Tips on Overcoming Fears of Breastfeeding in Public

Many expecting mothers really look forward to breastfeeding their baby. However, for many mothers this expectancy is tinged by a fear of breastfeeding in public. The following tips will help show you how best to nurse in public and help build your confidence.

Breastfeeding is a right every mother has but sometimes you would think this was not the case. What was once an every day occurrence and which was celebrated has, in recent years past, become a bit of a taboo; breastfeeding your child in public. Breastfeeding is now being actively promoted by the health profession and just about everybody now accepts that breast is best. However, there does seem to be a paradox when it comes to breastfeeding. On the one hand you are told to breastfeed but, on the other, you are not exactly encouraged to breastfeed when and wherever you want. Things are changing, slowly. It is up to mothers to continue this change in attitude.

If you have reservations about nursing in public then your first step is to become comfortable breastfeeding your baby in the privacy of your home. You want to have the skills of ‘latching on’ down pat before you brave the public. Also, you can practice discreet feeding at home. You can practise discreet breastfeeding in front of family members. If they have a problem with you breastfeeding your child in front of them, then you must explain that breastfeeding is something natural – it’s not a disease or some socially unacceptable habit. If they still feel uncomfortable, then ask them to leave the room whilst you breastfeed. It is important that they leave and not you – you need to be assertive about your right to breastfeed. Once, you and baby are at ease with breastfeeding you can now venture outdoors.

In may sound obvious but before venturing out you should wear suitable clothing. Wear a top that is loose and is easy for you to open (or easily allows baby access to your breast). If you wear a very loose top you can even slip baby underneath so that no unbuttoning is necessary and your breasts remain covered up during feeding. Slings are another good idea. They free up both your hands and you can place baby in such a way that no one would know that you’re breastfeeding.

Feed your baby as soon as you know he wants to be feed. It’s important to stay in tune with your baby’s wants when outside your home. When your baby gets hungry he will do everything he can to get your attention; the longer you ignore him the more he going to try and get that attention. You don’t want a screaming baby when you’re trying to breastfeeding in public.

There are public places and there are public places. When first venturing outdoors, find somewhere where there aren’t too many people. Go to a park – or somewhere else where it’s fairly quiet and relaxed – and find place away from people. Feeding when there’s no one around is a good start. Bring your partner of friend with you. They can provide support and by talking to them as you breastfeeding you’ll even forget that your in public.

A breastfeeding mother can be made to feel very uncomfortable when she notices someone staring at her. The trick is to return their gaze; don’t back down. They’ll always look away and move on. More upsetting than being stared at, is when someone will openly let you know that they disagree with mothers breastfeeding in public. Just ignore them; these people are not worth making yourself or your baby agitated.

They say practice makes perfect, and after a few feeds you’ll soon be confident enough to breastfeed just about anywhere. Remember breastfeeding is your right and, more importantly, your baby’s.

Robin O’Brien is the founder of a site where you can learn to overcome your fears of breastfeeding in public and where you can read articles about such things as, breastfeeding and alcohol and fenugreek and breast milk.

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