Breastfeeding is hard. And breastfeeding in public can be even harder. Just because breastfeeding is natural, doesn’t mean it always comes naturally. And being a new mama, it can take a bit to find your groove. But when you get that perfect latch, you hear their little gulps and you know your little one is filling their little belly, it makes it all worth it.
And just when you think you’re starting to get the hang of things, you start preparing for your first outing. Wait a minute… What happens when she gets hungry? What do I do? Do I feed her in the car, should I pump a bottle before I leave the house, do I go feed her in the bathroom? (Hint: the answer is please do not feed your baby in the bathroom, ever!).
In case you’re wondering in what states is breastfeeding in public illegal?! Don’t worry. It’s now legal to breastfeed your baby, with or without a cover, in all 50 states. You feed that baby whenever and wherever you need to mama.
But feeding in public for the first time can be scary, especially for a new mom. So here’s a roundup of my top breastfeeding in public tips.
Nursing in public tips
Practice at home
This might sound counterintuitive, but trust me, it works. Sit on your couch and practice pulling up your shirt and latching that baby. Getting the latch is usually the hardest part. But once you get that down, it’s smooth sailing from there.
The next time you have friends or family coming over to visit, practice feeding your little one right there in the comfort of your own home in front of people you feel comfortable with. Continue on with your conversation, or dinner, all while feeding that babe.
Try the 2-shirt method
If you haven’t heard of the 2-shirt method, it’s about to be your new best friend. It allows you to wear all your favorite tops that you wore before having a baby, no need to spend money on “nursing friendly” clothing. The 2-shirt method keeps your postpartum belly covered, while also keeping your chest covered (nothing to see over here) AND allows your baby to peak up at mom when he wants to for comfort.
Here’s how it works: Put on a thin cami or nursing tank. Throw on your favorite tee. Then pull up your top shirt, and pull down the neck of your tank. Now latch your baby and go on with your conversation. Easy peasy.
Start with a nursing cover
Nursing covers can be great training wheels for anyone who doesn’t yet feel comfortable feeding in public. They allow you to be completely covered while you’re breastfeeding out and about.
But be aware, babies like to see mom when feeding, it’s what makes them feel comfort and know they’re safe, so your baby might try to pull/bat it down any chance they get. Sometimes, covers can be more trouble than they are helpful when your baby is determined to see you.
But they can be great to start with. And if your baby doesn’t mind it, nursing covers may be your new favorite way to feed in public. And when you start getting the hang of things, you might get comfortable enough to #dropthecover.
Support other breastfeeding moms. Fake it ‘til you make it
The more you support other breastfeeding moms, the more confidence you build for yourself. The next time you’re out and about and see another breastfeeding mom, offer her your seat, give her a nod and smile, tell her she’s doing an amazing job. You never know, it could be her first time feeding in public and your little nod of support instantly made her feel some relief and gave her a bit more confidence.
It can completely change her breastfeeding journey forever, as well as boost your own confidence for when it’s your turn.
I once was feeding my son Koda at the park, I still wasn’t quite comfortable feeding in front of people yet but hey, babe was hungry, so we did what we had to do. A woman walked over to me, smiled, handed me a card, told me I was doing great and walked away. After she left, I looked at the card and it simply said… “thank you for breastfeeding in public”. I didn’t even know I needed that, but wow. It changed everything for me.
You can print some of these cards off for free here. Print a bunch off, cut them out and keep a stack in your diaper back. That way you can pull one out whenever you need to.
Well there you have it. These are some of my favorite tips for breastfeeding in public. But remember, you can feed that baby whenever and wherever you need to, with or without a cover.
🍼 Read more:
20 Breastfeeding Tips for New Mamas
Your Breasts after Breastfeeding: What’s normal?
10 Foods to Increase Milk Supply
A Guide to Breastfeeding While Pregnant
How to Stop Breastfeeding (When You’re Ready)