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Feeding in public

(18 Posts)
Tea1Sugar Thu 27-Mar-14 01:49:03

Dd2 is due in 3 weeks and I'd like to try bf (I only lasted ten days with dd1 due to mastitis), but what puts me off is the idea of feeding in public. I'm such a private person that this really worries me. I've looked at coverups but IMO they draw more attention. So what do I do? Avoid going out at 3 hourly intervals? Will I get really socially isolated? The idea of my own mum seeing me feed makes me cringe let alone others. I know it's natural but I'm insecure at the best of times!

Nectarines Thu 27-Mar-14 02:56:26

See if there is a local breastfeeding cafe or peer support group you can join. (Perhaps a local 'bosom buddies'). This is great for building confidence as everyone breastfeeds.

Also, invest in a load of cheap strappy vest tops to wear under normal tops. Top up, vest top down, baby's head covers the rest. It takes a little practise but before long, you'll be a pro!

purpleaura Thu 27-Mar-14 02:59:10

Hi Tea, it will take some inner strength but you will manage to feed in public if you want to. I know it feels really scary- I put it off for ages. I would suggest that step one is to get comfortable feeding in private first. Once you get the hang of it, you coupd try feeding the lo in front of a mirror. You might be surprised at how little anyone can actually see. Get comfy clothes for feeding in-game either a bf top, or a stretchy vest top under another layer (I find the latter better). A really good place to feed out of the house and build confidence is a bf support group, do get googling as there'll be one somewhere near you. When you're feeling ready, give it a go. Most people never have any negative comments or even stares. I think when people have bad experiences, their stories get told and it makes you think it happens to everyone- it doesn't. I've actually had a lovely lady tell me how wonderful it was to see someone bf out and about.

Beyond that, it's about building the strength and confidence in what you are doing for your baby and ignoring anybody who thinks its their business to tell you otherwise. Even your mum.or friends. If you do become socially isolated, then your friends weren't worth having imo. Through a local bf support group, you'll build friendships with people who will support your decision. Those are the kind of people to surround yourself with.

Good luck op, because as you well know, bf is a hard journey. You did a wonderful thing to bf your first for 10 days. That is a great gift to give. I love bf my lo in public now and I think someone said on OBEM this week, when you're bf, the whole world disappears. Get lost in the love of the moment.

justmuddlingalong Thu 27-Mar-14 03:00:44

Yy to the vest top thing. I did that coz I was paranoid about folk seeing my belly, never mind my boobs! Works a treat. And congratulations.

capet Thu 27-Mar-14 03:08:20

I think it's different after the baby gets here and you're feeding them.
I would have thought that I would have been awkward about feeding in public etc too and in front of husband/mum/family.
But I didn't care about feeding in front of family at home etc at all-obviously not flashing my mother, but happy to feed in same room.
And then once I was confident enough with latch-and prepared, muslin at the ready, easy access tops, feeding in public was grand.
Plus a lot of places gave mum and baby rooms- you could always do a bit if research and look these up so you could go somewhere private initially if you were uncomfortable.
Soon it just becomes like second nature if everything goes ok and now I'd be happy feeding pretty much anywhere

Sid77 Thu 27-Mar-14 03:46:18

Most of the time you can be a bit strategic about feeding too. For example, when in a cafe sit facing the wall, or in a sheltered corner. I often use the pram as a sort of screen and position it so it's blocking me a bit if I feel exposed. It's like lots of things in life though, we often think/feel that others are taking much more notice of us than they actually are...

isisisis Thu 27-Mar-14 04:30:14

Before I started breastfeeding I don't think id ever really seen anyone feed in public. Now they're everywhere! But that's just because I notice now, people generally are to absorbed in themselves to take any notice of what you're doing. The only comment I've ever had has been from the manager of a very baby friendly cafe (Brest feeding support group meets there) who brought me a jug of water over so I didn't get dehydrated.
Oh, & I've gone up to a woman (hope she didn't mind) who was feeding twins in a resturant. I just wanted to tell her that I was seriously impressed!
Get comftable doing it at home first, when we were learning I'd nip up stairs if we had visitors. Now I'll feed anywhere, in front of anyone. They can't see anything.

PrincessPotsie Thu 27-Mar-14 04:54:09

I was like you and hated feeding in public so much so that I structured out lives around returning home or to the car to feed. It was a real pain but I wouldn't have relaxed enough being out and about to feed so this worked for me.

I did feed when out a few times: in the park, at people's houses, in cafes and comically in Blackpool tower circus! It was always ok but not easy.

isisisis Thu 27-Mar-14 04:59:19

Just a thought for out & about - shop changing rooms. I've used them a few times when there hasn't been anywhere to sit down. You'd get privacy & be able to have more freedom then relying on finding a feeding room.
I've just asked if I can pop in to feed the baby, it's never been a problem.

Sunnysummer Thu 27-Mar-14 05:21:35

Some great responses here. I'd strongly recommend going to a breastfeeding group before the baby arrives - you'll get some good tips about feeding, plus get a chance to see what it looks like, and best of all, you'll have friends who you can comfortably feed in front of (if you choose to feed in public at all, of course, it is your call!).

