breasfeeding in public

(45 Posts)
lillian13 Sat 07-Apr-12 22:58:29

I am currently breastfeeding my 3 month old daughter which i love doing but i hate feeding her in public places. I am trying to find corners to hide in or i struggle to hide my breast under my babys blanket which is ridiculus for me and baby.
Please does anyone have any helpful tips for me to feed discreetly in public.
I know breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world and i shouldnt be ashamed, but i just cant help feeling like this.

Casmama Sat 07-Apr-12 23:02:48

I think layering is you friend. If you have one top that you can pull up and say a stretchy vest top underneath that you can pull down then your tummy and upper chest are covered and your dds head will cover your breast.

MNHubbie Sat 07-Apr-12 23:03:00

Ranty always picked clothing that allowed her to feed without anything showing (blouses that opened, flexible layered tops that could come up and other that could come down with ease).

It was very rare that folks knew what she was doing.

Wear loose, flowing tops with a stretchy(ish) vest top underneath. Reach up under loose top and pull vest top down to below bra level. Then the material of the other top should cover the rest.

As for attitude... well, if you can't brazen it out completely, would it help to read a magazine or look at the internet on your mobile while you are feeding?

I also found it helped to figure out in advance where I would breastfeed, meaning there wasn't an awkward moment with DS crying and not be able to find somewhere quiet.

Roseformeplease Sat 07-Apr-12 23:07:11

Not much to add but I always chose "family" restaurants and cages. Once was the only customer in Bella Pasta and asked for a quiet place to feed. The waiter, very loud and camp Italian, came round the corner with my coffee shouting "Knock, knock" Still makes me laugh.

Roseformeplease Sat 07-Apr-12 23:07:36

Cafes not cages. Could try the zoo?

LadyWidmerpool Sat 07-Apr-12 23:11:59

Keep at it, it gets easier. Even little things like your baby's head getting bigger will help. Cardigans and big scarves are good for tucking around you both. But the more you do it the more you realise that hardly anyone is paying any attention!

Just don't go too far in the other direction and absent mindedly hoick your entire nork out in Starbucks because you've forgotten you aren't at home. And not notice until your husband gives you a funny look. That certainly didn't happen to me. It was a friend of mine. Yup.

TrueRomance28 Sat 07-Apr-12 23:13:13

I'm currently pregnant with my first so I've not had chance to breast feed yet, but intend to`& know they'll be the odd occasion when I feel the need to cover up so I've brought a Mamascarf to try ( http://www.mamascarf.co.uk/ ) . Not had chance to use it yet of course, but it looks a lot nicer than those apron type things you can buy.

Also have a look at what Brighton mums did recently http://www.brightonmums.com/brightons-first-breastfeed-flash-mob-a-huge-success/
Seeing their flashmob in town helped me feel a little more confident about the prospect of brestfeeding and made me realise it is totally normal. Maybe the article will give you a little extra boost too!

lillian13 Sat 07-Apr-12 23:36:02

Thank you all very much for your replies, i will definetly try the baggy top and vest underneath. No more hiding in corners and sometimes even toilets for me!

Lots of good advice here re what to wear.
Get comfy, deep breath & feed. I bet soon it will be second nature and you'll be feeding wherever you fancy!

Beveridge Sat 07-Apr-12 23:41:42

It doesn't have to be a baggy top! Even cupping your hand round as you lift your top while feeding will screen out everything with the most awkward of tops (thinking specifically of 'lady's fit' SRU rugby top that is a bit tight, but combined with this and vest underneath it is all fine.

I find a 'don't even think about it' look about me also helps...grin

lillian13 Sat 07-Apr-12 23:54:42

I have had a look at the mamascarf, looks great, would definetly keep me covered.
I know people dont mind mums breastfeeding in public but ive noticed people taking a secong glance at me when they realise ive got my boob out and i get so embarassed.
I will definetly take all this advice on board and try to just get on with it and stop worrying about everyone else around me.

