Day 9 of #12daysofparenting here, and today’s theme is about babies not stopping at Christmas. Thanks for hopping from My Thoughts on Things if you did. 🙂 Our fab giveaway includes a signed A3 limited edition picture, worth £95 from Fresh Photography‘s recent Iceland blog. Entries (UK Residents Only) are via the Rafflecopter at the end of this post, check out the 12 Days of Parenting page for the terms and conditions.
Christmas shopping, and Boxing Day and New Year sales are upon us; so are very busy child friendly spots, with pretty much all tots groups on a break. For some breastfeeding mums, this is a nightmare when out and about; where in the world would you find a place to feed your child with so many people around? At the busy times, in busy crowded public places, how can breastfeeding mums, especially those still finding their feet, confidently and comfortably boob as needed.
Hungry babies afterall, do not stop being hungry, or hold their hunger just because it’s Christmas and folks are all around. They don’t say, ‘I understand we’ve got to get home to feed, mummy’.
In fact sometimes, when I’m driving, my toddler loudly requests to, ‘eat … eat mummy’, with some whining and crying when the ‘eat’ doesn’t happen within his tummy timing.
And we can’t forever stay close to home because we need to breastfeed our child(ren). Life continues, however comfy we feel about where and how to feed. Some days, you have to go to that crowded shopping mall, as well as breastfeed your child whilst you’re there, or you might have to feed your crying child on the train back home.
It took me forever to feel alright with going out of the house with my baby, partly because I didn’t know how to manage feeding times when lots of people were around.
So, here my tips I’ve learn’t on my breastfeeding journey, about how to face breastfeeding in public when it’s crowded and cold, at this time of the year, and in the early months of the new year.
1. Breastfeeding is eating
Breastfeeding in public can feel like a big deal; it helps to remind ourselves that it is not. Breastfeeding is really just eating. How many of us eat on the go? Very few folks will avoid eating just because others are around. Eating to nourish our bodies is what we do every day, all the time; using our hands and mouth. That’s what breastfeeding is, our babies / toddlers feeding with our hands, their hands, and mouth. Beyond the technicality of how the food, milk in this case, is extracted, breastfeeding is simply eating!
2. Breastfeeding in Publilc is normal and legal
It also helps to remember that breastfeeding is a perfectly normal thing to do; it is the biological normal way for humans and many animal babies to eat. And my, there are so many reasons to love breastfeeding.
There are many normal things that aren’t permitted to be done in public, or that have designated places within the public space. Breastfeeding isn’t one of these; breastfeeding is legal in the public sphere … you can boob your child whenever your child needs boobing wherever it’s safe to boob.
It really is not a big deal.
3. Breastfeeding is wanted.
Shops know the spending power and emotional influence of breastfeeding mums. Brands want our patronage. I mean brands love all groups of people for their purchase power, but I think they really like breastfeeding mums. You see, we spend that much more time in shops and restaurants, with all the extra time we need for boobing in between buying, eating, talking, playing, and changing our tots.
Why do you think they have additional parent friendly spaces in the form of designated breastfeeding rooms, however dingy, in shopping areas? Why do some have signs and symbols on their windows and doors to say that breastfeeding mums are welcome? Why do you think some seem to go the extra mile to welcome groups of breastfeeding mothers in their cafes and restaurants?
Those quiet spaces away from the crowded shop floor are not altruistic support for breastfeeding mums to comfortably breastfeed in public; oh no, they’re a recognition of the valuable customer we are.
4. Find and get your breastfeeding comforts
Now that you’ve sorted your head space about breastfeeding in public, you should be feeling confident about getting out of the house and participating in the world, even in crowded places. So on to the practical details.
You know yourself and how you feel about the exposure or coverage of your feeding asset. So, it is helpful to decide whether you want to feed your child covered or not when out and about, and indeed the kind of cover you need. It’s also worth noting that your child might decide for you as they grow; mine did.
I started out using Bebe au lait nursing covers that I bought from a NCT and Mum2Mum Market sales. However, my growing toddler eventually didn’t want to eat behind covers, like I wouldn’t want to. So, I had to find another comfortable way of feeding, for both of us.
It’s definitely worth practising feeding positions and the use of any covering, at home, to see what you’re happy with.
Furthermore, you can get undergarments like the Breastvest or breastfeeding clothes from companies like Frugi to support you; I find these very helpful. They’ve helped to make breastfeeding in public quite a breeze for me, and definitely help to keep warm in the cold.
One thing I like about covers is that they can help with keeping that bit warmer whilst feeding, in cold weather. They are of course not replacement for coats and jackets for you and your baby.
I find coats and jackets that have buttons, zips or front straps the best for comfy feeding outside, when it’s cold.
Also, many baby carriers are now designed to support breastfeeding whilst wearing your baby. I’ve got a Sleepy Nico carrier and I so wish I knew I could feed in it, much earlier than I did. It’s fab for walking and feeding, hands free.
You might want to practice at home, before going out.
5. Find a feeding space
It’s worth checking out your destination for possible places where you’ll feel comfortable feeding. You might be able to google the location of the nearest designated feeding places before you leave the house.
In restaurants and cafes, you can ask to be sat near corners, and away from window, if these work for you.
Parks have benches dotted round, and it’s worth noting their location, incase you need them.
So, there you have it: things to remember to help build up some of your confidence about breastfeeding in public, and tips for planning your comfy breastfeeding in public, when it’s crowded and cold.
What if you partially feed directly, or solely use pumped / expressed milk? Watch out for my tips post about things to keep in mind for combi breast / bottle / cup feeding out and about.
~ What tips would you add? ~
‘Holy’ is my #12daysofparenting code. Check out Life with Baby Kicks‘s post about babies not stopping at Christmas, and for your chance to gain more entries into our fab grand prize giveaway.
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