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Breast feeding-how to feed when out and about!(20 Posts)
Cafes are the best but most people won't be looking at you. Most people think you are just cuddling the baby. Good luck.
I have a Bebe au lait feeding cover that is brilliant for feeding in public for me I know they are not for everyone but I do like the fact that nobody gets a flash of my nips at all!!
I'd second the bebe au lait thing too - I know some women get all huffy about them, but I was mortified at bf in public (hell, I couldn't even bf in front of my own mother) but by the time DC1 was 6 months, I could bf quite happily under one of those things.
First time feeding in public you just sort of have to take a deep breath and go for it, but then you realise that people don't really notice (or care), so it does get easier!
One thing to bear in mind is that you may have "let down" on one boob while feeding with the other. It's a good idea to keep pressure on the boob that's not in use to avoid leaking everywhere.
I found that bf friendly tops were a god send for the first few outings. In the summer a top like this worn under a standard floaty top [so effectively bra-less, meant I didn't boil alive
All my babies have just wanted to feed ALL the time, so I very quickly got used to just constant feeding anywhere and everywhere, and it's not an issue. If you latch them on at the first sign of fussing, then it's a lot more discreet (and quick) than waiting till they're screaming. Do you have an NCT group? Meeting up with them in cafes is great, because you're all doing the same thing and it soon feels perfectly normal. Cafes in general are great - far better than special BF rooms, because you can eat/drink/chat.
Also, an iPhone (or similar) is an absolute godsend. Only had that with DC3, and really wish I'd had it with the first two. On-tap entertainment that you can control with one hand!
(just realised that last sentence sounds a bit dodgy!)
Thanks for all the advice, it was something I've not been able to get my head around but very keen on breastfeeding. Hats off to everyone who feeds in public, but was something I was worried about, don't want to flash my massive boobs to everyone around!
But you've made me realise that public doesn't actually mean whipping off my top, and in reality you can find a discrete public place and feed in a discrete way. I'm sure when I have a screaming baby ill not care as much as will only want to make sure lo is happy again
I think all the strategies mentioned are great.
For a bit more confidence, the link to the Equality Act that lurcherlover mentioned is here ( it's about the first thing in the document)
Personally I feel more confident knowing that I have a protected right to feed in public. Will still be trying to do it discreetly but it's good to know IMO
I never liked the 2 top system found it too fiddly plus I pull my top down not up. Different for everyone, you'll soon get the hang of things.
I agree - two top system. I have never had any problems bf in public but slowly built up confidence - the first few outings John Lewis was my safety net and I would make sure there was always one around. Once I had fed dd in front of my df/dfil and uncle with none seeming to be uncomfortable I was a lot more confident about feeding anywhere. Enjoy!!
Definitely recommend the vest/other top combo. A light sarong/pashmina type shawl is also useful. I also found a pouch type sling (Coorie) good as it supported my baby and provided privacy without being restrictive.
If you can't find a private room, you can often find a quiet corner somewhere and have your back to the world if you feel you need to. I felt very self conscious in the early days but grew in confidence as time (and more children!) went on.
On top of all the above, I have a Bebe au Lait. It's akin to an apron that you put over you and baby. It has a stiff part that keeps the top of it out from your chest so you can see baby the whole time. I been doing this breastfeeding lark for five weeks now and the Bebe au Lait is really useful.
Some shops (like John Lewis, mothercare and M&S) and shopping centre /service stations have a little room (often near the toilets). I used them when I was first starting out, but they feel a bit antisocial so I quickly moved to cafes - using the top and vest technique described above. Never had any problems or felt awkward. Your confidence definitely increases pretty quickly and your embarrassment fades.
My DS is now 2 months. Once BF was established I started to express a bottle for the times I knew we'd be out over a feed (going for lunch, to the park for the afternoon etc). Because of this I haven't had to BF while out all that often. For the times when the bottle isn't enough or I'm taken by surprise I keep a pashmina in my change bag. Really easy to drape over your shoulders and heavier than a muslin. The two top thing is great but a bit hot in this lovely weather!
