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Really nervous about bf in public

(31 Posts)
memoo Sat 05-Sep-09 21:02:44

I being induced on friday with DC number 3.

I never managed to breastfeed my first 2 DC and I am so determined to get it right with this one.

The problem is I have real body issues and the idea of breastfeeding in front of anyone except DH makes me really nervous.

I know its possible to be discrete but how do you manage it in the early days when you're still get to grips with it all?

KnickersandVests Sat 05-Sep-09 21:13:47

With some careful draping/arranging of muslin cloths perhaps?

TBH for the first couple of weeks I didn't leave the house, I think it's easiest to just not get dressed and properly and then the issue of showing your norks off to anyone until you've got the hang of BFing might not be such a big deal.

However I have to say and it's only my opinion that for successful breastfeeding you're going to have to relax a bit about gettin em out which I'm sure you've already thought yourself and will work on when the baby is here.

It's a lovely sight, a baby on the breast, so natural, please don't be put off by any negative thoughts or feelings you may have now.

Meglet Sat 05-Sep-09 21:16:08

Can you stay tucked up at home as much as possible after dc is born so you can get practise bf lots before you venture out?

Have you tried bf vests (H+M, JOJO catalogue and probably loads of other shops). I loved mine as I could wear a normal, slightly loose top and my stomach would still be covered up when I bf. Much easier and more dignified than bf tops with slits for your boobs! They are warmer in winter too.

Often if I was out in public I would quickly leave the room when I wanted to latch dd on then come back once she was drinking away and I felt covered up. You could get your baby latched on and ask your dh to take a photo from the front and you may be suprised how little skin you are showing. I hope it all goes well for you this week!

Caro1302 Sat 05-Sep-09 21:18:29

My pregnancy bump band gets worn when I'm out- it covers my flabby tummy which makes me feel loads more confident. I'd far rather flash a bit of boob than my stomach. I largely avoided public bf for about 2 weeks then got caught in Tesco needing an urgent feed and just did it. Once I'd done it once without anyone batting an eyelid I felt confident enough to go anywhere. Now I get 'em out all the time and DD is only a month old.

Psychobabble Sat 05-Sep-09 21:24:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cassell Sat 05-Sep-09 21:26:30

I was a bit worried about this beforehand but tbh nobody really notices anyway - ime they're far more likely to turn to look at a screaming hungry baby than a contented suckling one grin and I've fed in loads of places I didn't expect to. The first couple of times are a bit tricky but it's definitely worth perservering.

I agree the type of top you wear does make a big difference, I've steered clear of any you have to lift up and gone for ones that you can undo instead - my usual combo is a shirt over a vest top, that way you can undo the shirt a bit and just pull the vest top down on one side and from the side you still have the shirt covering you so hardly anything is shown at all.

Also, I would suggest that you try bf at home with friends/female relatives present so you can get comfortable doing it discretely before you do it outside

eeky Sat 05-Sep-09 21:34:18

Although I had no problems feeding dd, I always felt a little awkward about feeding her in public, I'm ashamed to say. Once you've got the hang of bf generally after first couple of weeks it gets easier to do discretely. It very much depends on support you get - I tried to feed her very discretely whilst at parents (bf top and a muslin, so fully covered), but they obviously found this cringingly embarrassing and kept ushering me into the bedroom "for some privacy". My mother is not a big fan of bf and used to make lots of comments about how do you know she's getting enough, had you considered feeding her NORMALLY angry etc etc. Dh could not be more supportive, though.

I found it helpful to start off at postnatal or playgroups where other mums will be bf. Really depends where you are - cafes in department stores etc where other mums are to be found are a good bet often. Some of my happiest memories of bf her are on holiday on Islands/West Coast of Sotland when she was 5/6 weeks old and pretty much attached all the time with big growth spurt. We were made welcome in every pub, cafe, restaurant that we went to, with a labrador in tow as well! I spent many hours with her on the boob under my waterproofs, eating delicious meals with other hand - expert at scoffing venison burger cut in half for me by my wonderful dh. I was even offered cushions and magazine to read whilst she finished feeding at one great pub!

Expecting ds in next 2 weeks and determined to bf whilst out and about more. Just remember to keep good supply of muslins/scarves and breast pads with you to avoid wet patches. I found wearing cheap stretchy vest which you pull down to cover tum, underneath longer top such as roomy long-sleeved T-shirt, which you pull up, worked well.

Boodlerpoop Sat 05-Sep-09 21:34:38

practice in front of a mirror, really helps

Pyrocanthus Sat 05-Sep-09 21:48:22

Try and give yourself time to get the hang of it at home if you can, and experiment with clothing combinations. Once you're feeling confident about it, you needn't worry about your body issues, because there won't be any body on view.

