How to breastfeed in public with confidence

breastfeed in public

I always knew that if I ever had a baby I would breastfeed, I have no problem with mothers who bottle feed but I knew that wasn’t the feeding method for me. Before I had my babies, one of the things that worried me about breastfeeding was how I would feel when it came to feeding my baby out of the house. Unfortunately, breastfeeding in public is still seen as a bit controversial and is a bit of a taboo subject, I have no idea why as women have been doing it forever. Because of this often negative view of breastfeeding in public places, nursing mums can often feel self conscious and nervous when feeding out and about. I know from my experience as a first time Mum at 22 how stressed and anxious I felt feeding Leo out of the house in those early weeks.

Now, I’m almost 3 months into feeding my second baby and I will seriously feed him anywhere. If he is hungry then I’m going to feed him whether that’s at home, in a coffee shop or on platform 3 at the train station. When it comes to breastfeeding in public I have learnt not to be self conscious and I am so much more confident now than I was as a first time breastfeeding mummy. If you are pregnant or a new mummy who is nervous about feeding your baby out of the house, here is my quick guide to breastfeeding in public with confidence.

How to breastfeed in public with confidence.

1. Dress for the occasion – When feeding your baby you are obviously going to have to get your boob out, it’s unavoidable. However, the less flesh you have on display the more confident you will feel. I like to wear a nursing vest top under a normal top, this way my mum tum is still hidden and the top of my chest isn’t on display either. I just lift the top layer up and pull the bottom layer down enough to latch baby on. It’s easy and discrete and I feel relaxed that all anyone can see is my baby’s head and my clothes. I would never judge a mum for exposing more if she wants to while feeding but I have found the ‘2 top’ method is the best way for me to feel relaxed and at ease while feeding.

2. Timing is everything – When a newborn is hungry they are hungry now. I have always found more people are likely to stare if your baby is screaming bloody murder than if you are just sat feeding them. I have had the whole of Costa watch as I attempted to latch a screaming Leo on as I didn’t pick up on his hungry cues early enough and by the time we sat down he was screeching his head off. To avoid the unwanted stares try and time your stops around feeds while you’re out so you can feed your baby just when they start to get hungry, not when their cries are drawing attention to your table like a moth to a flame.

breastfeed public

3. Use a cover – OK so I don’t do this but if you are struggling to feel comfortable feeding your baby in public then a breastfeeding cover can bring you some much needed confidence when you’re out and about. There are loads of gorgeous feeding covers available or you can save some money and improvise. When Alex was taking a decade to latch on in the very early days I used to pop a scarf around us both or tie a muslin cloth to my bra strap and drape it over his head. This was just as effective as using a cover and meant I didn’t have to try and fit an extra thing in my changing bag, I only like to take out the essentials in my nappy bag.

4. Choose your feeding spot wisely – I know I said at the start of this post that I’d feed my babies anywhere and, while that is true, there are places I feel a lot more comfortable feeding than others. I have fed Leo in a busy pub full of rugby fans on a Saturday afternoon, ignoring stares from one or two strangers is easy but trying to avoid the gaze of a pub full of drunken men is a bit more difficult. Coffee shops are my favourite place to feed as they are normally just occupied by other parents or old people. I would suggest places like this are a good place to start and then as your confidence grows you will just naturally feel happy feeding wherever. It takes time as getting your boob out for the world to see feels like the most unnatural thing  ever at first but soon it won’t feel like a big deal at all. I would recommend avoiding pubs on match day if you can help it though! If you are really worried about what people may say, look for places with the breastfeeding welcome sticker , atleast then you know the staff will have your back if there were to be a confrontation and if anyone tries to say something you can just point at the sticker while internally telling them to eff off!

5. Remember, you’re just feeding your baby – This is the most important point, if you ignore everything else I have said please just remember this. You have every right to feed your baby in public and your baby has every right to be fed when he is hungry. You are not doing anything wrong by breastfeeding in public, all you are doing is giving your baby some food. Breastfeeding should not be considered any different to a mother sat in a cafe feeding her baby a bottle or a baby sat in a high chair being fed their lunch in a restaurant. Breastfeeding is not gross, it’s not sexual, it’s not inappropriate. Breastfeeding is simply one of the ways mothers choose to feed their babies and if someone has a problem with that then remember it is them who’s in the wrong, not you. If anyone ever stares too long at you while you’re feeding or tells you you shouldn’t be doing it, just tell them you’re feeding your baby and leave it at that. Unless you’re up for a big debate then go for it, you’ll win it for sure.

breastfeed public

Unfortunately some people are idiots but don’t let those few idiots stop you getting out and about with your new baby, breastfeeding in public is not a big deal and it can be done easily. Don’t stay hidden away, go shopping and go for walks, show your new baby off to the world and if they get hungry when you’re out then just feed them. You can do it, promise.

