May 31, 2011 (11:32 pm)

Breastfeeding in Public – 11 Tips

by Kristen Suzanne

I’m becoming something of a pro with breastfeeding in public nowadays… just whip it out and FOOMP (that’s the sound of putting her on with precision and speed lol). But, twas wasn’t always the case. A few months back, I inquired with my awesome facebook friends for tips and advice.

Here was the question I posted with the following bullets as some that I thought were good:

What are your tips for getting baby comfy (in the literal, physical sense) nursing in public. More specifically, at home I use a big nursing pillow, but when we’re out, the small pillow I bring isn’t always easy. Is there an easy way to do this that I’m missing (without the pillow)?

  • Crossing a leg so an ankle is resting on the opposite knee and resting the arm cradling baby’s head on the crossed leg… so the baby is propped a bit.
  • Nurse in a Moby or sling which serves as a cover.
  • Prop arm on purse or diaper bag. If baby is easily distracted, cover up with a blanket.
  • Try to either lean back a little so baby’s weight was off mom’s arm.
  • Try to find a chair with an armrest.
  • When baby is a toddler… baby just stood and nursed.
  • At even a very early age: Nursing while baby sits up on a knee, head supported in hand… I find this position works great in public situations when you dont have a pillow on hand but it also helps prevent gas-keeping baby happier, longer.
  • When they were old enough to sit up, I would let them sit on my lap/vertically to nurse.
  • Use a blanket as a pillow.
  • Had a ring sling also called a William Sears Sling designed by Dr William Sears, breastfed my daughter in it till she was 27 months.
  • Personally, I have also found that I prefer normal shirts or tank tops that I lift up, as opposed to the breastfeeding tank tops that unsnap on the strap and you pull down. I think it’s more obvious and attention grabbing with the latter.
Do you have any tips for other mamas out there wondering the same thing?
  • Oh, and in case you missed this post from December, there is some great breastfeeding info here, too.

Image credit: Naturemandala

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  • Lyndsay

    I use a pregnancy belly band to hide my tummy- I tuck the top under my bra and just pull up my regular shirt. It just looks (well, I think it looks) like a tank under my shirt.

  • Renée MBM

    Crossing the legs to prop up is easiest for me. Everything else gets in the way! Pulling the top up or down didn’t bother me – I even got used to bras with clips everywhere. I had to get used to not covering up much, because the baby couldn’t stand it. And practice makes perfect, like most things.

    I think the most important part to breastfeeding in public is JUST DO IT! The more people who see it, the more common it becomes (although it must be little bit common throughout history! lol), then more mothers will be brave enough to do it.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    well said!

  • Katie

    I have a friend who had a baby boy in January- he eats constantly so she is always having to breastfeed in public… I am amazed at how good at it she is. She usually uses the diaper bag to put her elbow on and some how turns him so he is somewhat facing her. She does use a cover but only becuase her son gets distracted too easily! I have not had a biological child yet but plan to in the near future and breastfeeding in public will definitely be on my list of things to tackle thanks for the tips!

  • Stefania Ruggieri La Barre

    I usually find a booth in a coffee shop like Panera. If out and about, I find a dressing room because they have benches- I can sit, relax, if she fusses it causes less commotion, etc. But I have also done it out in the open- I force myself to in an effort to normalize it. A coworker who knows I BF told me she saw a woman walking and breastfeeding in a busy shopping area, with no carrier or cover. I only said, “Wow, good for her that she is able to walk and do it, I am not that coordinated!” She was incredulous- she thinks women should use covers or do it in the bathroom if they can’t find some private place. I replied that bathrooms are gross, there are almost no private places when shopping, dining out, etc, and my kid, and many others, hate being covered. I told her, its not like stripping, the child is eating. If it makes you uncomfortable, just look away. 

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Good for you! :)

  • Lindsay

    Great idea, maybe I’ll try the baby sitting on knee method when #2 gets older!  I, too, feel a little like I’m on a mission when I’m BF in public.  It’s what they are MEANT FOR, folks!

  • S.

    I use a baby blanket-size cloth (with a little more length) with a slit in the center about a foot to 1 1/2 feet long.  The cloth is light and airy and you can actually see through it if you hold it over your face, but with the design people can’t see through.  My babe can see me and I can adjust and see her by looking down through the slit.  If you like I could probally make and send you one.  I’d be happy to.


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Kristen Suzanne is a Raw food chef and author who blogs about all things green and mommy-related! More...

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