Have you seen the recent diaper commercial that compares a first-time mom breastfeeding in public to a second time mom breastfeeding in public? The first time mom is hunched in a corner of the restaurant, trying to keep her baby latched on and a blanket covering herself and her child. She looks, disheveled, frustrated, uncomfortable, anxious, slightly nervous and maybe even a little embarrassed. That is really how a lot of women feel their first time nursing in public. When you are a first-time mom, breastfeeding has a huge learning curve for both you and baby. You both are trying to get the hang of something that takes a little skill at first, and it is much easier and more comfortable to do in the safety of your own home.
However, new moms need to get out and live life too. We need to resume being a part of the human race so that we can start to feel like ourselves again and, most importantly, to avoid falling prey to the postpartum blues. Here are some tips to help prepare you to try nursing in public.
- Don’t go it alone. While nursing in public can be nerve-wracking, it is far less so if you do it with a friend or two who are also nursing. This can be a real confidence booster in the early stages and you may pick up a few tips or tricks from your pals.
- Dress for it. When you are nursing at home, you probably don’t care if your breasts or tummy are showing, but you might feel a little more self-conscious about that in public. If you want to feel confident and comfortable dressing in layers is key. Start with a supportive nursing bra, then you need either a nursing camisole or a camisole with stretchy straps, and then a top shirt or sweater that buttons partially, has a v-neck, an elastic neckline, or can easily be pulled up. Then either pull your top shirt neckline down and your bottom shirt waistband up to expose just enough breast to nurse, or do the reverse and lift your top shirt up and pull the neckline of your camisole neckline down to expose your breast for nursing. When dressed this way, your tummy and back are always covered, you expose just enough breast for baby, and you won’t have to fuss with a nursing cover unless you want to.
- If you are going to use a cover up in public, try it out at home first. Many babies HATE nursing covers and blankets because they want to look at you when nursing. Can you blame them? It’s a central time for bonding to occur because of the intimacy of the nursing relationship. However, if you feel you will really need to use a nursing cover or blanket in public, you should experiment with one at home too. That’s because you want them to associate it with nursing so they aren’t trying to constantly toss it off of them as older babies (older than 2-3 months) will often try to do. One note here is that a nursing cover automatically signals that you are nursing. If you try layering, like explained above, many people will just think you are holding sleeping baby, not a nursing one, so it draws less attention to you.
I hope these tips will help ease you into the art of public breastfeeding with more confidence and comfort. Eventually, with practice, public breastfeeding will become just part of your routine while you are out and about with your little one and you won’t even have to pause your conversation to get baby positioned and latched. Life with your new baby has many adjustments and this is just one of them. In a few months, you’ll be the calm, collected, confident mom you always hoped you would be.
Link to luvs first time mom second time mom breastfeeding video: