Breastfeeding in public has several personal and community benefits. Here are 3 tips to boost your confidence of breastfeeding/pumping milk in public.
These days, intense controversy surrounds breastfeeding and pumping in public. So much so that before stepping out of her home, milk makin’ mamas ask themselves questions like:
- Is it appropriate and acceptable for me to breastfeed in public?
- If I do breastfeed or pump in public, should I cover up? If I do not, what will people say?
- If I need to pump while I am out and about, where can I go that is safe and private?
- If I nurse outside of my home, will I be shamed by on-lookers, family or friends?
As moms address these questions a couple things can happen. Some moms avoid public displays of breastfeeding all together, opting instead to meticulously (like, down to the minute) plan outings and errands around their child’s nursing schedule. Their fingers crossed all the while, hoping their baby does not get hungry unexpectedly.
Other moms, faced with a hungry baby in public, end up breastfeeding in a dark corner, a parked car or worse still, a bathroom stall!
Mamas who choose to pump often can not find safe, private places to express their milk, so they too end up in dark corners, parked cars, bathroom stalls or not-so-private rooms at their workplace.
None of these scenarios should happen to any mom anywhere, ever!
Listen, our children do not only get hungry at home. Breastfeeding moms deserve to feel comfortable and confident feeding their child with or without a cover, whenever and wherever their child becomes hungry.
And pumping moms deserve access to safe, private and appropriate spaces to pump and store breast milk for their children.
The best way to ensure that breastfeeding and pumping women can receive the public acceptance and respect needed to confidently breastfeed and pump outside of their home, is for more women to do it!
4 Benefits Of Breastfeeding/Pumping In Public
Breastfeeding in public and pumping outside of the home has several personal and community benefits.
1. The more often that our sons, daughters, peers and neighbors see mothers feeding their children liquid gold aka breast milk, the more normal breastfeeding publically or in the home becomes.
2. Moms who are uncertain about breastfeeding and pumping may feel more confident about choosing to breastfeed when they see another mama calmly, confidently and beautifully breastfeeding in public.
3. A pregnant mama planning for her return to work can be inspired by seeing one of her peers pumping and storing milk at the workplace and making a smooth transition back to work from maternity leave.
4. The more regularly a milk makin’ mama breastfeeds and pumps outside of the home, the more confidence they gain over time.
Before I give you some tips on how to breastfeed and pump in public, I want to address the fact that not all women feel comfortable breastfeeding in public. And I get it.
For some mamas, breastfeeding is a private act that they do not want to do in the public eye. But, in my experience, more moms are hesitant to breastfeed in public, not because they think it is a private act, but because they have been discouraged by the current stigma that surrounds breastfeeding in public.
Here is the thing. If you are one of the many mamas who does not breastfeed in public because you are afraid of being shamed, embarrassed or harassed, you are the perfect mom to try breastfeeding in public.
Think about it, you can have a hand in reversing the stigma and normalizing public breastfeeding. How awesome is that!
3 Tips To Confident Breastfeeding In Public
Here are 3 tips to help you breastfeed in public; successfully!
1. Practice At Home
Usually mamas breastfeed at home with little to no modesty, often with one boob or the other hanging out, shirt wet from breast milk. And why not, you are at home, right?
But, when we breastfeed in public, moms need to be more discreet. So I encourage mamas to practice breastfeeding in ways that keep your breasts out of site at home first.
There are several things you can try:
- Try nursing with your shirt on placing baby under the bottom of shirt. Button downs and loose fitting, flowy shirts work best for this.
- Try taking your breast out of the top of your shirt and covering your baby and breast with a beautiful shall or scarf. Choose a breathable fabric like cotton.
Experimenting at home will help you to learn what works for you and your baby.
2. Choose A Location Where You Feel Comfortable
For your first public breastfeeding experience, I suggest you go to a place where you feel comfortable. Perhaps it is a place you frequented prior to your child’s birth.
Or it may be a place that has really comfy seating and a relaxed vibe. In addition to choosing the right place, try to go at a time when the place you choose will not be super crowded or busy.
3. Bring A Friend Or Family Member With You
Many of us feel more confident when we have a friend or loved one with us when we try something new. The same is true with breastfeeding in public.
For your first time, bring someone with you to be your cheerleader.