In the early weeks it can be hard to e discreet as it's all a bit fiddly and new to both of you, but after that it's surprising how discreet it can be. I've had whole conversations with friends before they've realised I was feeding throughout! What helped me was also practising in front of a mirror, so I knew how to do it without any slip ups. Big cardigans and scarves are your friend with this.

Sunnysummer Thu 27-Mar-14 05:23:13

Or if you really hate it, there's really no shame if you choose to either express and bottle feed in public or even give an occasional bottle of formula, after giving yourself a few weeks to establish bfing. As we were just discussing in another thread, in Japan, where my family are from, this is the most common way of doing it, yet breastfeeding rates are way above the UK - it's not always all or nothing.

Personally I could never be bothered with the hassle, though, and you may find you're the same way afterwards too!

Sunnysummer Thu 27-Mar-14 05:23:18

Or if you really hate it, there's really no shame if you choose to either express and bottle feed in public or even give an occasional bottle of formula, after giving yourself a few weeks to establish bfing. As we were just discussing in another thread, in Japan, where my family are from, this is the most common way of doing it, yet breastfeeding rates are way above the UK - it's not always all or nothing.

Personally I could never be bothered with the hassle, though, and you may find you're the same way afterwards too!

Bambamb Thu 27-Mar-14 09:44:39

Definitely go to a group. The first time I BF in public with DC1 I was really nervous so myself & another lady I'd met at a group made a special trip to the park together just for that purpose. It really boosted my confidence. Mostly people just don't notice!

I love feeding vests, they're great. I also find a cover actually draws attention to you. I'd forgotten to wear a vest at the weekend (so blase these days with DC2, I would never have made that error with DC1!) so in Franky & Benny's (very busy, I was inches away from the table next to us) I used a muslin draped over her head. It was a mistake, more people knew what I was doing then! And our food arrived at that time so we had 2 waiters fussing about while DD kept coming off to try to see what was going on, haha! The place was heaving. It was fine.

Honestly, once you've done it a few times I bet you'll barely give it a thought. Don't let bad stories of people being hassled put you off. I fed DS for just over 2 years and DD is now 4.5 months and I fed every time I was out. I have never had a negative comment or glance that I am aware of.

badidea Thu 27-Mar-14 09:59:00

I have to say, I find bfeeding in front of family much more embarassing than in front of complete strangers (odd, I know) so when at home or visiting familiy I always feed my baby upstairs in a bedroom. If we're out and about (at a restaurant, cafe etc) then I just feed him at the table.

And I would also say initially I didn't really do big trips out unless I was with someone (DH or a friend) that way I had a bit of moral support whilst I was getting used to it.

I also used a breastvest (although any large vest top pulled under your bra would work) to hide my tummy, then a normal top over it that I'd lift up to feed, so that when you're feeding you really don't expose anything (also stops you getting draughty!)

I thought I'd feed in public way more this time (as it's my second child so woudl need to be out and about with my first) but he settled into a 2.5 hour feeding schedule all by himself at 2 weeks so we coudl nip into town, out for lunch, park etc and be back in time for a feed :-) DS1 fed literally all the time, so that just wasn't possible, each baby feeds differently so you might get more time than you think for visits out (or you might not!)

NotCitrus Thu 27-Mar-14 10:08:30

Look out for shops with feeding areas, changing rooms, and cafes that are pretty empty with sofas facing away from people, or booths to sit in.
Helps get your confidence up. Supermarket cafes are often deserted.

QuietNinjaTardis Thu 27-Mar-14 10:14:09

Yes to the vest. Pull top up, position baby in front of boob then pull vest/bra down, baby latches on. I felt really uncomfortable feeding with ds but I've fed loads out and about with dd. sometimes I use the pram as a screen if I feel a bit exposed, sometimes I've found a quiet corner other times I've just fed her even if its busy. Practise at home til you feel comfortable then go out a few times when there's someone with you. It's very unlikely anyone can see anything once babies latched on.

FastWindow Thu 27-Mar-14 16:49:39

I've just bf in Legoland...

I did bring a bottle but dd wouldn't entertain it. Luckily I was in a fairly remote area by the lake so I turned my back to the world and looked out over the lake. Great.

I was fortunately also wearing a jumper from next that had bizarre zips up both sides. Not from the maternity range or anything, but jolly handy for bf and not freezing your bare tummy off... Blasé here too, dd is my second.

Sunflower1985 Thu 27-Mar-14 20:59:26

I've found Mothercare and John Lewis feeding rooms to be very good when out and about, and the big shopping centres tend to do nicer ones (unlike the supermarkets where it's often a plastic chair and fluorescent lights)
The easiest thing as ds grew a bit and feeding was no longer awkward was to feed in a baby carrier/sling.
Now ds is 8mo I use feeding as an excuse to go to a cafe and have a sit down and a drink. grin

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