Finding Confidence To Breastfeed in Public

Thanks for hopping over from My Thoughts On Things and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt.
Day 2: Positive Public Feeding we have over £700 worth of breastfeeding and baby goodies up for grabs including prizes from Snoob with a breastfeeding scarf, a goodie bag from Forever Patricia and a breastfeeding necklace from Booby and the Bead.  Full details of the Grand Prize can be found here and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

MAM Baby UK and MulitMam are celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2015 with my readers and I today, and supporting my Keep Britain Scavenger Hunt Day 2 post with the following fab giveaways and discounts: MAM Breastfeeding Pads | a MultiMam New Mum Pack and Loyon | 50% discount on a MultiMam New Mum Pack and MultiMam balm with the code ‘aNoviceMum’ from August 1 – 31

Breastfeed in public?

I wish I could write that our first latch was an indicator of how our breastfeeding journey would proceed. I wish I could say that the breastfeeding honeymoon that it was, lasted. Fancy being in this wonderful place with the first fruit of your womb … the nurse helping you when needed … your husband and a few other professionals in the background … enraptured in your first breastfeed … without a care in the world.

IMAGINE if this set up was the usual: getting support when you needed it, feeding without any concern whenever your baby needed it.

Unfortunately, our first latch turned out to be the breastfeeding calm before the breastfeeding storm. As I tried to make sense of the unexpected shock to my pre-child-post-new-mum psyche, I breastfed without concern in female company. Breastfeeding in public though, was simply out of the question in those early weeks.

Finding Confidence to NIP b

Breastfeeding Hesitation

Beyond the maternity ward, hospital, and health visitors’ clinic, church was probably the first place I fed outside the house. I can’t remember much of it now but I know it was such a fanfare getting sorted.

In the early weeks at home, I thought I had to sit in a particular way, position my baby in a set direction, situate certain cushions to support us in certain ways etc, to make each feed work. Thankfully, I had my husband to get me water, the remote control, that book, or this cushion … as I needed it.

So, feeding outside the house meant that I had to go through my breastfeeding preparation, sometimes without my husband, and with the added complication of getting my clothes out of the way. My clothes were not in the way at home; you see, I kept them to the minimum. However, feeding in public, whether in a designated place or not, gave me the added worry about what to wear considering the weather and my privacy.

Thankfully, as we learnt to walk in step in our breastfeeding dance, I learnt to relax and disregard the ‘how-to-do-its’. I realised that the cushions didn’t have to be in a set way for me to be comfortable, and I didn’t have to stick to particular feeding positions to make it work.

What changed?

I started noticing other women feeding their children in my breastfeeding group, in designated rooms, and in the open. I found myself paying particular attention to how they did it too.

I noticed those who used specialised feeding covers, a scarf or muslin square as a ‘shield’, and those who fed without cover. I observed different ways that generic covers could be used; tucking one section under a bra strap for example. I noticed women who were discreet and those who were not. I noticed different types of nursing bras and clothes that made it easier to access the breast.

I saw women breastfeeding around me and it was liberating.

I remember seeing a mum feeding at the surgery during this time. She wasn’t wearing a specialised outfit and she looked so relaxed. Her muslin square, partially held by her bra strap, was draped across her chest in a way I hadn’t seen before. I ended up walking to her to tell her how inspired I was with her cover, and her feeding so openly. We ended up chatting as if we had met before.

That’s mother-to-mother support right there; no training required, just be mum.

Breastfeeding confidence

And so before I knew it, feeding my child in public or company (male or female) stopped feeling awkward and uncomfortable. Seeing so many mothers breastfeeding their children (babies and toddlers [more within mum groups]) made me feel normal about feeding mine whenever and wherever.

I no longer worry about breastfeeding when I’m out and about, just like I don’t worry about other vital bodily needs. I just rise to the needs that pop up.

O yes, I’d had some hiccups along the way but I’ve made it through. There is nothing strange about finding a comfortable space to feed Precious Sparkle when he wants; may that be in a park, on the bus, at church, in the bank, at the restaurant, in the station, or else where. I no longer ask for permission or care about who might be around; though I state my intended action if I see a need to.

What matters is that my baby / toddler and I, and our family are okay about where and how I feed.

So, I say, FEED ON!

Breastfeed your baby / todder / child when it’s needed,
wherever you are if it suits you, however you want,
without worrying about how others will react provided you’re safe

Remember that mum knows best; even if you feel you don’t.

Do you worry about breastfeeding in public?

For more positive feeding in public experiences please hop on over to Milk and Mummy where you can gain further entries into the grand prize draw.
Remember you need to earn 50 points to be eligible, full details can be found on the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Site.
Full terms and conditions can be found on the Keeping Britain Breastfeeding website. UK residents only.

