When your little one wants to nurse, it’s time to nurse. For some on-the-go mothers and nurslings, this is easy. Nipple out, baby latched, carry on. Unfortunately, Mini and I were not so coordinated with it all. I finally succeeded in nursing my son while carrying him around in my arms for the FIRST TIME at 20 months on our recent WALT DISNEY WORLD trip. When I went hunting for helpful ‘breastfeeding in public’ tips, I found SO MUCH ENCOURAGEMENT but nothing that really provided my logic-driven mind with practical tips and tricks. So for anyone who is struggling and could use some tips for breastfeeding in public with confidence, here’s what helped us.
It took my cheap self way too long to invest in a good nursing bra but it was honestly a game changer. At home it’s fine to toss on a sleep or sports bra and roll with it but it can be a struggle on the go. Go get sized and fitted for a proper nursing bra and thank me later. Even if you only get one and save it for “special occasions,” it’s worth the investment. Proper fit and convenient snaps = perfection. Oh and by the way, they do make snap down nursing sports bras if you’re not a full bra kinda gal or still in those first few weeks when underwire is best avoided!
I relied solely on the 2 shirt method in the beginning. You wear a shirt with a tank under it and pull the tank down and top up (or vice versa) when it’s time to breastfeed and keep all belly and most breast covered. No extra purchases necessary but still convenient and fairly modest. Trying to use a cover was a struggle for us so this was my go-to to start. Then I found LATCHED MAMA and rejoiced. They’re an online shop with an adorable line of nursing clothes that’s ACTUALLY affordable and fashionable while still being modest! I started by purchasing a few key pieces and kept them for occasions when I knew convenience would be key. Recently I’ve invested in expanding my nursing wardrobe and own ALL THE THINGS because I love them so dang much and know how easy it makes everything.
Water And Snacks
Not for your child- for you. These items are especially essential in those first 6 months when you are your child’s only nourishment. Save money and time hunting down breastfeeding essentials by bringing them along. Take care of you so you can take care of your kiddo.
When we were first learning to breastfeed together, I never left the house without a soft blanket, lanolin, and spare breast pads. Yes, I traveled everywhere with a big full-size blanket because it was the only thing that helped me get my baby in the right position. Bring what you need- whatever you need. (P.S. This is why I nursed in the car a lot with Mini. Then I didn’t have to drag around my blanket.) Even the second time around with a much easier nursing experience, I still carry around a little pouch with lanolin and breast pads.
Legend has it, many women find breastfeeding while babywearing to be a magic secret solution to nursing in public. Did we babywear? Yes! Did I ever figure out how to nurse Mini while doing it? Well. No. But there are plenty of blogs and videos out there created by those more coordinated than me if you’re interested in trying it out. (Update: I have officially nursed my second bub in a wrap while grocery shopping- while loading the belt, paying, and all! Still… don’t ask me for tips. Maybe one day I’ll be confident enough to share tricks and tips on that, but not today.)
You know what makes you comfortable. Find a place to sit. Support your back. Just like it’s okay to breastfeed in the open, it’s also okay to step into a dressing room or take a break in the car. Cover. Don’t cover. Relax and do what’s best for you. You don’t need to be supermom and nurse while pushing the grocery cart. I’m over 2 years in and I don’t sneak out to the car anymore but I still tuck into a quiet corner, low-traffic area, or dressing room in a store. The only quiet place you won’t find me is a bathroom with no seating area- because that’s NOT comfortable for anyone.
One of the benefits of nursing is the connection between you and your little one. Don’t let your being out in public hinder that. Smile, snuggle, and love on your babe. Don’t rush. Don’t worry about others. Take the downtime and appreciate it.
Talk to that little cutie of yours about what’s happening and what they see. Let them know it’s okay to take a moment and you’re there for them. Beyond that, communicate honestly with any others traveling with you. Don’t be afraid to let them know what you need and when you need it. Others can continue on while you take a pause. No worries.
Smile at your little one. Smile at passersby. Smiling makes you and your baby happy. Smiling makes it hard for strangers to say anything negative. Be a positive influence and not a nervous Nelly. Confidence comes from within. You’ve got this, mama. Feed that baby.