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Do people use breastfeeding covers in the UK?

(42 Posts)
stopgap Sat 22-Oct-11 15:27:56

I'm an ex-pat, now living in NYC, and can count on one hand the number of times I've seen women openly BF-ing in England. Now I'm not saying that where I live now (New York City) is the epicentre of public breastfeeding, but I see it much more frequently, and I'd say most women use the Bebe Au Lait covers, myself included (aside from when I'm at my b'feeding-friendly paediatrician's office, or the two b'feeding supply shops I'm lucky to have in my neighborhood).

Do you use a cover or do you think, to hell with it, b'feeding in public is my right?

belgo Sat 22-Oct-11 15:30:47

I don't think 'to hell with it, bfing in public is my right'.

I just think: my baby/toddler needs milk, and I will provide it, whether in public or private. I have never used a cover, but I do have one friend who uses a bfing cover in England. They seem a bit of a hassle to me, too much to carry around, and I wouldn't want to be faffing around with them whilst holding a screaming baby.

oyuoyu Sat 22-Oct-11 15:30:59

Flipping 'eck, I live in England and I see women breastfeeding all over the place. Never seen a breastfeeding cover though, thankfully.

I breastfed my 2 year old in the library the other day.

pixiestix Sat 22-Oct-11 15:31:57

Never used a cover and never seen one used either, having lived in the rural South-West and the centre of London. People I've encountered seem very chilled out about breast-feeding and I never had any trouble feeding DD in public anywere in England.

HTH smile

Gigondas Sat 22-Oct-11 15:32:43

Often see them round my way - to be honest I think I have only seen one person use the bebe au lait. Mostly people dont bother or use baby blanket or Muslin (that I think is as often with small babies due to them getting distracted rather than discretion).

NormanTebbit Sat 22-Oct-11 15:35:48

I've seen women using them in England. I BF three DC, never used them or felt the need. But equally I didn't see BF without one as some sort of statement. It's a natural bodily function. Baby needed feeding, I fed it.

In Scotland we have a law which states women should be allowed to breast feed in public without being harassed. It gave me confidence to feed anywhere I wanted. The tent things are, I suppose, down to personal preference but I wouldn't say feeding without one was any kind of statement.

stopgap Sat 22-Oct-11 15:38:52

Good to know. I'm sure I see breastfeeding more frequently now in NYC because that's what I'm currently doing. It's like buying a certain brand of car--suddenly everyone seems to have one :D

I have to say, I love the cover for reasons other than discretion (sunshade, burp cloth etc.) Rolled up, it's about the size of a napkin, so no hassle to carry about at all. Maybe I'm more reliant on it, given that I live in a city of loudmouths!

HarrietJones Sat 22-Oct-11 15:40:58

May be you notice more because of the cover? Loads of people comment on me cuddling dd3 when I'm actually feeding where as a cover would draw attention?

lilham Sat 22-Oct-11 15:42:35

I have never had problem bf in public in England. I think you don't see us precisely because we don't tend to use covers. I have done it in restaurants and cages where the waiters don't make anything of it and take orders from me when DD is latched on.

I do have a bebe au lait when I feel like wearing a wrap dress. The dresses make you expose the whole chest when bfing so I'd like to cover up a bit.

MotherPanda Sat 22-Oct-11 15:44:46

Personally, I believe that using a cover draws attention to the fact that you are breast feeding - the reason why you might not have noticed before is that for most women, we just hoick a vest down, top up, plonk your baby on and there you have it - it just looks like you're having a lovely cuddle.

It's true, i suppose, in the uk if people notice you feeding they just let you get on with it, wheras in the big mouth apple your more likely to get comments or strangers trying to strike up a conversation with you on the pros and cons of breastfeeding.

It's only once you become pregnant/have a baby that you suddenly notice that babies are EVERYWHERE! It's probably down to that too

Do whatever makes you comfortable smile

reallytired Sat 22-Oct-11 15:45:19

I have seen a woman use hooter hider once at a parenting class. Weirdly she was still embrassed to breastfeed with the hooter hider. I felt sorry for her that she was clearly cripppled by anxiety about breastfeeding in front of people. If the hooter hider gave her the confidence to get out the house then good luck to her. I don't think she was trying to make any statement.

When I breastfed my childlren I just wore a baggy tee shirt.

