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How To Breastfeed In Public When You’re Terrified

Breastfeeding in public is a controversial topic. These tips will give you a much needed boost of confidence so you can master breastfeeding in public without fear.

how to breastfeed in public when you're terrified

Does the idea of breastfeeding in public make your heart race and your palms get sweaty? 

Feeding a hungry child is something that should be so natural and yet so many moms are afraid that they’ll get rude comments and angry glares. 

To be honest, you probably will catch people staring at you.

But you know what? 

All you’re doing is feeding your hungry baby so if anybody has a problem with that they should talk to Jesus about it.

Here’s a few tips to help you feel more comfortable about breastfeeding in public.

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1. Know your rights

Surprisingly, breastfeeding in public wasn’t always legal. 

That’s no longer the case.

“Breastfeeding in public is legal and protected by federal and state law in all 50 states.”

If anyone tells you that you can’t breastfeed somewhere, let them know that it is your legal right to feed your hungry child. 

Make sure to check your state’s laws regarding breastfeeding in public so you’ll be well educated on the issue in case it ever arises.

2. Practice at home

The best way to get prepared for breastfeeding your baby in public is to practice at home. 

Practice nursing with a cover, using the two shirt method, or nursing in your baby carrier until you feel comfortable.

3. Go somewhere familiar

Try breastfeeding at a place where you feel more comfortable and know the people there are usually kind.

If you’re among nice smiling faces you’ll be less nervous and you may even get some encouraging words of support.

“Other places to try include department store changing rooms, furniture stores, community centers, libraries, museums, and parks. Ask other local moms for advice on the best places for public nursing nearby.”

4. Ask about a nursing room

Some places are becoming more accommodating to breastfeeding moms and creating nursing rooms. 

This is a nice private space for moms to nurse their babies without any unwanted attention. 

Our local zoo and Walmart have nursing rooms.

Call the location in advance to see if they have a nursing room.

5. Pick a comfortable spot

You may not want to sit in the middle of a busy restaurant if you’re nervous about breastfeeding in public.

Choose somewhere that’s more secluded so it won’t be as obvious to people what you’re doing. 

A booth near the back of the restaurant or under a tree along the side of the park are great options. 

Whenever you get to your location look around to see what areas are less busy.

6. Wear comfortable clothes

Nursing clothes make it easier to nurse discreetly. 

I love wearing my nursing bra because I can easily unhook it with one hand.

A few other clothing options that make breastfeeding easier are:

Choose your outfit carefully so you’re not struggling with your top while your baby is screaming and then everyone starts looking at you.

7. Discreet nursing options 

Some moms are comfortable nursing without a cover while some moms aren’t. You’ll have to figure out which option works best for you.

If you’re worried about being discreet, here’s a few options to consider.

Nurse in your baby carrier

I love babywearing for many reasons and one of those reasons is that I can easily use it to breastfeed.

My favorite carrier is the Baby K’tan because it’s super easy to put on and it doesn’t hurt my back.

Look at YouTube tutorials for whatever baby carrier you have to see how you can use it for nursing.

Two-shirt method

This is also one of my favorite ways to breastfeed in public. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Put on a tank top or camisole (nursing bra is optional)
  • Put your shirt on over the tank top
  • When baby gets hungry lift up your shirt
  • Pull your tank top down from the top
  • The tank top will cover your midsection

When I use this method no one has any idea I’m even breastfeeding. 

Here’s a quick video so you can practice at home and get more comfortable before trying it in public.

Use a nursing cover 

I tried using a nursing cover when my daughter was born and we both hated it.

She would flail her arms and legs like a madwoman and I was hot and sweaty in the middle of winter. 

I also noticed that it drew more attention to us which is the opposite of what I wanted to happen. 

But if you find a nursing cover that works for you and baby then use that thang girlfriend!

8. Turn away when latching

Getting your baby latched is one of the trickiest parts of breastfeeding whether at home or in public. 

To prevent anyone from seeing your nipple while latching, turn away from people until your baby is properly latched. 

When your baby is done nursing, turn away again to get covered.

9. Keep baby entertained

Once your baby gets older they’ll start becoming more interested in what’s going on around them than eating. 

Use this teething necklace to keep your baby entertained so they’re not repetitively unlatching the entire time.

10. Watch for hunger cues 

It’s best to feed your baby before they get so hungry you have to calm them down first before feeding them. 

Keep an eye out for these hunger cues so you won’t have any unnecessary attention drawn to you before you nurse your baby.

11. Stay focused on your baby 

I know how it feels to look around and see creepy Jerry staring at you from across the room and now you’re completely freaked out. 

Try to stay focused on your baby and forget about everyone else in the room.

12. Prepare for negativity 

One day you may run into a psychopath who tries to mom shame you for feeding your hungry baby.

Here’s a few ways to handle this situation.

Stay calm

If you get angry that’ll fuel their fire even more so stay calm and don’t let them get a reaction from you.

Stand your ground

Let them know that it’s your legal right to feed your hungry baby and they should have a “Come-To-Jesus meeting” if they have a problem with it.

Speak to a manager 

Let someone of authority know that you’re being harassed so they can deal with it.

Carry a copy of the law

Keep a copy of your state’s law regarding breastfeeding in your diaper bag just in case you ever need to whip it out like a detective in an interrogation room.

Social media

Embrace the uprise of social media and stream your experience live if the horrible person won’t leave you alone.

But seriously, don’t worry about the negativity. It has more to do with their own issues than it does with you.

13. Bring a support person 

Unfortunately, I can’t be with every mom to support them while nursing in public. 

If you have someone that is supportive of your breastfeeding journey, bring them with you until you feel comfortable breastfeeding in public without them.

14. It gets easier with time

Breastfeeding in public is scary at first.

You’re worried about people staring at you and what if they see your nipple?!

I know the feeling.

When I breastfed my daughter in public for the first time I looked up and 2 big biker guys with massive beards, covered in tattoos, and rocking their leather vests were looking at me.

I felt uncomfortable and wanted to hide. 

But then I remembered that I’m here feeding my baby at a restaurant where everyone else is eating so why can’t she eat? 

Now, when I catch someone staring it doesn’t even phase me. 

So yes, it does get easier and hopefully you’ll get to the point where you’re completely unbothered.

Need a few ideas on places to take your newborn?

places to take your newborn mockup

This FREE cheat sheet will give you a few great ideas of places to go with a baby where the two of you have a greater chance of coming home without being sick!

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how to breastfeed in public when you're terrified

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