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First-time Mum / Freelance Writer / Thinker / Educator / Business graduate / Improving Photographer / so much more. \\ Recording my mu-m-sings from the South East of England | Sharing lessons from my life's journey to encourage and inspire | Filled with gratitude for my faith, family, and friends.

48 thoughts on “Finding Confidence To Breastfeed in Public

  1. As a first time mum, I relate to this. I was so awkward when I went out and it made feeding awkward. Now we just whip them out and get on with it, it’s so much easier 😀

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  3. I found the first latch with my daughter 9.5 years ago relatively easy, but I just couldn’t do it after that. I tried expressing but gave up after just 2 weeks so have no experience of feeding in public. Have regretted it ever since and am more determined than ever to get it right with number 2. Due in 10 weeks and hoping to feed until at least 6 months, hopefully a year this time 🙂

      • oops not sure how I managed that! I don’t have any experience of breastfeeding in public myself as I never made it far enough with my first. Am hoping I won’t find it awkward this time but who knows? I did go to the big latch on in our local area this weekend and it was great to see so many nursing mamas in one place, feeling totally supported by each other. It was a great day and I found it really inspiring x

        • Who knows, hey. I really hope you don’t though. So lovely that you made it to a big latch, we had none in my local area this year. It reallly is lovely being around other nursing mums; fab support. 🙂

  4. A really beautiful post to read, following your journey, I really want to thank you for sharing, I have really enjoyed reading this post and ‘our first latch’ post – you have such an amazing way of expressing this special time. I can’t wait to read the rest of your posts for this week!
    I wish I had been able to be around other breastfeeding mums when I was starting to breastfeed Boo but sadly I only met a couple of others mums – though I am sure (hope) there must be more around here and I just haven’t found them!
    I did gain a lot from watching those few other mums feed, and watching the different things they had come up with to make themselves feel comfortable is great isn’t it.
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    • Thanks so much for your lovely comments and for dropping by here so many times during KBBF. It’s been so lovely and helpful reflecting and writing down my recollections. Finding local breastfeeding mums isn’t easy; it can be awkward trying to find out which mums breastfeed and which don’t, isn’t it. My local LLL group is fab because it’s not as local as I’d like. I’ve met some breastfeeding mums there and at church that I can ask questions and share stories with – very helpful. I’ve also discovered online breastfeeding groups during WBW; and of course mummy bloggers who breastfeed. It’s been a good campaign all around, to be part of.

  5. I’ve been breastfeeding my daughter in public for 4.5 years, and mostly it’s been fine. Had an issue at a swimming pool in Bristol, and a couple of comments on the bus about her being too old (when she was 2), but either I am oblivious to negativity, or nobody is bothered!

  6. I didn’t have a great first public breastfeeding experience, I was very nervous about it and had gone to a baby group held at a soft play centre. A woman walked over with her child(about 2 years old) lifted the child to have a look and told the child that their baby would be there soon and thats how their baby is going to eat. As a nervous first time mum I was mortified and it took a long time before breastfeeding in public again.
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    • O my word, that’s mad. I’ll so be mortified; I can’t believe another mum did that to you! So sorry you went through that. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, it’s helpful to have a few words prepared for instances like this should they happen. I’ve had stares from other children and their parent’s moving them on … my word, so sorry you went through that.

      Hope it doesn’t happen again!

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  8. I am really self conscious so I imagine I would initially struggle with feeding in public.

    • You never know, you might suprise yourself. I think knowing that what you’re doing is normal and that meeting your baby’s need is way more important that what people think, helps. It took a lot of watching how other women did it to help me build up my confidence :-). All the best on your journey.

  9. Such a great post, breast feeding really needs to be promoted more! The first time I fed in public I was nervous, but after a while it just became second nature. I’ve got a few dodgy looks in the past but It doesn’t bother me, it gives me a drive to do it even more haha!

    • When our babies are hungry, other people’s opinion, looks, thoughts, even feelings just doesn’t count! 🙂 So lovely when it becomes second nature, isn’t it. One less tense muscle in our mum shouders. 🙂

  10. I am expecting my first baby, so I’m a bit nervous about public breastfeeding being quite awkward at first. Thanks for the great post!

