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Breastfeeding in Public
Apart from being regarded as the best nutrition you can possibly provide your child in the first few months of their life, breastfeeding is convenient and financially alleviating. Babies that are breastfed are very portable and easy to comfort no matter where your schedule has taken you. Many women, however, worry about breastfeeding in public. There seems to be a widespread, and unfair, taboo against nursing in the open which makes most women nervous to feed their child while out and about.
The worry of nursing in a public place is normally worse than the actual experience and oftentimes the only people who notice you feeding are the other mothers who are doing the same thing.
And you can be assured that there are no laws against breastfeeding in public. In fact, in most countries, there are laws against restricting nursing mother from feeding their babies in public.
However, many women do find ways to breastfeed discreetly and do this as a matter of personal comfort and not in consideration of onlookers who may feel offended. Also, breastfeeding tends to be a moment of comfort for a baby and having a darker more intimate environment may be beneficial to fulfilling their emotional needs.
There are a couple of ways you can breastfeed in public discreetly if you choose to:
- Ask your partner or a friend to stand in front of you while you lift your shirt from the waist. Once your baby is latched and feeding, most of your upper body will be covered by the baby and you can pull down your shirt down to her face to cover the top of your breasts.
- Some mothers prefer to put a light blanket over their shoulders as a type of cover or use a specially designed breastfeeding cover that loops around the mother’s neck.
You can always choose to find a quiet and private area to breastfeed in. Most malls and public areas have comfortable rooms set aside for nursing mothers. A lot of businesses will provide you a space in an employee area in order to feed. Finding a separate space to nurse can be beneficial to sensitive babies who are too distracted to feed in public.
Never feel pressured to leave a place simply because you need to feed your child. Being asked to remove yourself from a location or nurse in a bathroom stall is inappropriate and illegal. If you are unsure, find out what the specific laws are in your area.
An alternative way to public feeding is to express or pump your milk at home and offer it in a bottle while out. Keep in mind, however, that offering bottles with artificial nipples in the first few weeks of breastfeeding may confuse your baby and interfere with latching.
When breastfeeding in public, always accommodate your own comfort and use what works best for you. During the first few weeks it will take some getting used to, as it will be as new for you as it is for the baby. With some time, and practice, you’ll have no problem feeding your child while you are out and about.
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