How do you feel about breastfeeding in public? If you do it, does it make you nervous or can you do it confidently? Have you ever had anyone say anything to you? If you don’t do it, do you even care if you see another mum breastfeeding? I’m guessing you probably don’t, I think us Mums build it up to be a really big deal but, on the most part, no one is even looking. I’d love to know your thoughts on this and if you have any pregnant friends or know anyone who would benefit from reading this then I would love for you to share this post.

Tips on how to breastfeed in public with confidence www.naptimenatter.com

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25 Comments

  1. January 9, 2017 / 3:08 pm

    Brilliant post. I’m also breastfeeding my almost 5 month old and I really don’t care about having a boob out in public. Before I had him I’d never have thought I’d feed in public, but I’ve had a total attitude shift. #bigpinklink

    • Wendy
      January 9, 2017 / 5:43 pm

      I think lots of us build it up to be this big scary thing when really it’s not that bad. It did real pretty weird the first time though. Glad you don’t find feeding in public stressful xx

  2. January 9, 2017 / 5:59 pm

    I love this post! I’m breastfeeding my 3rd baby and I’m still not 100% comfortable feeding in public but I do it anyway!

  3. January 10, 2017 / 8:44 am

    Great post. I never had any problems fortunately when I fed my daughter in public. During a nursing strike she even manage to expose me to an entire cafe at the garden centre, so after that I really did give up caring. (She refused to feed under a cover too!) I actually think a lot of people stare out of curiosity more than anything. It’s still not that common to see women breastfeeding (which is wrong but…) so when someone is, it can often be a point of interest. As a nervous and conscious mother it can be easy to see that as someone judging. Sure that are some people but I believe now that they are a ignorant minority. #DreamTeam
    Angela Watling recently posted…Five Favourite Finds – December 2016My Profile

  4. January 10, 2017 / 9:32 am

    I was lucky to never have an issue feeding in public. I couldn’t agree more with the whole timing thing though, way less obvious feeding a happy baby than a starving one! I think Judy being confident and getting on with it helps but that comes with time #twinklytuesday

  5. January 10, 2017 / 12:03 pm

    This is all so true! Third baby on I still feel awkward feeding in public and it doesnt help that my baby boy loves to dive on and off the boob! Great advice xx #twinklytuesday

  6. January 10, 2017 / 12:20 pm

    Good for you, breastfeeding is great if you can really master it. I fed mine anywhere and never gave it a second thought. You become so adept that no one really even knows what you are doing. #TwinklyTuesday

  7. January 10, 2017 / 1:25 pm

    Seriously, I LOVE you for writing this post. I am going to be sharing it!! #TwinklyTuesday

  8. January 10, 2017 / 3:20 pm

    Sensible advice! The only baby-related thing I object to is nappie-changing in food and beverage establishments. Pleasepleaseplease, mums, take your babies ANYwhere else to change nappies. When I’ve splashed out on a fancy coffee or a meal out, I should not be subjected to dirty nappies! (Maybe you’ve already written about this?)
    Jean | DelightfulRepast.com recently posted…Candied Orange Peel CookiesMy Profile

  9. January 10, 2017 / 3:31 pm

    Love this post. I am 5 mouthing into nursing my second baby and I still get a bit squeamish when feeding him in public – not because I’m embarrassed in any way, I just hate confrontation. These are great tips!! #TwinklyTuesdayashleu

  10. January 10, 2017 / 3:53 pm

    Great advice, I’m sure this will give new mums the confidence with breastfeeding in public. #TwinklyTuesday
    five little doves recently posted…Twenty wishes for 2017My Profile

  11. January 10, 2017 / 5:08 pm

    Great post and tips – I wrote a similar post when I was breastfeeding Little B as I think it’s so important to break the taboo and shout about the fact it’s perfectly ok, like you say all you’re doing is feeding your baby #twinklytuesday
    Crummy Mummy recently posted…A last letter to my GrannyMy Profile

  12. January 10, 2017 / 8:46 pm

    I’m very pro breastfeeding, I’m still breastfeeding my 20 month old son, it does become a bit more challenging doing public feeds as they get older, but as they say ‘keep calm and carry on’ I had a tough time initially breastfeeding due to a pre-exisiting medical condition and had stitches in my nipple when he was only 2 weeks old, I pushed through that, add to it he has an upper lip tie. So breastfeeding is a topic very close to my heart and I’m incredibly proud to be able to.