I agree with cassell that people don't notice much - I know you hear stories about negative remarks and so on, but I never got the impression that anyone was remotely interested in me bfing in public.

hanaflowerhatestheDM Sat 05-Sep-09 22:18:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Misspaella Sun 06-Sep-09 09:31:13

I second using bump bands...I feel way more comfortable showing as little flesh as possible. Also, keeps spares of muslins in your bag, buggy etc so you always have something to drape over you (if you wish of course!).

I did avoid bf in public to start w/only as I needed pillows and other props for the first few weeks. I then started going to friend's houses to feed as I got more comfortable.

I am still not great at bf in public especially as DS2 and I still need to work on our latch. It is very hard to put him on quickly and discreetly. But so far I have fed on a bench at a bus stop (he was going beserk and I really needed to feed him), Ikea chair dept (their "nursing room" was where you also changed nappies and it was hot and stinky and I could not bear the smell.) and various cafes. I try and go to family geared cafes although once I went to a Costa that was full of singletons and their laptops. I had no choice but to sit on the bench between all of them (all the "discreet" seats at the back taken). I did mention to the gentleman next to me I was about to feed (thought pre-warning him was a good idea). Thankfully I also had my spare muslin cloth to use.

Good luck and hope no 3 is a doddle. smile

cathylb Sun 06-Sep-09 10:16:18

I avoided it for the first few weeks while we got the hang of it. You'll get to know the kind of places where you feel comfortable: which cafes and places are quiet and friendly etc. If you're due to feed on the right hand side just make sure that that's the side tucked into the wall/corner/husband etc. and if you can't find somewhere like that then I used to bring the pushchair right up to me on that side. You get so quick at latching them on and once they're on just hang a muslin over your shoulder and baby's face. Most people won't notice as you just look like you're giving baby a cuddle.

The tricky bit comes later when baby gets nosey and keeps breaking off to look around and you're left with your nipples waving around - but by then you won't care!

Good luck and dont be put off - it's so much easier when you're out and about than trying to find somewhere to heat bottles.


memoo Sun 06-Sep-09 13:13:09

thanks everyone, some really good advice. I think that baby and I will definately spend as much time at home getting use to it for the first few weeks.

I'm very fortunate that I'll have a lot of help from DH and my mum at first and they are both very much pro-breast feeding.

I will go and buy some muslin clothes this week at that is a fab idea, as is the idea about wearing a bump band.

I have noticed when I've been out that debenhams cafe seems to attract a lot of mums and babies, but I have never seen anyone breastfeeding there.

I really wish I knew someone who was breastfeeding at the mo so I go watch!

Do you think its acceptable to go along to a bf support group before baby is here and ask if I can watch how they do it?

Pyrocanthus Sun 06-Sep-09 13:26:17

It's certainly worth asking, I think it would be a great idea if the other mums are comfortable with it.

Family support is really important, so lucky you there.

whelk Sun 06-Sep-09 20:43:12

I third, fourth or whatever that the top you wear is all important. Personally i favour quite 'flowy' tops or even dresses over trousers as all the fabric can be arranged to hide everything. They also have the added benefit of covering saggy tummy! Also feed in front of a mirror and you will be amazed at how little you can see.
Also try to relax as if you are not relaxed then it really affects you letdown and then baby gets stressed and so do you!
In some circumstances, where I feel uncomfortable - inlaws etc then I do just go upstairs out of the way.

PurpleCrazyHorse Sun 06-Sep-09 21:07:39

Our hospital runs a BF afternoon as part of the antenatal course. Maybe yours does too and I'm sure the demonstrating mums would answer any questions and you could see how they do it.

I think BF groups would be pleased to have you along before DC arrives - our local one encourages it. Maybe find one and give them a call.

Good luck. I found BF really tricky but DD1 is now 13 days old and we're slowly getting the knack Finally can manage it without a pillow, next stop... Starbucks!!

LadyStealthPolarBear Sun 06-Sep-09 21:32:07

"Do you think its acceptable to go along to a bf support group before baby is here and ask if I can watch how they do it? "
Yes! I went to an NCT Bumps and Babies group when I was pregnant last time and someone feeding an older baby very kindly showed me in detail how to latch on and how the baby should be held. It was the most useful thing I did before the birth as far as breastfeeding goes

Chica31 Sun 06-Sep-09 21:41:58

I was like you and really nervous about Bfing in public. A good friend arranged to meet me in a cafe at feeding time i just had to get on with it. I haven't looked back since. DD is now 15 weeks old. Just take a deep breath and do it once, it's far easier than you think.

