Start your breastfeeding off right with helpful information from non-profit Best for Babes.

8 Tips for Breastfeeding In Public

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Photo: iStockphoto/Tiburon Studios

Welcome to newborn land. Your days and nights blend together. You can’t remember the last time you washed your hair. And you’re going a little stir crazy. We know. We’ve been there.

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So, guess what. It’s time to put on some clean sweatpants and go for a walk.  Take that baby and get out of the house.  Sure, you may have to feed her while you’re out and about.  But breastfeeding in public… in other words, anywhere other than your own sofa… isn’t as hard as you may think.  Here are some tips for taking the show on the road.

  1. Buy a nursing bra. These nifty pieces have flaps that snap open and shut, for easy access. No need to do a Houdini and unhook the whole thing just to nurse. You may want to consider having a couple of extra bras, just in case you don’t feel like doing laundry.
  2. Consider buying a nursing shirt. You can find everything from tank tops, to t-shirts, blouses and dresses that are designed for breastfeeding.  A flap opens in the shirt so that you can feed your baby without having to disrobe.  Your stomach will always be covered.
  3. You may also want to buy a nursing shawl or cover. If you don’t want to splurge, a baby blanket, scarf, or your own coat will get the job done.  You can even take a hat and position it strategically to shield your baby.
  4. Find a good place to sit. If you’re comfortable, your baby will be, too. A corner table. A shady bench. It’s all good.
  5. Ignore everyone else around you. If you’re at ease, the odds are, no one will pay much attention to what you’re doing.
  6. If you’re nervous, “fake it till you make it.” Just pretend it’s no big deal (because it isn’t — you’re feeding your baby!), and soon enough your confidence will grow.
  7. Dealing with critics? Unfortunately, not everyone is so enlightened about a baby’s need to eat on demand, wherever and whenever.  So what do you say when someone dares to stare, or makes a negative comment?  There’s nothing wrong with a witty retort.  Or you can just smile, and say, “Have a nice day.”
  8. If you run into a real problem, remember, most states have laws that actually protect your right to breastfeed in public. If you want to find out what the rule is where you live, check out the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Feel free to remind anyone giving you a hard time that the law is on your side!

Once you’ve got the hang of breastfeeding in public, you may find yourself getting more adventurous.  Go to the movies. A museum.  The library. It’s all manageable.  Best of all, you don’t have to pack bottles and formula for your outing.  How’s that for fast food?

About Andi

Andi Silverman is the author of "Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding." She is also a digital marketing consultant for Nosy Crow, a children's book and app publisher. Andi blogs at and can be found on Twitter @AndiSilverman.

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