that’s supposed to be “immoral” – not feeding your baby at all is even more immoral. Try to win other people by smiling and being more confident when breastfeeding in public.
Wait for Your Baby’s Latch
When your baby latches on to your breast, he or she covers the nipple with his or her mouth. It takes a few seconds to do so, and with that, you need to cover up so that your nipple doesn’t get exposed in public eyes, especially if you have no place to avert people’s attention, such as at a park bench.
Plan and Schedule
Most first-time moms may be confused as to when and where they need to breastfeed their child. A good idea is to make notes of your child’s regular feeding schedule by observing them and timing their hunger. In this way, you will know if you have to breastfeed in public when you go somewhere, so you can get yourself prepared and bring your nursing cloth with you on your diaper bag.
Avoid Nursing in a Restroom or Comfort Room
Restrooms or comfort rooms are meant for urinating and eliminating – not for eating! Your baby might catch bacteria and viruses there if you get them exposed. Like we said above, if there is a breastfeeding clinic near the restroom, take advantage of it! If not, go somewhere else that’s more private and just explain to them how restrooms may not be safe for our child’s health.
Handle Arguments in a Civil Manner
Let’s face it – there will be people who will still think breastfeeding in public is immoral because you are basically exposing some skin. It is best not to argue with them in a violent manner if they don’t listen – just understand why their opinion is like that and walk away.
No matter how much you argue with them, most of them will not really change their mentality, since a majority of us have been conditioned that a woman’s breasts are only for sexual purposes and should not be allowed to be seen in public. However, breastfeeding is NOT a sexual act – it’s the most natural way of feeding your child. It’s their loss, not yours when you choose to breastfeed your baby in public, especially if there’s no law prohibiting you doing so.
First-time moms are perhaps the most vulnerable to these public shaming attacks when breastfeeding, which might lead to post-partum depression. If you or someone you know feels ashamed of this natural act of feeding your baby, comfort them and share with them these tips!
What do you think? What were your experiences with breastfeeding in public and how did you handle them? Let us know in the comments down below.