Cadelaide Sun 06-Sep-09 21:50:08

Memoo, just to boost your confidence, I have bf now for nearly 6 years in total and I have never, ever had any negative attention. I mean never.

Indeed, I've had barely any attention at all. Like you I was very nervous to begin with but you'll soon realise that no-one takes much notice apart from the odd soppy smile ime. Just the one time a woman stood in front of me and watched me bf. It was a bit odd. I was sitting on the ground in a pyo field and she just stood with her head on one side with a daft soppy expression muttering "beautiful". I felt like Madonna (you know, the first one).

Don't let that put you off though, that's the only time in 6 yrs I've felt uncomfortable and it was near Glastonbury! grin

BlueKangerooWonders Mon 07-Sep-09 04:57:05

Memoo - you say 'I have noticed when I've been out that debenhams cafe seems to attract a lot of mums and babies, but I have never seen anyone breastfeeding there' - the thing is, they might be b/f but you really wouldn't notice! When b/f is going OK, the baby will often latch on immediately and just go for it, and no one else notices what's happening, just that a baby isn't crying any more!

I agree with all the posters who say if you practise at home first, you'll work out how to b/f so that you and the baby are comfortable. If you get going, and check in a mirror, you'll see just how little of you is on display, and what clothes you feel most comfortable in.

Also like the idea of taking a friend for moral support!

memoo Mon 07-Sep-09 09:39:00

How sad is it that at the age of 34 I have never seen anyone breastfeeding, apart from a stranger from a distance. Non of my friends ever breast fed though, or they only managed it for a couple of days.

I have a midwife appointment this afternoon so I am going to ask her about local bf support groups. We also have a surestart centre nearby and I sure they must have bf support groups there. That will be my task for today, keep me busy smile

I do plan on spending the first couple of weeks snuggled up at home with my new baby, so hopefully by the time I venture out I will have got the hang of things a bit better and will feel a lot more confident.

Good idea to check out clothes in a mirror first, also going to root out all my tops that have buttons down the front.

Thanks for all the fab advice everyone

FlyingMonkey Mon 07-Sep-09 12:44:45

Hi Memoo

I don't enjoy BF in public, although I have done so a couple of times. I found it quite helpful to work out which shops etc. have baby changing rooms/BF facilities (e.g. Boots, Debenhams, Mothercare, M&S) so that if I am in town, there is somewhere I can pop into to feed DS. It definitely takes the stress out of it all and has given me confidence to feed in more public places if needs be.

As other ladies have said, wearing the right clothes help (I favour vest top under shirt and strategically placed muslin).

DS is nearly 6 months and I am now fairly blase about feeding him in front of friends and family and can manage in cafes etc without having palpations! Just take it slowly and let your confidence build up.

mumoj Mon 14-Sep-09 21:12:46

I've been bf now for 16 wks & still struggle with feeding in public. I've worked out where I can go with feeding rooms or where I can be near the car to go back to feed. My DS is very fussy feeder & doesn't even like me to talk to anyone else while he feeds so it's not that I wouldn't try, as much as he wouldn't let me. He was always on & off breast in 1st few months, so difficult to be discret. I am happy to feed in front of friends & family, but again it has to be reasonably quiet. The other thing I've always been able to do, is give him a top up inbetween feeds before I go out to make sure he isn't hungry when I'm out & he's never had a problem with that.
I know I'm pretty lucky though as he's been 4 hourly since 4 weeks & I can set my watch by him. Even when he has a growth spurt, he just feeds for longer, not more often.

I think you've just got to try differnt things & find what works for you. I do like the bump band thing. Unfortunalty I gave mine away to SIL who's expecting soon.

Good luck.

Pyrocanthus Mon 14-Sep-09 22:27:48

Mumoj - my DD2 went through a phase at 4-5 months of refusing to feed outside the house at all, and at her dottiest insisted on being fed upstairs on the bed - I'd forgotten about that. I felt like a hostage. She did get over it after a few weeks, but continued to be sensitive to noise for a long time (still doesn't like fireworks), so I assume she just wanted a bit of peace and quiet, like your DS.

Elpis Mon 21-Sep-09 20:02:32

My DD is 20 weeks old and I've now fed her on Eurostar, in most of the London parks, in several fairly formal restaurants and at my mother's funeral wake. No one has ever tutted or objected, tho' a few blokes do seem to find the spectacle irresistible, ahem. The hardest thing was getting her latched on without the aid of a My Brest Friend feeding cushion, which I've found invaluable, but too big to lug around on outings. Using a sling really helped, though. Billowy shirts work and so do raincoats and trenches - you can drape them strategically. Scarves are less useful as she bats them away or they drift in the wind.

I hope it works out for you - I really enjoy bfing and DD is thriving, so I hope to continue until she's a year old.

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