World Breastfeeding Week: Midwife shares top tips for breastfeeding confidently in public

A young mother is breastfeeding her baby in a cafe while she is having a coffee

While breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby, many mothers feel nervous about feeding in public.

In fact, a recent study by Lansinoh, who has been supporting breastfeeding mums for over 35 years, found that three-quarters of mums feel more cautious about breastfeeding in public, as a direct result of COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions.

To help mums feel more confident about breastfeeding in public, particularly post-lockdown, Lansinoh has teamed up with midwife and antenatal educator, Marley Hall, who shares her top tips for new mums.

Go out with a breastfeeding mum

Now that lockdown measures allow you to meet up with several people outside your household, why not go out with a friend who is also breastfeeding? As the saying goes, there’s ‘safety in number. Having another breastfeeding mum with you can help to give you the confidence to feed your little one in public for the first time.

Alternatively, if you don’t have any breastfeeding friends living nearby, why not visit a baby-friendly café, where there’s more chance of being around other breastfeeding mums.

Know your rights

Many new mums who have given birth in the months since March will have never breastfed their child in public before. So it’s important to know your rights.

The UK law gives mums the right to breastfeed their babies in any public place, such as shops, hotels and restaurants. You are also covered by the law to feed in cinemas, theatres, petrol stations, and hospitals.

Plan your outfit beforehand

Make sure your clothing is as comfortable as possible, whilst also being easily accessible. Planning your outfit beforehand can make breastfeeding in public much more convenient. It is also a lot more discrete for any mum feeling slightly nervous.

You don’t need to splash out on a new wardrobe either – you’ll most likely already have items in your wardrobe that will come in handy, such as tops and dresses with buttons or zips, wrap cardigans and stretchy tops, which you can easily pull down and back up again. A good breastfeeding bra with clips can also help to make breastfeeding easier.

Make sure to have a drink on hand

When you are out and about, ensure you have a drink and snacks handy. Breastfeeding can be thirsty work and there’s nothing worse than being thirsty or hungry when not in close proximity to a shop.

Focus on enjoying the moment

You might be surprised to hear that most people don’t notice when a mum is feeding her baby at all.

But, if you notice someone watching you feed, try not to worry or feel uncomfortable. It’s most likely they are simply intrigued by what you are doing. Just continue to focus on feeding your baby and enjoy the moment with your little one.

Prepare what you’d say if you were questioned

While it’s extremely unlikely that anyone will question you for breastfeeding your child in public, this can often be a cause of worry for mums who have yet to breastfeed in public. It can be worth preparing how you’d respond if the situation were to arise. By having your response already prepared in your mind, you can then feel more confident knowing that you have a plan.

Practice makes perfect

A good latch is vital for achieving a smooth breastfeeding experience, and this comes down to practice. Finding a comfortable position for both you and your baby will help to ensure that they are getting enough breastmilk.  It will prevent you from developing sore nipples.

Some mums prefer to raise their babies to breast height, whilst other mums prefer to hold their babies diagonally across their bodies. To make sure that you feel comfortable and familiar with getting into positions in public, make sure to try out a few positions at home and practice until you find the position that works best for you.

For more breastfeeding advice, click here.

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