MotherPanda Sat 22-Oct-11 15:46:14

liliham - i wear a pretty vest under my wrap dresses, so that i can pull the vest up to cover my chest whilst dd is feeding. I always have a vest on now.

stopgap Sat 22-Oct-11 15:50:07

MotherPanda, you're right. Just yesterday some guy passed me on the street. I had DS in the carrier, and some guy said loudly to his friend that he felt my baby was having a good time at my breast. We weren't even feeding. I should have drop-kicked the idiot there and then.

MotherPanda Sat 22-Oct-11 15:53:56

wow, I think the most you would ever get in the uk would be 'nice to see a mother breastfeeding' unless you get some idiot asking you to go somewhere private. - you drop kicking those guys with a baby in a carrier would have been a sight!

RitaMorgan Sat 22-Oct-11 17:27:55

I've not seen anyone using a cover, but I expect a cover is much more obvious/noticable than someone just breastfeeding, which is why they stand out more where you are.

poppygolucky Sat 22-Oct-11 18:17:52

Never seen or used a cover. Most women, myself included, use the trusted vest under top method. Haven't had any comments so far but thanks to this forum, feel confident enough not to crumble should I ever receive any negativity, requests to move etc

stopgap Sat 22-Oct-11 18:21:07

Hmm, I know nothing of this vest under top method. Please share! As of now, I hoik out my entire breast for feedings, which, if I'm not using the cover, ensures maximum exposure, as my nine-week-old son likes to unlatch to smile or coo at me, or unlatch with gas pains, or unlatch because he falls asleep.

LydiaWickham Sat 22-Oct-11 18:22:53

Not seen many woman using covers, most it's a mussie that you have with you anyway or a pashmina (much more practical, you can wear it round your neck the rest of the time to keep you warm).

haloflo Sat 22-Oct-11 18:37:07

I've never seen anyone bfing with a cover (NW Lancs). None of my friends use them although I used a pillow for the first few weeks. I have never encountered a problem although my friend recently got a comment for feeding a 6 month old (ooh he's too old for that now)

I don't think DD would take too kindly to a cover now and would most likely wrestle with the cover rather than feed (easily distractable!)

I don't feel I'm self righteous or making a statement, I'm just doing what needs to be done.

The vest under top method is a MN favourite. You pull the vest down and your top up for minimal exposure of your boob and post natal stomach. If wearing a dress you can pull down I would use a muslin to cover the top of my boob.

coastgirl Sat 22-Oct-11 18:44:46

My friend uses a bebe au lait. Personally I think it just draws more attention BUT I know it's given someone who would have been self-conscious otherwise the confidence to EBF until 6 months, which is fab! I do vest-under-top but usually wear a huge scarf (the MN eBay scarf is great for this!) which I sort of loosely drape around us to cover up expanses of very pale flesh.

stopgap Sat 22-Oct-11 18:47:42

haloflo, I'm from West Lancs smile

And I can relate to those comments. My parents keep asking when I'm going to introduce formula at night. I guess mixed feeding was all the rage in the late 1970s, and they are dumbfounded that I plan to exclusively breastfeed for a year.

stopgap Sat 22-Oct-11 18:50:44

coastgirl, my bebe au lait is all-black, and like any tried-and-true NY'er, I mostly wear black clothing, so I don't think anybody notices.

The woman in the breastfeeding supply store tried to show me the Pucci-type prints. Might as well wear a flashing beacon on your head if you're going to wear pink and white swirls.

DomesticGoddess31 Sat 22-Oct-11 19:05:40

I have a bebe au lait and love it. If I didn't have it, feeding in public would have been so much more daunting and stressful for me. I am rubbish at being descrete and can't be doing with a muslin flapping about in my bra strap for little hands to yank down and expose me. It also means I have slightly more clothes choice and I don't have to wear a vest under absolutely everything, especially when the weather was very warm. I don't give two hoots that it draws more attention to the fact I'm feeding my baby. Its not the feeding that I want to hide, its my nipples!

NormanTebbit Sat 22-Oct-11 20:35:16

You can wear a vest under a shirt and when you need to feed, unbotton your shirt enough to get boob out and pull vest up - vest covers top of breast and shirt covers the rest.

1catherine1 Sat 22-Oct-11 21:47:47

I spent a lot of time investigating covers before LO arrived but then didn't bother and at first expressed for outings. When BF was established I was comfortable to do it anywhere.

Maybe here in the UK we are less embarrassed about such a natural process.

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