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Breastfeeding in Public

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What are the dos and don'ts of breastfeeding in public?

woman breastfeeding

First and foremost, know that breastfeeding in public is legal. There will be times when breastfeeding will make others uncomfortable, and in some cases, someone may even ask you to stop or to go elsewhere to nurse (such as a restroom or a more private place). Breastfeeding is a right every mother has and is the best possible nutrition for your baby.

If you feel that others might be uncomfortable with your nursing, there are ways to nurse discreetly. A good basic tip is to wear a loose top so you can lift it quickly enough for your baby to latch on; in most cases, you won't be noticed if you're being discreet. You may be a bit hesitant at first -- or even a bit uncomfortable about exposing your nipple in public -- but over time, your confidence will grow, as this is part of the breastfeeding experience. Build your confidence at home before going out in public -- particularly with latching on -- so you don't have to fuss with this in public.

Do what you can to prepare yourself for this wonderful experience. Preparation is key to easing you into public nursing. Besides nursing bras and pads, there are nursing tanks and slings that make it more convenient to nurse discreetly in public. Practice at home until you feel ready to try them in public. Additionally, there are many mommy-friendly options available in public (such as nursing rooms and nursing lounges) to help transition you into breastfeeding away from home. Also, keep in mind that if you appear confident and unapologetic about breastfeeding, others around you will not be so bothered by it. Breastfeeding is your right, and it's the most beautiful and natural experience of being a mother.

If you need more information or support about breastfeeding, contact the wonderful international organization called The La Leche League.

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Carolyn April 7, 2010, 9:00 PM

I breastfed all three of my daughters and did so in public quite often. I was always discreet but I still got many comments… all from older women. One time I was nursing in a chair near a dressing room of a store and an older women said to me, “There are chairs in the restroom for that.” I ignored her. Why would I want to feed my child in a bathroom? I’m sure she didn’t eat her food in the bathroom!

MJ July 1, 2010, 4:37 AM

i don’t like the wording in this article, if you want to cover go right ahead, but if you feel others might be uncomfortable, you do not need to cover as long as you are comfortable.

Stacie August 3, 2010, 9:00 AM

I’m about to be a first-time mom (due next month!) and I’m a little worried about breastfeeding in public. I mean, when the heck else have I exposed my nipple in public? I was comforted by the advice in this article. Thanks. :)

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