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Breastfeeding while out and about(45 Posts)
I'm currently 38+3 and planning to breastfeed what will be my first baby.
While I've been out in town, restaurants etc I've had a little look around trying to work out how 'breastfeeding friendly' places are and other than one parent and baby room in one shopping centre I've come to the conclusion that I'd just have to take the baby into a toilet to give a feed.
I may have a different mindset once the baby's here and not give a &^%, but at the moment can't see me being confident whacking the boob out in the middle of a busy shop, pub etc.
For all you breastfeeders out there.... any tips?
Initially it can be a bit faffy not to expose yourself while you're trying to get your baby latched, but once a baby is latched on you actually see very little. And as time goes on you'll get much quicker at it. You can cover yourself with a muslin (or there are special breastfeeding cover things as well) while latching baby and then either leave it covering the baby while feeding or take it away.
Remember you are allowed to breastfeed anywhere so don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I'd really not like to feed my baby in a public toilet! It could be cold, smelly, noisy (hand driers) and no place to sit. I wouldn't eat my own meals in a public toilet either so don't see why my baby should.
Another here who wears a strappy vest under everything. One up, one down and away we go. I was nervous at first and used to faff about with blankets but now I just get on with it and I have never had a bad comment while out.
I found that my baby was too nosey if I tried to breastfeed in public and would 'pop' off to look around or glare at me indignantly as if to say "how dare you talk while I eat?!!!". So I bought a mamascarf which helped him settle nicely for a decent fee and protected my dignity at the same time!
I noticed some Mum's use an oversized scarf over one shoulder to do the same trick, but I could never do that without it falling off all the time.
I'd happily use the 2 top tip if I didn't have a nosey baby second time round though
Only way to get men NOT to look at breasts is to breastfeed
Seriously, as soon as you start feeding a baby everyone is very careful to make eye contact only. Actually no one notices unless they are literally sitting opposite you.
I used to prefer not to breastfeed in public, but as I did want to leave the house with my DS, it's something that you just get used to. I found out where there were nursing rooms in the centre of town and used to aim to them (if I was out and about) but I have fed DS on park benches, in pubs and cafes.
I also used a breastvest (which was great for me, esp as DS was an October baby so it used to get a bit drafty if you didn't have a vest on underneath - and it also hides your post pregnancy belly (which worried me more than showing off my boobs!)
I found it got better the older DS got and as we settled into it more (e.g. felt better feeding him in public aged 3 months, rather than 3 weeks).
The things is, when your baby is crying and you know they need milk, your own inhibitions get pushed to the side as all you want to do is feed your baby.
And I can add to the people above who never received any negative criticism at all when out and about. In fact, on the two occasions that people commented on my breastfeeding it was very positive, commenting on how it was so much better and easier than bottles (unnecessary and it did make me feel a bit awkward but I thought it was nice of these complete strangers to go out of their way to try and make me feel good - if you know what I mean).
I've got one of these www.bebeaulait.com/products/bebe-au-lait-nursing-covers I mainly use it because my baby is really easily distracted but it keeps me covered too.
I second Breastvest. Wish I knew about these from the start.
Hey Londonmrs ! <waves>
Sorry OP now to business. Things that helped me were:
a) going to a BFing group. Seeing women BFing normalises it and helps you gain confidence at the start.
b) first time I BF in a café I was with a friend and she was great moral support. I did it so we had time for a second coffee!
c) Breastvests can be helpful although I ended up not using mine much because...
d) As baby gets bigger it gets much easier. I have enormous norks and at first when she was little they dwarfed her head. Now that she's six months (and from about 4 months on) her head was bigger than them. She can also latch on at speed and once they're in position it just looks like you're giving her a little nurse.
If you don't have family support you'll find the BFing groups especially helpful.
