I remember the first time I breastfed Ben in public. He was 6 weeks old. Jason and I were driving up to his sister, Kim's, wedding in Northern California. (Kim is now one of our guest bloggers!) We had stopped in LA for lunch and it was brutally hot. Like 95 degrees in the parking lot. I contemplated nursing Ben in the car, but I was sweating profusely. So, into the restaurant we went.
I sat down at the table and got out a large receiving blanket. I distinctly remember asking Jason to stand behind me to pull down the blanket so that I could hide my 6-week postpartum back-fat. To me that was more important than flashing a boob!
Up until now, I had been helping Ben get a comfortable latch by compressing my breast into a 'sandwich.' I wondered how I would do this without the blanket slipping off of my shoulder. I slowly lowered Ben under the blanket, lifted up my shirt, and BAM, that kiddo latched without my help what-so-ever! Clearly, he was a very capable participant.... I just had no idea.
From then on, breastfeeding in public was a breeze. Sure, he made extremely loud gulping sounds while eating, which often attracted some onlookers, but I was now comfortable feeding him anywhere. What freedom!
Here are my top tips for breastfeeding in public:
1. Practice at home, first, so that you are comfortable latching your baby while sitting in different chairs and wearing different shirts.
2. Find stress-free places to breastfeed in public, such as the Nordstrom's nursing room or a breastfeeding support group. Baby steps, ladies:)
3. Practice breastfeeding in a carrier, wrap, or sling. I remember Kim walking around the San Diego Zoo while nursing her daughter in a Moby Wrap. Super discreet!
Here are some great tips from other moms about how to comfortably breastfeed in public:
From Kim: I find that if I nurse in a carrier (I prefer a wrap in FCC, but a ring sling would work well too), I get good modesty coverage. Could also add a "hooter hider" thing too. I ALWAYS nursed in public with my second because it let me keep my schedule with my first. But I also didn't care at all about what other people thought!
From Gina: G won't nurse if she's covered (fussing, etc) so I just have to whip out the boob & not care. I'm usually most comfortable with other moms nursing in public too. Strength in numbers!
From Lashaan: I nurse anywhere as long as he will eat! He gets so distracted! We nursed at the museum the other day and it was nice to relax and look at the scenery while Eliot was busy eating! :)
From Nicole: I love nursing at the beach! Bikini top is so convenient.
From Elizabeth: I would breastfeed Katie pretty much anywhere I could sit down. :) We eat in public, so why can't a baby? I mostly got very supportive looks and comments, and I dared anyone (in my mind!) who gave me a look to say anything to me. I know the law! I usually used a cover, especially when she was little and I needed to help her latch on. As she got older, it was easier to go without.