HappyCamel Sat 07-Apr-12 23:55:14

There are some nice breastfeeding tops with slits. Mamas & Papas, Next and Seraphine (I especially liked the latter).

OeufRouge Sun 08-Apr-12 09:05:44

Don't feel embarrassed about the way you feel- confidence comes with time and your DD is only 3 months old- you're both still finding your feet! smile

Along with the great tips you've already been given, some mothers find it useful to practise in front of a mirror so that they can see what everyone else sees. From your perspective, you see a lot of boob but it may be that no-one else can see a thing.

A lot of mothers find it reassuring to BF in public with other BF mothers- safety in numbers and all that grin. Do you know anyone else that's BF? Or is there a group nearby like LLL or Baby cafe where you could meet other BF mothers?

I actually find slightly tighter tops work better. If mine's too baggy it flaps over DS and annoys him making him more likely to pop off & expose me. The 'one up, one down rule' definitely works though.

Also, work out where is genuinely BF friendly in your town. Here it's the M&S cafe and a little family coffee shop. Almost everyone in there is BFing!

Finally, remenber that if people are giving you 'funny looks' they are probably thinking 'awwwwww bless' not 'ewwwwww yuck'. Every comment I have ever had while BFing in public has been positive.

Hope that helps smile

readyforno2 Sun 08-Apr-12 09:27:50

Why not get yourself a poncho? I had one whilst feeding ds and it was great, although you do get used it to whole feeding in public thing and it will soon become second nature. Best of luck

startail Sun 08-Apr-12 09:40:11

We need a secret code, like the Masons, that we can give in support when we spot a breast feeding Mum.
A kind of been there, got the baggy milk stained T-shirt, handshake. wink

grin startail

NAR4 Sun 08-Apr-12 11:20:12

The one top up and one top down thing is great. I have had many people awwww at my baby whilst I am breast feeding and even had an old man come to talk to her (I had to actually tell him that I was feeding her at the moment and he could speak to her in a bit). He hadn't realised. I think you are feel much more exposed than you actually are. To start with I made myself a poncho out of T-shirt material, because my baby used to pop on and off quite a lot, but as she got older I stopped needing it. It will come in time but if you really feel in need of more privacy a lot of places have feeding rooms (most supermarkets, M&S etc).

lillian13 Sun 08-Apr-12 21:00:39

Thank you all for your replies. Im starting to feel more confident already just from all your advice.
I have a poncho so will definetly be trying that out and having a look in the mirror to see what other people really see. I also have a list off my health visitor of breastfeeding friendly places in my area.
I went to to the park a few days ago and had to leave because it was so busy and i just didnt feel comfortable feeding there, hopefully i wont have to do that again with all your good advice. Thanks everyone.

harverina Mon 09-Apr-12 00:21:12

Hi * Lillian*, I agree with the advice to wear a floaty/baggier top over a fitted vest. This is what I lived in when my DD, now 2, fed alot. It means that your tummy/back and top of your boobs are well hidden.

My biggest piece of advice would be to just go for it - the more you do it, the more comfortable you will feel. Sometimes I found that the more I tried to hide my boobs, the more I flashed! When feeding in public take your time, find somewhere that you are comfortable and do not worry about what other people think. Take your time to get your baby "latched on" properly. I found it handy to carry a book or magazine so that I could latch my DD then sit and have a read if I was on my own. Plan your feeds as much as possible - my DD was fed on demand but she got into a a routine around 8 weeks where she fed every 2-2.5 hours. My anticipating my DD wanting a feed soon, I was able to start looking around for somewhere to feed, or head to a coffee shop or feeding room. I fed my DD anywhere and everywhere but still used feeding rooms if we were looking for somewhere quiet. Sitting in the park is a good way to feed too in the summer. I sat with my legs crossed on the grass when the weather was nice.

