Breastfeeding in restaurants - etiquette?

(44 Posts)
AuntieMaggie Sat 02-Aug-14 10:13:30

What is the etiquette for feeding in restaurants?

I'm a first time mum with a 5 week old and twice now we've been out shopping and stopped for food somewhere and as soon as my food arrived ds has woken up and wanted feeding. I've ended up rushing my food and not finishing it so I could leave and feed him. But I don't want to do this all the time. Any advice?

CeliaBowen Sat 02-Aug-14 10:17:14

Ok, firstly, you are legally allowed to feed the baby anywhere he's hungry. (How do they ALWAYS know when your food arrives?!) grin You don't need to leave the restaurant.

In reality, it takes a bit of getting used to feeding out and about. Some people are happy to just go for it, others feel more nervous.

How do you feel about it? Would you be confident to feed him in public?
There are lots of things you can do to help with increasing your confidence feeding in public, there will be lots of ideas on this thread in about 30 seconds' time, I'm sure!

Congratulations on your new baby! thanks

LEMmingaround Sat 02-Aug-14 10:17:25

Just feed him. Its perfectly acceptable. I fed anywhere and everywhere. So long as your comfy and have space. You can take a muslin square with you to be discrete and drape over shoulder. For me it was more about space and comfort. So avoided places with bench seats etc.

CeliaBowen Sat 02-Aug-14 10:19:12

Ha, I was expecting loads of other people to post while I was typing!

If you're not too confident just yet, you could try sitting opposite a mirror while feeding so that you can see just how little of your boob others can see. If you are still not quite happy, you could use a cover, either a specifically made nursing cover, or a muslin, or a scarf, to give yourself a bit of privacy.

Hope this helps!

DuckandCat Sat 02-Aug-14 10:20:03

I used to sit somewhere that I'd be comfortable to feed. E.g a table on a corner at the back so I could face away from people.

Not saying that you should do this and it's absolutely fine to breast feed in a restaurant and not hind at the back! It just made me feel more comfortable in the early days.

As DD got older I would also express a bottle for when we were going out to eat. That way DH could feed her while I ate a hot dinner with two hands wink also meant I could dress up a bit and not worry about wearing something with easy boob access!

littleducks Sat 02-Aug-14 10:20:47

I feed my baby sitting at the table. I always cover with either my own clothes (Cardigan or scarf) or a muslin/baby blanket is my outfit is unsuitable. I feel more comfortable like that abd able to continue conversation with waiters for example. It helps to tilt your chair slightly so side with baby feeding is further from table and the other hand is closer so you can eat one handed.

You don't have to cover if you prefer, that's my personal preference. But I'm guessing of you currently leave the room you wouldn't be comfortable just feeding.

TerrariaMum Sat 02-Aug-14 10:21:12

Just feed him. He wants dinner too. smile And CeliaBowen is right, you are legally allowed to feed him anywhere.

With my first, I kept Libby Purves' line in my head to use on any objectors 'Screaming or feeding, you choose' wink. Also, most people won't notice or won't care ime.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sat 02-Aug-14 10:26:06

Think about where you sit in advance so you've got some elbow space, I agree that bench seats are to be avoided if possible. Also you may prefer to be away from windows that look into busy streets (I soon learnt that one!)

Order food that needs very little cutting (pasta is easy), or cut things up before you start feeding.

I found breast feeding vest tops underneath another light top were handy to avoid flashing any of my tummy. I could unclip my bra and vest and ease those down, then get ds in close and lift my outer top just enough to latch him on. Both of mine were unfussy feeders at that age so it went fine. It got a bit more tricky as they got older and nosier but by then their feed times were more predictable.

The main thing is to try to remember that most people will be busy enjoying their meal and won't care or even notice what you're up to. Please don't cut your meals out short, bf is fab for allowing you to get out and about with just you, your dc and a couple of nappies.

CityDweller Sat 02-Aug-14 10:32:43

The etiquette is that you can feed in restaurants!

Vest top under whatever you're wearing (e.g. t-shirt). Reach under t-shirt to unclip bra and pull down vest/ pull out boob. Put baby in place, whip up t-shirt and latch on and no one will even notice and your tummy and top of boob are well covered. You get better at this with practice. Baby has a nice feed and most likely a little snooze after while you get to enjoy your meal and chat with companions.

CeliaBowen Sat 02-Aug-14 11:39:49

Please don't feel you have to feed your baby in the loo, either... you wouldn't eat your food there - he can enjoy a nice restaurant as much as you!

BrianButterfield Sat 02-Aug-14 11:49:54

I've done it plenty of times. Personally i seat myself where I will be most comfortable if baby needs a feed - I prefer not to feel 'onstage' so choose a seat with my back to most people or in a corner or booth. But that's just my preference as it stops you getting flustered if you need to faff about. Some restaurants have comfy seats in the waiting area so I might decamp there, again for my own comfort.

