Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing – but comfort levels still vary for mothers when it comes to breastfeeding in public. Fortunately, there are ways that you can breastfeed your child confidently in public. At Annee Matthew, we believe that you should be able to do so boldly and without shame, but we are aware that sometimes the environment isn’t as nurturing or supportive of breastfeeding as it should be! So here are some tips that might help you out when you need to feed your baby in public:
1. What you wear matters
Choose clothes that are comfortable to breastfeed in – like nursing tops that are specially designed for easy access, so you don’t have to struggle with your clothes in public. The process should be smooth and easy. As nursing tops have clever nursing access points hidden in the design, they are still aesthetically pleasing, while being very functional. Without resorting to oversized tees or ill-fitting tops, your confidence goes a long way in helping you to breastfeed in public.
2. Consider accessories to help you out
Use a sling or even a wrap. With a bit of practice, you will be able to breastfeed your child in most wraps or slings and the fabric of the baby carrier has the dual function of covering your baby and your breast. You can even walk around while you are breastfeeding.
3. Get a bra that’s supportive yet easy to manage
Choose a bra that is easy to remove. Other than nursing bras, which are specially designed for breastfeeding, a lot of mothers also find that a stretchy sports bra works well for them (although they aren’t as supportive, and might press down uncomfortably on your breasts – so weigh out the pros and cons!). Get a variety of bras to test out your comfort level. Our nursing bras allow you to easily remove the clasp for access to the breast. Some mothers favor sports bras as they can simply pull the cup of the bra down under the breasts to feed the baby. If you are using a nursing bra that needs the cup to be lowered, it will help a lot if you are to practice undoing it at home so that you are comfortable about managing it in public.
4. Some use covers
If you would like more privacy, consider using a cover up. However, there are some babies who do not like having a blanket over their heads and will fuss about it, so be sure to experiment at home before making your breastfeeding foray in public – after all, you and your baby’s comfort still come first! Some mothers aren’t fans of the cover ups as they feel that it can send the message that breastfeeding is something to be ashamed of – but we’re of the school of thought as long as it’s something that allows you to feel more confident and comfortable, then it’s an empowering choice.
5. Plan your response
We’ve heard of and experienced instances where people might be thoughtless or even intrusive. In the event that you do encounter a less than ideal response, like a stranger who comes up to you and insists that you go to the washroom to breastfeed, or passes a negative comment, being prepared will help you to manage the situation. Stay calm and unruffled as far as possible. Know that you are not doing anything wrong. Prepare a set response, such as “I’m sorry to hear that it bothers you, but feeding my child is more important to me than protecting you from discomfort.” But also know that sometimes, it is better not to engage or to walk away, since there’s no way to change how everyone feels about any given situation. It’s just not worth being upset about.