Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tips for Nursing in Public

Wow, do we have some amazing readers! Last month on our Facebook page I asked for tips on nursing in public from you. Though I definitely have some of my own tips, the following is so good and covers it all that I don’t need to write anything. You all are wonderful, caring women that are SO helpful to mamas everywhere!

So, without further ado, here is the list of tips for nursing in public:

  • ~ Get a few good nursing tank tops (I love the ones from Bravado!) and a nice big lightweight blanket you can use as a cover-up (I love love love my Aiden & Anais and Banbino muslin blankets!). Also, scope out public places for areas where you can nurse with a little more privacy. For example, in Sioux Falls JC Penney’s has two couches in the women’s lounge, the airport has a small baby care area near the restrooms with a chair, the Washington Pavillion has a family restroom with a chair, etc.
  • ~ Relax and don’t worry about what others may or may NOT be thinking. And if you are worried about showing belly – wear a nursing tank, or Undercover Mama…easy peasy and nothing will show J
  • ~ Feel free to nurse wherever you want and don’t let ‘onlookers’ make you shy away from it. Find a good lightweight blanket or nursing cover for privacy. Don’t ever feel like you have to go to the bathroom to nurse. We don’t eat in the bathroom, why should your baby?
  • ~ Find some confidence and a corner
  • ~ If you like to be discreet, practice a couple times in front of a mirror if you are worried about flashing someone J. It helped me and gave me more confidence – there were many times people didn’t even know I was nursing…they just thought I was holding a sleeping baby J
  • ~ I have done it twice with my latest child in two different restaurants in Sioux Falls. I had a nice lightweight blankie from great-grandma so I didn’t show any, and I nursed on the side next to the wall so everything would be covered. And DON’T care if people look.
  • ~ Don’t worry about what others think…I know a lot of moms are scared to nurse in public. Every time I see a nursing mom I give her a big thumbs up or say I’m proud she’s nursing in public. I also say I nurse in public. I was at Mt. Rushmore last summer, sitting on the cold cement floor trying to nurse a 5-month-old baby in the corner to try to get a little privacy (my daughter would not let me cover her up - I used an Undercover Mama tank too) . An older lady who worked at Mt. Rushmore went into the break room and got me a chair because there was not a place to nurse. She gave me lots of kudos for nursing my baby and said many more women need to nurse…she even told her supervisor to get chairs there. I have not been back yet to check, but I hope they did follow up. Just don’t let someone else tell you not to do what you feel is right for your baby and self…STAND UP FOR YOURSELF. Most people don’t even care if you are nursing in public or with all the new shirts, etc, they can’t even tell.
  • ~ I couldn’t have survived without my nursing poncho from Modest Momz!! J Because it’s a poncho it covers you 360 degrees instead of just the front like the nursing bib-style cover-ups. No need to worry about people seeing your belly or in through the side. J
  • ~ Ditto what other ladies have said, don’t worry about what other people think or say. You’re doing what’s best for your baby and if they have an issue with it, they don’t have to look.
  • ~ I was sooooo stressed to nurse in public. What I found helped was going to places that other moms nursed in public, like the La Leche League meetings at Elegant Mommy. Also the New Baby and Me class at Sanford. That got me comfortable in the beginning seeing others nurse and then I had more confidence to nurse other places too. At first when baby was born and we had to go somewhere, I planned it around feeding time. Now we are out, and my husband is the one that says “What if he gets hungry?”  I respond with “Then I’ll feed him!” J
  • ~ I have six children and have nursed four of them…twins currently. I am using a nursing wrap for the first time and love it. I am not worried about it slipping like I did with a blanket and it is lightweight so my boys don’t get hot.
  • ~ I don’t nurse in public often, but the best thing for me is the Aiden and Anais blankets. I’ve never really gotten the knack for the covers, but I love how easy it is to cover everything up with a nice, big blanket. Nursing tanks were a lifesaver too, especially in the early days.
  • ~ I have nursed my now 13-month old everywhere… when he was little it didn’t matter where we were…he would get hungry. So, I had to just learn to not worry about what other people thought about it and just do it. At about 6 months old his aunt gave us one of those tie blankets (where you tie two pieces of fleece together). It was big and dark and we still use it.
  • ~ Sometimes a coverup makes it more obvious! Face it, the more people are exposed to it the less sensitive they will be. Just start out in a more comfortable place, practice at home, go to the La Leche League meetings, etc. Remember, another mom might be rejoicing to see you feeding in public when she might be nervous too.
  • ~ A nursing cover worked great when my little one was younger. I agree with practicing at home whether it’s with a cover, a nursing tank, etc, so that you get practice at not accidentally exposing yourself and doing it so you’re not flustered with a hungry baby. Nursing my 17 month old in public is more of a challenge now because he refuses to be covered, but I have had several people come up to me while I was nursing and say “Oh, looks like it’s snack time,” which I think is neat!
  • ~Do whatever makes YOU comfortable. If you are more comfortable covered up, use a cover.
  • ~ People will either rejoice or ignore you – either way it’s a win-win. I can’t tell you how many times people will come up and have a full out conversation with me about babies while I nurse.
  • ~ My sister loves her Hooter Hider for breastfeeding…it is a nursing cover with boning around the top so you can see straight down to baby without having to lift a blanket up
  • ~ With my first three I never nursed without a blanket while in public. I do agree that it can definitely draw more attention to you though. When using a blanket I always used the lightweight flannel so they didn’t get hot and also so I didn’t have to bring something extra (nursing cover) along. With my 4th I don’t use anything. What I do is try to plan my clothing appropriately for an outing. I avoid wearing t-shirts or sweatshirts and instead dress in layers. I agree, Undercover Mama is great. I also would wear zip-up hoodies, button up shirts with cami’s underneath or a cute v-neck shirt with a cami under it. I absolutely love Old Navy’s camisoles and found them to have the perfect stretch and give for nursing. I would go “out the top” of my bra and cami so my back, sides, and belly were still covered and then the v-neck shirt would cover the top of the breast. When baby is latched you can’t see anything and it just looks like you’re cuddling your pumpkin! I think the most important thing is to consider where you’re going and plan ahead when you get dressed!

Ok, so I decided that I can’t not write anything – ha! I guess after all these wonderful tips and personal testimonies, I would just like to make sure that you know that it’s ok to nurse your baby whenever and wherever he or she is hungry, whether you are at your home, your in-laws home, at a restaurant, at church, or at a baseball game. If your baby is hungry, feed him or her! You do NOT have to go into a bathroom or ask permission from anyone who may be around. You can be as discreet as you feel like you need to be…there are many great products available out there to help with whatever level of “cover-up” you want. Don’t let nursing in public scare you or cause you not to go out – or worse yet, not to nurse your darling little one! If you need help with covers, just let us know either here on the blog, on our facebook page, or via email – we are SO happy to help you in whatever way we can!

Happy nursing and keep it up!!


Anonymous said...

Another great place is a changing room in a clothing or department store.

Beth Joramo said...

Great advice and info! Thanks for compiling all these "tried and true" tips for new or new to nursing outside of home mommies!