We get a lot of questions about nursing in public from Mums visiting breastfeeding groups throughout Kent. Here are some top tips if you are concerned about getting out and about with your new baby.
- Come to a breastfeeding group
A breastfeeding group is the perfect place to come and feed your baby if you are feeling a little unsure about breastfeeding while out and about. You will not be alone, will pick up tips and gain confidence in breastfeeding sitting amongst other mothers feeding their babies. You can also make new friends and go out together with your babies.
- Practice at Home
Everyone will want to see your new bundle of joy when s/he arrives so practice in front of close family and friends while you are still learning to breastfeeding. They will assure you that from their point of view there isn’t much they can see. You can also reassure yourself by breastfeeding in front of a mirror.
- Plan your Trip and Take Along a Friend
A newborn baby feeds often so you might need to feed during outings away from the house. Planning ahead can help reduce stress when baby gets hungry when you are out shopping. When you are more confident at breastfeeding, you may just look out for a chair so that you can sit down. You may feel confident enough to breastfeed absolutely anywhere and everywhere from day 1. If you want to breastfeed in a more private place consider visiting a shopping centre with breastfeeding rooms, many department stores have lounge areas or feeding rooms also. You could also breastfeed in a changing room, your car (never when the car is moving) or a booth seat in a restaurant or cafe.
Taking along a friend can help boost your confidence when feeding in public and having a conversation with them directs your attention towards them instead of the people around you.
- Plan your outfit
There are lots of outfit options available for breastfeeding when out and about. There are tops and dresses specifically designed to give easy access for breastfeeding, but there are lots of ways to save your money by using items of clothing you already have, or by looking for regular clothing that can be accessed easily.
- Loose fitting tops can be pulled up. Wearing a vest top or a belly band left over from pregnancy will make sure your tummy is covered.
- A nursing vest gives easy access for breastfeeding and you can get a little bit more coverage hen you pair it with a cardigan or scarf.
- A dress of top that has buttons at the front can provide easy access for breastfeeding.
- A top that has very wide arms can provide surprising access for breastfeeding.
- A crossover top, a top with a very stretchy neckline or a cowl neck can provide access for breastfeeding.
- Clothing with a pattern can help hide spit-up.
- Finding your confidence
While you have the right to feed your baby in any place that both of you are welcome, some new parents can still feel worried when out and about. Whether you choose to cover up or not when breastfeeding is completely up to you. Many mothers find that if they choose to cover when feeding at first, that once they have had more practice and built their confidence then they no longer feel the need to use a cover. A cover can be expensive, but there are lots of less expensive options you could try to save some money.
- Tuck a muslin in your bra strap.
- Use a blanket you already have.
- If you are wearing a cardigan, use it to give yourself a little coverage when baby latches on.
You and your baby will take a little time to learn how to breastfeed, but you’ll get better and better, and it’ll become easier and easier. You’ll soon get the hang of it and breastfeed out and about without even thinking about it.