One is never fully prepared for the thrills and surprises that motherhood heralds. From the distinct changes in your sleep patterns to your body shape and a myriad of others. Another one of these is breastfeeding in public.
This simply means suckling your baby under the watch of the public eye. It could be in the park, a social gathering, or even a store. Your baby could get hungry at any time and need your milk. A lot of new mothers feel shameful about breastfeeding in public.
This shouldn’t be so. Breastfeeding in public is not a thing to be ashamed about. It is a natural thing. To help you breastfeed your child better, we would share helpful tips with you in this article.
Is Breastfeeding In Public Legal?
Breastfeeding in public is legal in almost all countries of the world. In the United States, breastfeeding in public is legal and this act is generally protected by both federal and state law in all 50 states.
- You can breastfeed your baby whenever he’s hungry: Wherever you are or live, you’re entitled to breastfeed your baby except if you’re in a moving car, where the hungry baby is expected to be in a child safety seat. So wherever you are you have a right to offer your baby a bottle, and also the right to breastfeed him/her. This includes private places such as commercial stores or restaurants. All 50 states in the US have laws that allow nursing moms to breastfeed in any public or private place.
- You have extra protection in certain places. Federal legislation guarantees nursing moms to breastfeed on federal property. If you’re a working-class mom, your boss must allow you to nurse or pump during break hours. For daycare centers, they must provide nursing facilities; and interestingly breastfeeding moms are exempt from jury duty in 17 states.
For more information on breastfeeding in public specifically to where you live, always check out state-by-state public breastfeeding laws at the National Conference of State Legislatures, your state may have other additional laws that protect you.
Can I Breastfeed On A Plane?
Yes and No! Several stories about nursing mothers who were asked to cover up their breasts or stop breastfeeding on flights entirely have made headlines.
However, most major airlines allow nursing moms to breastfeed on flights, all you need to do is before you book your flight, always check the airline’s breastfeeding policy.
Read Also: How To Travel With Breast Milk
Helpful Tips For Breastfeeding In Public
At some point in your motherhood journey, you might have to breastfeed in public. People always have mixed reactions at the sight of women breastfeeding in public.
But you must know, dear mother, their reactions do not define you in any form. We have compiled some great tips that can help you breastfeed in public without problems.
1. Know Your Breastfeeding Rights
Public breastfeeding is legal in almost all countries of the world. Why then should it bother you? Of course, there will be people who would try to make you feel bad for breastfeeding your hungry baby in public. Don’t let it get to you.
If it becomes too much for you to bear, let them know that it is your right. Bullies and oppressors retreat when they discover their targets know their rights and are no push over’s.
So, stand up to anyone who tries to make you feel bad about public breastfeeding. You might have to quote the law sometimes!
2. Wear Breastfeeding-Friendly Clothes
Yes, there are breastfeeding-friendly clothes. They are simply clothes that can let you breastfeed your baby with ease. Wearing a tight blouse would make it difficult for you to bring out your breasts to feed your baby in public.
Come to think of it, would you love to struggle with freeing your breasts from a tight blouse in public? You don’t. Blouses are not the only pieces of clothing that you should pay attention to when it comes to breastfeeding.
Bras are just as important. With the right ones, breastfeeding would be easy and quick for you. There are different varieties of nursing dresses and bras made just for breastfeeding mothers. Buy them and enjoy maximum comfort while breastfeeding.
3. Practice At Home
Do you still feel uncomfortable with breastfeeding your child in public? You don’t have to worry at all. A lot of women have felt shy about it too. It’d only take a while.
You’d overcome the shyness for sure. How can one overcome it? The answer is practice. Does this answer make you chuckle? You know, how on earth can anyone practice breastfeeding in public?
Well, you can start by practicing before your mirror. Breastfeed your baby before the mirror and imagine your reflection from the mirror as a stranger or a spectator.
This method is very effective. With time, you’d discover that your shyness has faded into oblivion. Practice is one of the greatest ways to overcome the shyness that comes with public breastfeeding.
4. Be Confident in Your Body
Breastfeeding in public is almost an inevitable thing for every mother. At some point in your motherhood journey, you might have to breastfeed in public.