You will find that most people are very positive about breastfeeding. I had so many lovely comments and had many people offering to help me in some way. One older man offered to pour me my drink when I was breastfeeding in a very open plan coffee shop when my DD was very young. I was feeling very embarassed and he really put me at ease and started to talk about his wife breastfeeding their children in public and what their experiences of this were 30 years ago.

Do you have a local feeding group? If so, they are a great way to start feeding in public as all the other mums will be doing it at the same time.

Good luck!

WottingerAndWottingerAreDead Mon 09-Apr-12 21:30:16

Hi OP, here's how I did it-

like others have said- vest underneath, any sort of top you can pull up on top. Had a floaty light big scarf thing (not breastfeeding specific).

put floaty scarf round neck- unclip nursing bra at top, put hand under 'over top', pull down vest just under boob and also nursing bra. All this is happening when your boob is totally covered with the over top. Get baby in position to feed, drape floaty scarf over baby, whip over top up, get baby feeding, remove floaty scarf from over baby to round your neck. If baby pops off you can whizz the floaty scarf over any exposed boob before anyone notices what's happened.

agree also on working out in advance what positions in the cafe/ what cafe you'll feel most comfortable in.

once I'd perfected the above, I fed anywhere and everywhere, and it's such a virtuous circle, the more you feed publicly the more comfortable you feel and the more you do it.

Good luck!

ps. Primark vests are a wonder for the job- super cheap so you can get all the colours, stretchy so easy to pull down and nice and long so don't ride up and expose post pregnant stomach..

lillian13 Mon 09-Apr-12 22:10:46

Can i just make sure im getting this two top thing right. Do i pull one top down and one top up so just my boob is out?
I have got a scarf i take everywhere with me, that does work well to help cover everything.
I didnt think i needed to go to breasfeeding groups because i feel i have got the actual feeding right, but i think i will go to get more confidence.

lillian13 Mon 09-Apr-12 22:11:44

Just re read it, got it sussed out now!

LovelyMarchHare Mon 09-Apr-12 22:18:56

I have really big boobs and I thought that I would never ever feed my children in public. As it was I fed both of them for ages. As someone says above I think that you are more concerned about it than anyone else in the room and that most people aren't even aware what is going on. Try and relax as much as you can and it will go more smoothly. If you are stressed the baby will get stressed and won't latch on properly and you might end up revealing yourself to all and sundry.

You will be just fine. Whatever you do, don't resign yourself to feeding in some smelly old toilet for 40 minutes just because you think others might pull a face. It is your right to sit with your partner/friends and enjoy your drink/meal just as much as anyone else.

Good luck!

ShowMethePony Mon 09-Apr-12 22:27:52

Breastfeeding support groups especially like La Leche are not just about getting that baby onto your breast, its about all aspects of breastfeeding like feeding in public, how to parent older children while feeding, sleep issues, how it can affect your relationships with your partner or mother, anything really.

They are also for making friends with other people who are in the same situation as you, same way you might start going to an evening class to meet people to go have coffee with.

Glad you've got it sussed grin

One more bit of reassurance, when DS was smaller I went out for lunch with friends. I was feeding him at table so not eating. Friend finished her food, reached out for DS and said "here, I'll take over with him, you eat your food"

While I was busy spluttering food all over the table & giving the hmm face, DP was laughing his head off. She hasn't realised I was BFing, I thought she was offering to feed him!

Springforward Mon 09-Apr-12 23:03:53

I had some brilliant bf vests that were like a normal spaghetti strap top, but they stopped at your bra strap/ band - I found them perfect for the vest/ loose top combo, think company might have been called rooti tooti?

H&M did good crossover tops with easy access to boob but I would suggest were better for D cup ish or below.

PatronSaintOfDucks Tue 10-Apr-12 12:15:51

As advised - loose-ish top plus a tight-ish vest underneath. Plus I found that cardigans (fleeces, etc, - anything that opens in the front and then flaps on the sides) was the easiest and the most effective way to cover up. Baby's head together with boob can be very effectively hidden under one flap, but there is still air access for baby to breath, and also no faffing around with putting special things on/taking them off.

