I don’t know of any mom that feels uncomfortable feeding her baby in public…….. when it comes to the food source being directly from a bottle.

I do know of moms feeling uncomfortable feeding her baby in public…. when it comes to the food source being directly from her breast.

While the reasons can be different as to why some mothers do feel uncomfortable breastfeeding their baby in public or in sight of others, it is important to remember what this is really about.  Your baby is hungry.  You need to feed your baby.

While some may feel it is illegal for a mother to breastfeed her baby in a public place, it is important to note that there are laws to protect mothers and babies.  In Arizona and all other states in the US, anywhere a mother is legally able to be, is a place where she is legally able to breastfeed her baby.The federal government has laws that protect nursing women. These laws are based on the recognition of organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Public Health Association, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO) that breastfeeding is the best choice for the health of a mother and her baby.

Now that we have the law out of the way, you may have your own person concerns. Here are ways that you can reduce any feelings of concern about your own privacy or your concern about offending others and still breastfeed your baby when he or she is hungry and you are in a public place.

1.  The very first proactive thing you can do is to practice this skill in the privacy of your own home.  A few days of sitting in front of a mirror and practicing the art of latching our baby on and you will quickly become more comfortable at this.  A few more days, and you will be a pro.

2.  Invest in at least one good quality nursing bra that gives you easy access to your breasts and 1 or 2 articles of clothing that provide a good amount of coverage once baby is feeding.

3.  Slings and wraps are a great way to discreetly feed your baby in public.  This does take some getting use to, so again, practice at home for a few days until you feel confident in this new skill.

4.  If you have someone else with you, they can hold a blanket in front of you while you latch baby on, and than gently drape the blanket across your upper chest to cover any areas you are concerned about showing.

5.  All of the above are tips to help you feel more comfortable nursing in public.  Of course, there are enough breastfeeding moms who are fully comfortable nursing their babies in public and do not feel the need to make sure everything is 100% discreet.  Hopefully you will get there too!
Their are times when our babies are particularly fussy and you know it may not be easy or quick to latch them on. Perhaps you feel quite awkward breastfeeding in public,  even though you know legally you are fine.  My absolute best tip for moms is to help them think outside the box.  While I am not advocating this for all feedings in public, there are times when you might want to get the right temperature going in your car and sit in your car and feed your baby.   Yes,, there have been a few times, when as a new mother, I left my shopping cart to go to the car to feed my baby.   Who said being a mommy was convenient??

If you are in a shopping mall with large department stores, this makes it quite easy for you to breastfeed.  Just grab a few items of clothes and take your baby to the dressing room with you.  While it might not be the most comfy spot, it is a great short term fix for a feeding and a snuggle with your baby.   Remember, prolonging a feeding will more than likely cause much more focus on you as your babies cries escalate, than may happen if you were to just sit down and respond to your babies needs.  You CAN do this!

On a related note:  I know there are some who say that the new mother should: either stay home and feed her baby, or pump and put her milk in a bottle for public feeding.

Here are the need to know bullet points and in a later post we can get into the nitty gritty of it all:

1.  Since newborn babies will typically feed anywhere between 1 and 3 hours, and since mothers don’t know when this will be, the line of thinking to stay home and feed her baby and than go out when her baby is done… just does NOT work well for newborn mothering and feeding.  The times are unpredictable and therefore, if she were to try this, she will more than likely not be able to get out of the house.

2.  New mothers need to get out of the house, fresh air, walks, shop and be around other people.  To sit at home all day, for days in a row, is a risk factor for depression and anxiety.  It is never good for new mothers to be isolated.

3.  Moms may not want to give their babies a bottle in the early days of breastfeeding.  This would mean they would have to pump their milk and introduce the bottle well before trying the bottle out in public for the first time.  Babies who are use to breastfeeding may need time to adjust to bottles.  Moms may not also want to give their babies a bottle as this has the potential to interfere with good breastfeeding in the early days of learning this new skill.

4.  Once mothers and their bodies get use to the ebb and flow of the milk, they may cause medical problems if they are out and about for a long time and they miss a breastfeeding.  Breast engorgement can lead to painful breasts as well as increase the risk factor for clogged ducts.  So, for many reasons, telling a mom to “just give her baby a bottle,” is not the solution some think it might be.

Thought of the day:  We really don’t need to make it so difficult for a mother to feed her baby in public.  A. She is legally able to.  B.  If it bothers you, leave her alone and walk away or just look away.  The solution is actually so easy, it is somewhat humorous how society tends to complicate this whole thing!