You have to brace yourself up for this by being proud and confident in your skin. Pregnancy and birth have unique ways of changing your body. Some of these changes are temporary, while others are not.
Don’t let any of them stop you from wearing your skin with pride. Motherhood marks are trophies that no one should dare to shame you with.
Flaunt that gorgeous body without shame. Bring out those breasts and feed your child. You are beautiful as you are.
5. Breastfeed in Friendly Places
Sometimes, you’d go out with your baby and you would have to breastfeed in public. Some places are naturally hostile that you may find breastfeeding in such places difficult.
You may not even be able to put up with the stares and cursory looks that you may get. We understand how discomfiting this can be, and that is why we are advising you to breastfeed in friendly places.
Some organizations usually have spaces where mothers can stay to tend to their baby’s needs. We advise you to make use of them.
6. Use Covers
There are lots of covers designed especially for lactating mothers. If you’re still very much uncomfortable about opening your breasts in public, you could use covers.
These covers can be used in covering your breasts while you breastfeed. Also, it would help you stay relaxed and happier. Always take note of the type of fabrics used in making these covers. Go for those with mild texture and feel.
7. Make Use of Slings and Scarves
Some baby slings are specifically designed for you to be able to breastfeed your baby while in the sling. If you’re feeling uncomfortable about breastfeeding public, these clothing materials can help.
Many nursing moms feel more comfortable putting a scarf or muslin cloth over their chest while nursing their baby in public.
Read Also: How To Use Ring Sling
8. Act Normal, Don’t Be Overly Self-Conscious
It is not uncommon to see breastfeeding mothers act all awkward and jittery while breastfeeding in public. This can be attributed to the behaviors of unfriendly people who see public breastfeeding as a terrible thing.
If you keep on taking people’s reactions to heart, you might be embarking on mental and emotional tortures. How then can it be dealt with? You can deal with it by being your normal self and behaving like it.
Wear your smile and go about your business. Do your thing and ignore anyone that gives you a bad stare. You’d be amazed at the results.
9. Take Someone with You
It can help to go with a family member or a friend who has an older child and can take you to friendly places she already knows.
This is another effective tip that will help make feel comfortable while breastfeeding in public. Your mom, sister, or even your partner can accompany you, so you have someone to talk to.
10. Travel Nursing Pillow
If you’re a fan of nursing pillows, it might help to have one with you while making that trip with your partner. Some brands of nursing pillows make inflatable or travel-sized pillows that you can carry along with you while on the go.
11. Make a Copy of the Law
Making a copy of your state’s nursing law and bringing it along with your diaper bag can help your course when subjected to unwanted attention.
Read Also: How To Use a Boppy Pillow
What To Do If You Get Harassed While Breastfeeding In Public
If someone does ever harass or question your right for breastfeeding in public, you must stand your ground having in mind that the law is on your side. Here are few tips to help you cope:
- Try To Staying Calm And Avoid Unnecessary Threats: If you feel physically unsafe or threatened in any case, you have every right to call the police. You can also stand your stand ground and ask for clarity as to what they need you to do and why. This is one of the reasons we suggested bringing a copy of breastfeeding laws with you when breastfeeding in public.
- You Can File a Complaint.If the harassment is coming from an employee is, you can file a complaint with the company, either right away with your manager, or later with the company’s relationship unit. Give them some time to look into the situation, and be smart enough to keep records of your conversations with them. If you don’t get any response from them, then contact someone higher up in the company, like a corporate relations officer or with the human resource department. If you still don’t get a proper response, then you must discuss the issue with your local La Leche League coordinator or Breastfeeding USA counselor.
- Share Your Experience: You can also share your breastfeeding in public stories with your friends or with other mom groups. Alternatively, you can share your experience on Facebook or any other social media platform. Sometimes discussing the challenges publicly can be the most effective recourse of all.
Read Also: How To Lose 10kg While Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding in public would always spark some controversy amongst people. Some of them may get to you if you do not know the important things that you deserve to know about it.
This is why you should take your time to learn about what the law has to say about breastfeeding in public. Knowing it would help you a great deal.
We believe this article has equipped you with new knowledge on breastfeeding in public. Also, employ these tips and be as free as you want to be!