Breastfeeding in Public
Breasts are celebrated on magazine covers, in advertisements, and all over beaches. Ironically, however, they’re not always so readily embraced by the public when they’re serving their functional purpose of baby-feeding.
Not quite sure about unbuttoning in public to feed your hungry baby? It can be uncomfortable the first time. You might wonder about the legality of public breastfeeding; as it turns out, federal law protects your right to publicly breastfeed in all 50 states!
This guide from What to Expect will have you ready to breastfeed publicly with confidence in no time at all. It’s full of information you need to know about your right to feed your baby. Here are a few of their tips for feeding baby in public:
- “Dress for (nursing) success. Give baby easier access to his or her lunch—and yourself more privacy—with two-piece outfits (no dresses, unless they have a wrap-style front or open from the front). Ideally, opt for shirts that button from the bottom up, lift up or pull to the side easily.
- Practice. Before you head out, have your baby latch on while you watch in the mirror to see how much exposure you’re getting, or ask your partner or a friend to observe. If you’re not comfortable with the full-frontal view, you can practice turning to the side until you find what angle works best.
- Try a cover. Put a blanket, shawl or poncho over your shoulders so that it drapes over your baby’s head. To make sure he or she has room for easy feeding and breathing (and doesn’t get overheated), be sure it’s well-ventilated. If you’re eating out together, a large napkin can even provide cover.
- Wear your baby. A sling makes public breastfeeding extremely discreet (people will just think your baby is snoozing) and incredibly convenient.
- Scout out nursing spots. Find an out-of-the-way table in a restaurant, a bench under a tree, a quiet corner with a roomy chair in a bookstore or a dressing room in a department store. Turn away from people while your baby is latching on, and turn back once your baby is well-positioned at your breast.
- Ask for special accommodations. Many public places, including large stores, shopping malls, airports and even amusement parks, now offer special nursing rooms complete with comfy chairs and changing tables.
- Feed before the frenzy. Don’t let your baby get so hungry that he or starts to fuss and cry. It’s much easier to nurse discreetly if you’re both calm.
- Know your nursing rights. And feel good about exercising them.
- Do what comes naturally. If feeding your baby in public feels right, go ahead and do it. If it doesn’t, even after some practice, opt for privacy whenever you can.”