Oh and as others have said they do go through distracted phases where they pop off madly for a couple of weeks and either gawk around or stare up indignantly if they don't have your full attention. It passes. DD drove me batshit for a couple of weeks about 5 weeks ago. Kept feeding ON instead of during the day as she was looking round too much during the day. One ruthless ON where she got her dummy instead of any feeds reset the day to night feeding frenzy!
You can feel a bit vunerable at first but after a while it'll be fine. I bf dd anywhere and everywhere and we just got used to it. She fed every 45 mibs at first so we didn't have a lot of choice. The baby's head actually covers most of your boob anyway so you can always see more than other people can. Good luck and enjoy it.
Just one thing to add- if you're not confident try it out in front of a mirror at home, it's reassuring to know how little anyone can see.
As others have said, if your child is hungry, you just don't care who's looking and you feed them. Ask your MW or HV about a breastfeeding peer supporter or similar service in your area. I am a trained peer supporter, based in Northumberland, and part of my role is to help new mums feel confident performing one of the most normal acts on the planet. I will go out with my new mum and sit with her, chatting, having coffee, shopping, whatever, to help her feel confident in what she is doing.
Coffee shops are a godsend too, not just because some of the larger chains are well equipped, but because when your baby feeds (especially in the early weeks) you literally feel the calories and moisture being drawn to your boobs, so having a sit down with a nice drink and piece of cake is ace. And it gives you a good long time to just relax. Relaxed feeds are better for you and for baby, as you both get what you want more easily.
Another thing you might want to try is using a sling. A stretchy or solid woven wrap sling will allow you to actually walk along feeding your baby, and the fabric covers everything. I have walked through my village feeding my DC and no one noticed
until she dramatically popped off once and showered someone with a spurt of milk.
The first few times you do it you'll be thinking everyones stating at you, boobs must be on show, wish baby would hurry up!
But you'll soon realise that most people won't notice, and those that do, don't even care! seriously you'll be fine. The vest top layering is a good idea and just use the corner of a muslin to cover the small amount of exposed boob. It will just look like you're holding a baby. Good luck
I was absolutely convinced I would be super discreet but after about a month of breast feeding constantly you stop seeing it as "getting your boobs out" and just get on with it as its how you feed your child! And my whole family is fairly prudish about bread feeding in public-they think people who do it less than discreetly are doing it deliberately to "show off"!! Again, I basically forced them to get used to it and they did! I like to think of myself as an advocate for my child's right to eat in comfort without cloths over their head or in a bathroom! Oh and I also used a strappy top and t-shirt method for comfort and convenience, I'm no longer prudish but neither am I an exobitionist!
I found it a bit scary to start with, but I did soon get used to it and it gets a lot easier. I tended to use feeding rooms just at first as I found getting the baby on a bit tricky. But after sitting in a windowless room in a shopping centre, on an uncomfy chair, for at least half an hour, with no book, no reception on my phone, no food, and no drink, I resolved never to do it again.
I used a combo of the 2 top technique and a few actual breastfeeding tops from Mamaway, Boob (good but pricey) and JoJo. You really do see so little. I had lunch with a friend who commented on how quiet my baby was and she was surprised I hadn't had to feed her yet. I had been feeding her for 10 mins and she hadn't noticed.
I think the reason you dont spot other breastfeeders is because they are usually so discrete and ordinary looking. But there are lots and lots of us around I promise and as soon as you have baby we'll be the ones smiliing at you and cooing at baby.
Have found all your comments really reassuring thankyou
Will definitely have a look at BF support groups and breastvests!
One thing which helped me was getting thd first public feed of two done while dh was still on paternity leave, so he was with me fit moral support. If you check out your area there will be cafes which in the week are full of bf women, the cafe at my local park is practically a permanent Nct meet up!
I'm also another one who only had positive comments and I fed ds in public for well over a year ( fed for longer but he only wanted morning and night at the end).
My sister always got away with a muslin cloth over her shoulder - couldn't see anything and no one seemed bothered. I'm having my first and think I might go bigger than a cloth though, not quite a poncho but you know what I mean...
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