I second Lurcherlover advice.
I fed like this very sucessfully all over the place.
The only time I had to seek peace and privacy was when DD was getting distracted. I found I could easily find somewhere quite and turn my back (iyswim) and creat our own little private space.
DD had some very long feeds and there is NO way I could have sat in a room on my own somewhere it would have driven me barking mad!
I also found that feeding DD in noisy ish environments (including round several marching bands) made her a really good at not being bothered by noise. Just as well as I hate silence! I don´t know if she was destined to be the type of person that can fall asleep in the middle of a marching band/ hoovering/ music / telly etc. Or if it is becuase we were out and about a lot.
I think it is important to build up your confidence re bf in public. Start at home, then maybe in a baby group, Breast feeding cafe with lots of other BF mums about, and build up. You will hopefully find that you feel much more comfortable BF in public.
I think quite a lot of expectant mums worry about BF (I know I did) in public, but once you have latch sorted and find your feet / know that you are not going to flash the vicar / policeofficer etc or get to a point where you dont care if you do, we all find out stride.
HTH and congratulations
After the first couple of months, I found it was no issue whatsoever. Once you've got the hang of it, you can feed so easily and discreetly that most people are completely unaware of what you're doing.
Top tips are - wear a vest top under your normal top, of a similar colour. I bought loads at Primark for very little ££. When you feed, you pull your normal top up and your vest top down - neither need to move that far, and you're not exposing any flesh. People really do think you're just cuddling a sleeping baby. Unless they slurp loudly, which mine often did
Practice one-handed unhooking and re-hooking your nursing bra cups at home - soon it will take a fraction of a second.
There's really nothing to it. All around you there are mothers feeding their babies that you haven't noticed. It took me a while to realise that!
I second the 2 top system, it is really very discreet. Initially I used to just drape a muslin cloth over my shoulder and baby's head as well while I got her into position and until I felt more confident. This doesn't work when they're older because they just lift it off! But by that time you a) won't care, and b) they aren't feeding that often so if you are not comfortable it is easier to plan being somewhere where you can bf a bit more privately.
I am not naturally a whip em out anywhere kind of breast feeder but I bf DD for 13 months and never felt embarrassed or had any problems
I use a blanket that I drape over my shoulder and baby so nothing is seen.
It's private enough for me and others around me while showing I'm not embarrassed about it.
Practice at home and go from there.
A stretchy vest, not a stretchy best!
You practise at home first in front of a mirror (which is very reassuring - because you're looking down, you can see your breast/nipple and assume everyone else can - buy the mirror shows you that actually, all everyone looking at you can see is that lovely big baby head which covers everything).
The easiest way is the two-top system: you wear your nursing bra, a stretchy best (a size bigger than normal is good) and a normal top on top. Then when it's time to feed, you reach under the outer top, unhook your nursing bra cup on that side (cups have individual clips on each boob do you can drop the cup on whichever boob you're feeding from) and pull both bra cup and best under your breast. Your outer top is covering everything at this point. Then bring baby in position, and when ready to latch on lift outer top up and start feeding. Your outer top will cover the top of your breast and the vest underneath covers your tummy - its really discreet and once baby is feeding there's no flesh on display at all. I feed like this in public all the time and lots of times people have just assumed I'm cuddling baby and haven't even realised I'm feeding.
Some shops do have feeding rooms, but you're not obliged to use them at all. You and your baby are protected by the Equality Act - wherever it is legal for your baby to be, you have a legal right to bf him or her
Im expecting dc1 and planning on breast feeding. But wondered how I feed my baby discretely when out and about. I have no issue with. Mothers feeding in public, but don't really think its for me and would prefer somewhere private-but is this possible in practice?
I went to John Lewis over the weekend and noticed a woman feeding her baby in a tiny room off the toilets....surely this isn't hygienic and isn't a breast feeding room, but started to wonder if she actually had a choice.
JL advertise that they have breast feeding rooms but if this was what was on offer its a pretty poor show...
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