I've never encountered any negative attitudes during my extensive public boobfeeding career. While there was an odd invariably middle-aged guy trying to leer at a distance, anybody who actually noticed that I was feeding either did not bat an eyelid or gave me smiles. So go forth without fear!

Springforward Tue 10-Apr-12 21:00:34

Patronsaint that reminds me, the only time I got that kind of attention, his wife noticed and tore him to shreds grin which made me feel MUCH better!

mrsred Wed 11-Apr-12 06:01:44

Just thought i would add, i bought a few nursing tops from H&M, they have a clever system which means the top of your boob stays covered and you can get bra undone unerneath top without sitting there exposed.

I felt exactly the same as you to begin with but grew in confidence, and as others have said, when people glance in your direction its probably because its lovely to see a baby, especially a very happy feeding one, and of course many people sitting in that cafe with you will also have fed a baby or had a wife who has, so can fully empathise!

lillian13 Wed 11-Apr-12 20:17:45

thank you, that is true, no more sressing, im starting to feel alot more condident with the whole thing now. A man did actually tell me today how amazing breast feeding is, he was a friend of the family but made me feel proud to be doing it.

hmo2b Wed 11-Apr-12 20:32:24

I have recently bought these vests called breast vests, which are essentially camisole tops but without the bit that goes over your bra. The idea being that you wear your nursing bra and this vest together (the vest sits just under your bra) and it allows you to wear any top over it so that you don't expose your belly and other bits when you lift your top. Here is a link as I don't think I have explained very well www.breastvest.co.uk/
I can't recommend these enough. I also wear scarves as they help a bit too.
I can totally understand where you are coming from as my son is 9 weeks and I am only just gaining confidence...and he is my third child!

thegingerone Wed 02-May-12 21:32:25

i've got a very large collection of New Look spagetti strap tops £2.50 i think! means all my tops are breast feeding friendly by pulling the vest down under bra line.bought a size bigger than i am. i have found that most people seem to want to make a point of encouraging me when i boobpop. those who actually notice that is.
when i started bfing my mates and i used to sit at the back of the cafe and feed on mass. i realised this week that i must be gaining in confidence when i plonked myself down at the table next to till and just fed dd as everyone who wanted coffee and cake that lunchtime queued next to me!!

missdeelite Wed 02-May-12 21:53:19

Great advice here, took me til my 3rd DS to cotton on to the vest trick, works a treat!!! I like light jumpers and wrap around dresses, also have one or two specialist bf tops if I know that have to do a lot of alfresco feeds - mainly as it can be darn cold!

As I have 2 older children I am inevitably running around, squeezing in bf for my 5 month old here there and everywhere - parks, museums,restaurants I'm wapping them out, and flying the flag!!! In a fairly low key Anglican Church recently I was in the creche and a Mum said would I like communion? I said ok, and the (male) vicar came and gave it to me mid feed!!! (like they go to the old or infirm who can't walk up to the altar!) That has to be my strangest bf moment - but exactly how it should be! Was so nice that me and babe were not just welcome but included.

Oooh, what a good thread.

I'm feeding ds2 (8 weeks) at the moment and do struggle to feed discreetly in public. I'm not overly bothered by the idea of it but I have enormo-boobs (K cup) so it's practically impossible to do it without exposing vast amounts of boob flesh.

I love the idea of those breastvests. I struggle with normal bf tops as they're too tight around my boob when they're 'open' so press in and cause blocked ducts. Also the vest trick doesn't work because I can't get a vest with enough stretch to pull under my boobages (again it results in material pressing in and blocked ducts). At least the breastvests would cover my wibbly wobbly belly.

The bit I can't work out how to cover is the side of my boob (which is so expansive it practically has its own postcode blush). I'm trying to remember to wear a cardi when I go out or I try to sit at the end of a sofa or something so the furniture hides me a bit.

