For a first-time breastfeeding mother, unbuttoning your blouse in public can be a daunting prospect. While many other mothers are already perfectly comfortable with doing this, you might worry about what people will think and about things like how much skin you’ll be showing. Here are some tips and tricks to tame those breastfeeding-in-public jitters:
1. Wear suitable nursing blouses – one that has a cowl or a large neck, one with slits by the side of the breasts or wear a nursing tube that will cover your stomach when you pull your shirt up.
2. Get a good nursing bra. From experience, non-padded and non-wired bras make the most efficient nursing bras. A soft cotton bra can still give good and firm support while efficiently folding back to get the breast out.
3. Use a babywearing carrier like a soft-structured carrier for bigger babies and ring-slings for smaller babies. The tail of the ring-sling can be used as a nursing cover.
4. Invest in a good nursing cover. There are so many brands in the market now but my personal favourite is the ones with a rigid neckline because it allows mums to peek at their babies and vice versa during nursing.
5. Practice nursing discreetly with a nursing cover and nursing blouse at home.
6. Don’t wait until your baby is howling in hunger to feed him. Breastfeeding is much easier for both you and baby if you’re able to pick up on baby’s hunger cues. Watch out for cues like smacking or licking lips, opening and closing mouth, sucking on lips, tongue, hands, fingers, toys, or clothing.
7. Ask your husband to cover you from the public’s eyes. Nobody will dare to steal a glance at a woman nursing her baby when her husband is looking like a bouncer!
8. Place baby on your lap or a pillow and let her settle down before latching.
9. Give a fidgety child a beaded necklace or a hankie to play with while nursing.
10. If you decide to nurse at a secluded spot in a public place, make sure there’s no CCTV around.
11. Be confident! Self-consciousness will only make you overly aware of stares that might or might not even be there.
12. Be oblivious. When you’re feeling confident, you naturally become oblivious. When you’re oblivious to those around you, you’re more relaxed. And when you’re relaxed, your baby will relax too.
13. Enjoy! Women have been nursing since time immemorial. Instead of being nervous that you might offend a puritanical soul who can’t fathom the idea of a woman nursing her offspring, consider this: YOU should be accorded the space and privacy by others to nurse in peace and not the other way around.
Mother of two, Ayuni Zainuddin, is a gentle birthing and breastfeeding advocate. She has been active in both scenes since 2010. She teaches HypnoBirthing to expectant parents and also helps them with breastfeeding. When she’s not working, she’s busy surfing Damn You Auto Correct!. Get in touch with her at Birth With Ayuni.
Image Credit: Howcast