There is so much controversy surrounding moms breastfeeding in public. Should it be avoided at all cost or should mothers be comfortable knowing that it’s just fine?
I remember asking my mom for a breastfeeding cover. I just wanted a simple one, but instead, she got me a dainty organic cotton nursing cover. To be honest, even if I asked for it because I knew I needed it – I didn’t feel comfortable using it.
Initial thoughts of embarrassment creeped in. Without admitting it, I guess I didn’t want people to look at me. And the first time I used it was inside the mall – in a parents room no less – where it was not needed! I know, it was so silly of me!
Then yeah, naturally my confidence grew more and more as I saw other moms do it like breastfeeding was the most natural thing in the world. And it sure is! Eventually, I grew so fond of my nursing cover that I really cannot leave home without it (as long as I had my baby with me).
Know your rights
Babies have a right to be breastfed and mothers have the right to breastfeed. However, there are people who give snide remarks or even confront mothers.
So all this controversy makes you think – is breastfeeding in public taboo or even illegal? Will I be kicked out of a cafe if I was breastfeeding my baby?
Remember, no one should discriminate you because breastfeeding is a right, not a privilege. Babies should breastfed anytime and anywhere.
It’s not like we can make babies wait or ignore them if they are hungry, right?
Wear comfortable nursing outfits
Nursing tops. Tube tops. Shirts with buttons. Nursing dress. Wrap dress. Name it, there’s a wide variety of nursing-friendly options you can choose from. What’s important is that you choose something easy to wear that won’t expose your belly.
I personally love nursing singlets or tank tops (with built-in bras). These are so comfortable to wear during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. You can wear it as such, as an undershirt, or you can even put a jacket over during cooler seasons. You can unhook and hook it back without fuss, and you are not exposing too much skin!
You can also look for tops and dresses with nursing slits to make your life better.
Use a breastfeeding cover or blanket
This will build your confidence and you are clearly not exposing yourself. Choose an appropriate cloth material for the season. If its summer, you can’t use something thick and warm otherwise your baby will overheat and breastfeeding won’t be so enjoyable for both of you. And likewise for winter.
There are so many available designs in the market. There are those that look like aprons with wire in front, a shawl, or even a scarf – lots to choose from.
My mom was actually surprised to know that there was such a thing as a nursing cover. I asked her what she used way, way back. She said nothing. Oh dear…
You can also use a sling or baby carrier. It just takes a little getting used to.
Choose a nice, relaxing spot
If there was a parents room or feeding room say in a mall or airport, feel free to go for it. Otherwise, not all areas will have such a place. So maybe you can opt for a place where there’s not much people or somewhere quiet (if possible).
Try to be a comfortable as you can be. But please, please, please, do not feed your baby in the toilet. Even adults don’t want to eat there…
Now, obviously people think differently. And we cannot control that. What we should do is to change our mindset and work on things we can control.
If people are used to seeing sexy photos on print and screen, why should breastfeeding be such an issue? So when you get weird looks and stares, just think like a care bear. Care bear, stare! 🙂
Your stare should actually be a smile. After all, you are feeding someone. And if people disapprove, so what?
In conclusion, mothers should have a life. Do not confine yourself at home because you feel uncomfortable. What I can suggest is that you feed your baby before you leave home. It might then mean that it will be a while before the need for the next feed. Or perhaps your baby only needs a top up or short feed when you’re out.
Breastfeeding is such a joy because you can do it anytime and anywhere. Be proud! You may feel nervous about breastfeeding in public at the start. But there is nothing that practice cannot fix. Just keep at it and your confidence will just keep on growing. Never mind people who will always hate, hate, hate. If you do it discreetly and maintain a positive attitude, there should be no problem.
Have you experienced breastfeeding in public? I would love to hear from you. Please leave your comments and share your stories below.