  13. January 12, 2017 / 9:48 am

    Giving up on breastfeeding is one of my biggest regrets! I made it to 7 weeks but one of the major issues I had was my confidence in public. I found myself staying home as I was too scared to feed in public.
    This is a great post with so excellent tips! I wish I would have read it when I was struggling
    #ABloggingGoodTime
    Becky Clark recently posted…Out and About – The Tiny Feet BistroMy Profile

  14. January 14, 2017 / 11:29 pm

    Great post and fab advice lovely, I’m sure many breastfeeding Mumma’s will find this super helpful and a real confidence boost too. Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x
    Hannah G, The ‘Ordinary’ Mum recently posted…Weekend Tot Style #13My Profile

  15. January 15, 2017 / 10:31 am

    This is a great post. I breastfed my daughter. I saw my mother breastfeed all my brothers and sisters and it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t breastfeed, it felt really natural to me. The first few times in public is a bit embarrassing, but you are right, as long as you dress right and prepare it will all be fine. I find older womenfolk a certain generation could be the most unsupportive, because they believe breastfed babies don’t eat enough and you need to see the bottle to see how much they’re eating. But that’s just the way they did things in their day. #fortheloveofBLOG
    Nursery Whines recently posted…La La LandMy Profile

  16. January 15, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    I love this post! When I was breastfeeding Zach four years ago I was all about the covering up as much as I could. Now with Oscar, I am still discreet but there is no cover – I just get on with feeding him. Second time around I am so much more confident about feeding him out and about! And I have had a lot of very enjoyable hot chocolates while I am doing so haha! Great post! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  17. January 16, 2017 / 7:48 am

    This is great I was useless feeding in public and found it quite stressful. I have no idea why because it certainly doesn’t bother me when others do it and at the end of the day like you say we’re just feeding our babies! #ablogginggoodtime xx

  18. January 16, 2017 / 11:01 am

    This is a really great post, not only are they great tips, but by writing this you are empowering women and giving mothers the confidence they deserve! 🙂 xxx #ABloggingGoodTime

  19. January 16, 2017 / 9:13 pm

    What a fab and informative post. It’s so important to feel comfortable or the little ones pick up on your nerves and can’t settle. No idea why everyone makes out it’s such a big deal. Thank you for linking up to the #DreamTeam x
    Annette, 3 Little Buttons recently posted…Chasing My Writing DreamsMy Profile

  20. January 17, 2017 / 9:01 pm

    What a great post. It is really important that we all support each other no matter what our feeding choices are. I didn’t breastfeed my daughter but if I have another I think I will try. Hopefully I will have the confidence to feed in public with your tips! Thanks for linking up this week at #ForTheLoveOfBLOG
    Sammie recently posted…Which superhero do you have most in common with?My Profile

  21. January 17, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    Love this <3 I breastfed for 8 months and I wish Id had the confidence to do it without a cover in public as I think that wearing one actually looks slightly more obvious (not that we should need to hide the fact we are doing the most natural thing that are breasts are intended for!) Maybe next time I will pluck up the courage. I did get some stares but I just smiled and said hello and they quickly turned their heads. To be fair no matter what age your child someone will always have a problem with them for some reason; I get stared and muttered about even now two years on when he has the occasional tantrum in public or decides to wander around a pub and people don't agree he should be there. The English are appalling with children fun stop!
    Rebecca recently posted…Bloggy Bride gets crafty: A handmade WeddingMy Profile

  22. January 20, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    LOVE THIS! I breastfed both my babies, but it was the public breastfeeding that I struggled most with. I tried the muslin-tied-to-my-bra-strap method, but baby used to hate having her head covered and so I just had to get used to breastfeeding on show! But it’s amazing how quickly you get used to it. I found the two-top method helpful, and I would also try and get myself positioned in a corner so that I was tucked away a bit. #TheListLinky
    Lucy At Home recently posted…Bloggers Bluff #13: This Is Me NowMy Profile

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