    • It might be a bit awkward to start with, but you’ll grow comfortable with it before you know it. At the end of the day, a contented baby is happier than a hungry baby and you’ve got to feed your baby when you’ve to feed them; never mind where you are. 🙂 Congratulations and all the best with birth, breastfeeding and beyond 🙂

  11. My first public was nerve wracking! I had very little close support and had it drummed in my head by others how it wasn’t the done thing. My baby is now 5 months old and even now I still struggle a bit especially around those who said such negative comments, but I do completely agree, seeing other mums breastfeeding has definitely made it easier for me.
    I’ve been to la leche meetings and baby groups and I’ve found that’s made all the difference as it has enabled me to practice public feeding and gain confidence xx

    • Yah … so glad that you’ve found positive enclaves of support despite the negativity. It really makes a difference to be around those that share similar ways of doing things, isn’t it. I’m glad that feeding in company and public is that much easier for you. LLL meetings are so helpful, aren’t they; lots of practise opportunities there 🙂

  12. A baby deserves to be fed when it’s hungry regardless of where it is at the time

  13. It’s great to see such a positive attitude towards breastfeeding now. It will be so much better for my daughter who’s due in February

    • O yes. I haven’t experienced any negativity as such as breastfeeding; my battles with it has been more in relation to me. But it’s lovely to know that it’s okay to feed your baby when your baby is hungry, even when others are around :-). Congratulations to your daughter and hope she has a fab time becoming a mum 🙂

  14. I was so nervous feeding for the first time in public, I took my husband on a special shopping trip to town just to do it with company before he went back to work. After a couple of weeks I purchased a breastfeeding cover and found myself much more confident about it, until baby got to about 3-4 months old and just wanted to look out everywhere so it wasnt so discreet but by that time i was more confident and didnt mind so much. Going to a breastfeeding support group was good for my confidence.

    • So lovely with your husband. I definitely found my husband being with me really helpful in those early weeks. I also started with a breastfeeding cover which baby outgrew. But it was alright then, because i was more confident about it. Seeing other mums breastfeeding at my support group, as well as when out and about really helped me too. 🙂

  15. Interesting read, i struggled with my daughter, but due number 2 in Novemeber and hope to have a better breastfeeding experience

    • I hope you do too; it really is lovely when it works :-). Many women struggle and in some way, it’s helpful to know that one isn’t alone in it. Congratulations on baby 2 and all the very best with him / her 🙂

  16. I really wish my bf journey was a success! It’s such a wonderful natural thing and I love to see mummas confidently feeding in public!

  17. i do the whole 2 tops one up then one down noone can see anyrhing then and no blanket over babies head as al mne have hated that so far! xx

    • Babies, as they grow older, definitely let us know they don’t like blankets over their heads. I suppose we don’t when we eat too :-). I do the 2 tops thing a lot too. Got to be comfy when eating / feeding, hey. 🙂

  18. I love reading pro breastfeeding articles. im pregnant with twins and I cant wait to breastfeed them. I don’t know if I would breastfeed in the public, haven’t got the confident yet. but I would definitely breastfeed first 6 months. xx

    • It’s helpful reading people’s experiences about life issues that we’re experiencing or going to experience. All the best with birth, breastfeeding, and beyond; hope you get all the support you need to achieve your goals. As for breastfeeding in public, it’s something you grow into; but of course you’ll manage it the way it works for you. I’ve learnt that hungry babies need feeding immediately; wherever you may be 🙂

  19. Oh i cant wait to breastfeed, due in october and desperate to get a good grip on it, if i get well into established breastfeeding i will be comfortable breastfeeding in public x

    • How exciting; all the best on your breastfeeding journey. It’s worth getting in touch with your local La Leche League or other breastfeeding group; they are very handy support to have from the start of your journey. As for breastfeeding when you’re out and about, I’m sure you’ll suprise yourself. 🙂

  20. im going to be a mother for the first time in december and planning to breast feed.
    ive seen so much hatred towards breast feeding mums in public its really terrified me.
    but with the bad also comes good as ive seen cafes in my local area with signs up reassuring us mums its okay, natural and dam well aloud in there cafe which i really appreciated. im hoping ill be a confident mother and be able to breast feed in public fingers crossed.

    • Congratulations and all the best with your breastfeeding journey! It’s lovely to have so many business clearly supporting breastfeeding mums, isn’t it. I found that the more I focused on meeting my child’s needs, the less the feelings of strangers in relation to my actions to meet my child’s needs ranked in my consideration. You will be suprised at how you’ll grow in your confidence and comfort about feeding your children whenever and wherever. 🙂

  21. I can’t how much I used to worry about feeding in public. It’s funny isn’t it? I think the media have a lot to answer for by implying that if you breastfeed in public people will be scandalised.

    • It’s definitely funny. For me, I didn’t even know what anyone thought of it, or that I could at the start. It just didn’t occur to me. So glad, I know I can feed my child when he is hungry, even when we’re not at home. I’ve been feeding wherever since. 🙂 Thanks for your comment.

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