Nursing in public makes many moms apprehensive and anxious. But it CAN be done discreetly in a way that will make you feel comfortable and confident nursing wherever you and your baby go. Follow these tips to learn how:
1. Time it right. Be aware of your baby's hunger cues, and feed him at the first signs of hunger. This will avoid him crying, being unhappy and creating a lot of negative attention that will make you more anxious. Although all babies are different, many will root, suck on their fist, or start to get fussy when they are hungry.
2. Dress for the situation. Be sure to wear a nursing bra so that you can access your breast quickly and easily without a lot of fumbling. Wear
clothing specifically designed for nursing to make access easier (no untucking or unbuttoning) and to keep you "covered up" while feeding. Or wear loose fitting tops that can easily lifted and used to cover up. Some women like to carry a light blanket or nursing cover for even more privacy.
3. Practice makes perfect. Practice at home in front of a mirror or with a friend until you are comfortable. Unhook your nursing bra, bring your baby close to latch on through the hidden nursing opening (if wearing nursingwear), and rearrange your clothing to keep your stomach, back and sides covered (this will be easy if wearing nursingwear). The trickiest part for most moms is the "latch on" and this gets easier with time and experience.
4. Interact with others. Once you're ready to engage with those around you, look up, meet their eyes, and smile. Your confidence will put them at ease.
5. Find your comfort zone. If you are more comfortable nursing away from the crowd, find a quiet corner, a dressing room in a mall, or simply turn yourself away from the action to create a private space for you and your baby. Talking to your baby, gazing into his eyes, also helps create a personal zone for the two of you even with others around.
6. Create a private space in public. In a restaurant you can request a booth or table in the corner, on an airplane you can request a window seat so that you have privacy at least on one side, at a party or busy affair you can find a seat near a wall or corner - these all ways of creating a more private space in a public area, to make you feel more comfortable.
7. Attitude is everything. Feel good about what you are doing. If you feel confident and comfortable nursing your baby then others will take their positive cues from you. Don't look around nervously or feel anxious - you are doing a wonderful thing by nursing your baby - be proud!
8. Just do it. One of the best ways to make nursing in public more comfortable for all mothers is for more moms to do it. The more often that people see women nursing in public the more accustomed to it they become and the less of an issue it becomes, making it more relaxing for all women to nurse.
9. Select a sling. A baby sling is great for public nursing. It can be adjusted to keep you covered and no one will ever suspect that you are nursing your baby. It also frees up your hands to deal with other things.
10. Congratulate yourself. Be PROUD of your decision to nurse! You are feeding your baby the very best food and creating a wonderful bonding experience with him. That is terrific!