It ain't easy though - I have a number of practical issues around feeding out and about to do with supporting the boob too.

Sorry - I'm rambling now, and hijacking the OPs thread. Just wanted to say what a good thread and I'm reading with interest for more ideas grin

missdeelite Wed 02-May-12 22:23:02

Biscuits try a muslin draped over any exposed flesh at the side. My boobs are titchy so can't relate from same problem but these are nice and light to drape around different areas! My babe hated having things over his head (fair enough) so would just cover around the sides.

Yes - I don't like to cover over ds2's head either. Otherwise one of those poncho type covers would work. Also because he's still wee he can't latch on himself yet so I need more access.

I tend to have a muslin on my knee to catch any drips / leaks and then I tuck the edge of it up under my jumper to cover up the side angle. So it kind it works so far. Do like the breast best idea though for my .

I've actually fed a couple of times in front of my Dad when we've been out and I never did that last time. And I just check with my Mum that I'm being discreet if she's there grin

RachelWalsh Wed 02-May-12 22:41:53

Bump bands like people wear in pregnancy can be a good alternative to vests if that's not working for you Biscuits- I kept using mine after my ds1 was born to cover up my postnatal tummy (just pulled up to under bra rather than how you would wear them while pregnant)when bfing. I don't have any this time but I'll probably just do the vest thing.

fapl Thu 03-May-12 00:00:40

If you have the right clothes that don't expose much people don't know you are feeding. The funniest one was I had to stop in an English Heritage property as my ds was screaming the house down. An old man came over and was asking me his name and loads about him and was really peering in to have a look when my DS popped his head up for a look around and the old man realised what was going on, he made a quick dash away grin I was more embarrassed for him than me.

I 2nd a breastvest. It is more expensive than a cheap stretchy vest but less excess fabric to grapple with.

Lovepjs Sun 06-May-12 13:59:06

Mother care have feeding rooms as do debenhams. I always managed trips out around these stores. Serephine have lovely clothes I bought a breast feeding shawl expensive but worth it as I could wear it over anything.

Lovepjs Sun 06-May-12 13:59:14

Mother care have feeding rooms as do debenhams. I always managed trips out around these stores. Serephine have lovely clothes I bought a breast feeding shawl expensive but worth it as I could wear it over anything.

Poppystar1 Sun 06-May-12 23:01:19

I can remember feeling so nervous about feeding in public in the beginning. My DD hated anything over her head so the floaty top thing wasn't an option. I just wore dresses or low v tops that I could just pull down enough to hoist a boob out of the top of (though maybe this only worked for me because my boobs are small, even when BF). Before starting I would loop one corner of a muslin in my bra strap, undo the nursing clip with boob all covered by the muslin, then get her in place and do the hoisting out bit! Sounds a faff but it is honestly so quick and easy once you've done it two or three times, and it meant that I never flashed anyone (as far as I know)! Also, I would agree with the advice to find BF friendly cafes - it really helps, especially in the first few weeks when you still feel a bit conspicuous.

Pozzled Sun 06-May-12 23:16:16

Some good advice on here. The vest & floaty top combo really works for me.

I also agree with going to some bfing groups, or just mother and baby groups- you'll often see people bfing there and I found that seeing other people do it made it seem much more normal. It gave me a lot more confidence. Before having DD1 I hadn't been around babies much and had rarely seen bfing- or so I thought. I now realize I'd probably seen it loads of times without realizing!

TheSoggyBunny Sun 06-May-12 23:27:17

IKEA is a good place to build up confidence once you have the right clothes. Very bf friendly. Start with A nice private feeding room, then a sectiond off bit of the main cafe. then just feed in the main cafe. (and apologies to the poor lad who was clearing tables. He approached just as dd decided to unlatch and pull away, the chap got a right eyeful of boob, and a nice spray of warm milk)

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