Top tip in early days is to wear a big drapy scarf. They work well to give you that extra bit of coverage without drawing attention to the fact you're covering up! Use the scarf when you're undoing your bra clips and getting your boob out and then just move it when it comes to latching on. The scarf can also cover any stray bits of flesh if you prefer. After a while you care less about it anyway IMO but it's nice to have it there as a kind of back up and to whip over you if baby decides to delatch and have a look around.

AuntieMaggie Sat 02-Aug-14 11:55:21

thank you for the advice - this is exactly what I wanted. I know the legal aspect I just wasn't sure what people did in reality. both times he was asleep in the pram so I was more focussed on room for that than a discreet table for feeding. And at home I pretty much just sit with my boob out but I haven't yet fed in front of family. I also ditched the nursing bra as I found that because I'm quite big it was difficult to get my boob out so am using cotton tshirt bras instead as I can pull them down really easily.

I feel a bit nervous about feeding in public but because these places are more of a formal setting I'm a bit less confident.

BrianButterfield Sat 02-Aug-14 12:11:20

You end up with an automatic sense of where's a good place to sit - DH has it now too and even when we're alone we avoid eg window tables! Nobody has ever ever commented and I've fed millions of times in public (maybe not millions but it feels like it).

Ememem84 Sat 02-Aug-14 12:19:10

I wa out at a restaurant last week and lady at our table brought new baby (mutual friends birthday). Half way through she started feeding him. Boob out (right out) and off she went. I was a bit shock but actually more impressed. I do to think I'd be brave enough to just go for it.

Waiter copped a proper eyeful though. And he looked v unc

Ememem84 Sat 02-Aug-14 12:19:33

Uncomfortable.

I'd say go for it.

hollie84 Sat 02-Aug-14 12:22:21

DS2 was tricky to get latched on as a newborn so I was a boob right out type! If waiters ever felt uncomfortable they were professional enough not to show it grin

ElephantsNeverForgive Sat 02-Aug-14 12:32:10

A quiet corner and a seat you can move are best. Places with fixed benches don't let you optimise space for baby while still eatting one handed.

A quite corner because you'll probably feel more comfortable, but also because all, but the smallest babies start looking round at people passing by, often with your nipple still in their mouths.

CityDweller Sat 02-Aug-14 14:59:11

Funnily enough I remember feeling more self-conscious in front of certain family members and friends (especially older male ones) than in 'public'. In a busy restaurant people are usually too caught up in their own meal/ conversation to notice what's going on around them anyway.

AuntieMaggie Sat 02-Aug-14 18:12:12

Funny isn't it citydweller - I was in hospital for a week post birth and everyone saw me with my boobs out because I was feeding so often and couldn't give a hoot but I can't feed in front of my parents... In restaurants I just don't want to bother other people if that makes sense?! Silly I know!

Imeg Sat 02-Aug-14 19:12:29

I have a very big drapy scarf - I feel that faffing about with draping that over me and the baby gives people in the near vicinity a bit of warning so they can look the other way if they want to. But they can't see anything anyway.

Mummyk1982 Sat 02-Aug-14 22:38:08

I'm rubbish at discrete feeding and I don't see why my DD should be draped with a muslin in the heat we've been getting recently- I wouldn't et my meal under a muslin whilst cuddled up close to someone in this hot weather. So I'm afraid I just flip it out! I do try to keep what I can of myself covered up- usually DD keeps me well covered. I am mindful of of who is around when I chose a seat in a restaurant- eg teenage boys and older men probably aren't comfy with it. Though I've had lovely comments from older people- I had to sit on a bench in a shopping centre to feed DD when she was about 10 weeks and there was an elderly lady at there having a cuppa- I say next to her and excused myself as I needed to feed an she said that it was a priveledge to sit with me whilst I fed her. When she finished her cuppa she upped and left and an older man came and sat next to me and just faced the other way- once if finished I told him and he spent the next 5 minutes chatting to me :-)

Mummyk1982 Sat 02-Aug-14 22:39:17

Sorry for the million typos!

Make sure the lights not shining in his eyes
If you're going to drop food on him make sure it's not too hot
That's it really grin

I did the drapy scarf thing but that was about it. If DD needed feeding she got fed. Nobody said anything - this was before the law changed.

I'm just back from a festival and there were a few women with young babies there. Most of them just got their boobs out when necessary without any cover-up (although to be fair this is the sort of place where nobody would bat an eyelid about it).

As long as you're comfortable then yes, don't rush your food, just relax and feed when necessary.

Congratulations on your new baby.

BonaDea Sat 02-Aug-14 22:53:57

Just feed him. I fed DS in tons of restaurants, cafés and pubs... I didn't bother with a muslin or ridiculous bf cover (each to their own) but went for the vest top+loose top combo which is totally discreet.

Most others would just rather your baby isn't crying than care why he isn't crying! It gives you time to eat your meal and relax - just remember to cut up your own food before you start so you can eat one handed!! wink

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