how do you breastfeed in public?

Jennifer - posted on 01/14/2010 ( 19 moms have responded )




Related to the "public breastfeeding" convo, I'd like some advice on how to breastfeed in public. I read a lot of moms saying they don't cover up, and that people can't generally tell. I've got a 3 month old, and I'm worried about bf-ing in public. I had been feeding him in a Moby wrap, but he's getting too big for that, at least the way I've been keeping him in there.

I've got large breasts and what seem like huge areolae to me. I've been told I have too much cleavage at work in my Motherhood Maternity tops. When my baby's latched on, I still see some of my areola. My breasts seem like they are bigger than my baby's head so I'm not sure how I could breastfeed in public sans cover without flashing the world or just having a ton of flesh showing.

Also, what do you do when your baby struggles to latch on? He always seems to latch on instantly in the beginning, but then he comes off to look around or something and can't seem to get back on without a lot of help. He'll scream in frustration, and everyone turns in my direction. This happens a lot when he's in the Moby, and sometimes at home with no cover. When that happens, I have to calm him down a little before trying to get him latched on again. I can just imagine me in public with my breast hanging out of my top, and a baby over my shoulder while everyone stares at me and my screaming baby...

Are you comfortable just letting everyone see what's there? Do people really not gawk or get offended?



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T.J. - posted on 01/17/2010




I am on my 5th baby and have breast fed all of them. I think it's just what you feel comfortable with to be honest. Of course if you ar just totally exposed you will probly get a few head turns but it is natural. I was very big chested before I had surgery and still nursed where ever I went. I personally just used a blanket to cover up. I also found a nursing cover, basically a blanket that connects at the corners that goes around your shoulders. That way you don't have to worry that it will fall down and expose all you assets. :) Anyway, you may also practice at home. About the latching on part you may try a nipple sheild I have had to use one for the same reason and they work wonders. Good luck!

Nadine - posted on 01/17/2010




I also have a 3month old i just use his muslin squares and put them over my breast as my son also doe's the looking around thing. When he does un latch him self i have the sqaure already there to cover me and to catch my milk that almost always goes everywhere.

Billy - posted on 01/17/2010




I use a wrap/ cover that I got at walmart, its cute and covers the baby and you but the top is open enough that you can see the baby. My little one loves it, he gets all warm and snuggly, but the cover is loose like a shawl

Ange - posted on 01/17/2010




I think it is important to feed in public too. I have use both nursing tank tops and nursing bras at the same time, I then wear another shirt over the tank top. When I need to nurse, I pull up the exterior shirt, pull down the corner of the nursing tank top to have the baby latch on, I then pull the exterior shirt back over my exposed breast. When I do this, people can't even tell that Im nursing because only the tiniest portion of my breast is exposed (i have pretty large breasts too).
There is also a company called boob that has some pretty amazing nursing shirts.
There is nothing wrong with nursing in public, but I feel like this is a small step for the shy moms.
I would just try pushing your babies head into your breast a little more when he is feeding. don't smother him, but that might help him not lose the latch.

Amanda - posted on 01/17/2010




I think you have to do it however you're comfortable. I have no problem breastfeeding in public, but I don't like to show my breasts. I using a Generation Baby cover, which is lightweight and has a rigid top so I can watch my daughter. I also wear nursing tanks which keeps my bavk and belly covered and I feel comfortable. I would like to try nursing in my Moby but we haven't gotten the hang of it yet.

Eva-Lotta - posted on 01/16/2010




I do what Michelle do. A light blanket over so it still allows airflow. It's quick and easy and it somewhat prevents some of the distraction for your baby with people walking past etc..
Breastfeeding is a natural process so there is absolutely nothing to feel embarassed about. If someone around you has got a problem with it then it is them that has a problem, not you.

Angela - posted on 01/15/2010




Please check out this article... it is cute and will make you smile about breastfeeding in public.. Personally I don't care what people think. I breastfeed in public without covering up. My baby doesn't like to be covered up but I am discrete about it!

Catriona - posted on 01/15/2010




hi I'm bf my second child and have found with both that if you have two tops on it can be helpful to lift one and lower the other so when he is on you can lower the top onto his noise and noone wil see can stop him trying to latch back on to quickly as the top will fall.

Emily - posted on 01/15/2010




I get my daughter latched on then if needed I will cover up if I feel uncomfortable, but usually I have not had an issue, plus if she is covered up then I can't look at her & I love to look at her.

Emily - posted on 01/15/2010




I sometimes cover, sometimes not. Lately not, because my daughter hates it!

What I do is reach under my shirt to undo my bra (shirt still down), then put baby up to my breast with my shirt still down, then lift up enough shirt for her to latch on, then I pull the shirt down to the beginning of where her mouth is. Everything is covered. It is challenging when she pops off, for sure... but generally her head is still right there, so you'd really have to be looking to see anything. I find most people will look away anyway. I've never had anyone stare or say anything rude.

And I will add, it gets easier with time. I hardly ever nursed in public when my babies were very new newborns as I literally have to hold my boob in order to get them to latch. But it's easier when they get older and can pretty much latch themselves.

[deleted account]

Nicole, I totally agree with you about nursing covers. I received one in a bag of hand-me-downs when I had my son and I looked at it, laughed, and threw it into the give away pile. But I can't change the fact that some women don't feel comfortable without them. It always makes me so happy when I see a woman nursing in public without one. I just wanna go right up and give her a high five hehe:)
I like nursing in public because I think it's important for people to see such a beautiful natural thing for what it is.

Shelley - posted on 01/15/2010




hi i always felt a little uncomfortable so i would tuck the corners of a wrap into both bra straps securely and put the baby under the wrap and if you need to help you put your hand down the middle and assist with the baby looking around ect i would wrap my babies to feed so that i had more control and their little hands couldn't get in the way

Nicole - posted on 01/14/2010




I don't cover and I don't hide (as you can see from my pic :D). I think nursing covers are a step back from breastfeeding normalization- they imply there is something that needs to be hidden plus they have busy patterns and most of them are quite large so they scream Hey people! I'm BFing! When I am walking, I can still nurse my gigantic 15 month old in the moby- it just take a little wiggling and it is easiest if you can pull the breast from the top of the shirt. For reference- Phoebe is 28lbs and 35in. I am an unabashed lactivist so if the rare idiot has something bad to say, I give them an earful. In general, no one pays a bit of attention and they are just grateful you have a happy baby who isn't pitching a fit.

Stephanie - posted on 01/14/2010




yeah, I don't use a cover either. I feel like a cover advertises, hey! I'm breastfeeding over here!! :) plus, none of my kids would leave them in place. :)

practice at home first and then try it out and about. Restaurants are great because you can kind of hide everything under the edge of the table. :) most folks don't even know what I'm doing. :)

hold baby in correct position. unsnap nursing bra with one hand. pull it down from the bottom under your shirt. slide baby closer and under shirt a little. only lift your shirt enough to see baby's head/face. Use the arm near baby's head to hold him and to cover the side of your body.
to get back together.... leave baby in position, keep shirt down and pull up bra over nipple. Reach through your shirt and grab the snap and snap it. adjust shirt a little. :) lift baby for burping. tada!!
easy peasy, nice and cheesy, lemon squeezy.... as my 7 yo daughters say.

Rebecca - posted on 01/14/2010




For myself I dont use a cover, I find them cumbersome and my daughter hates to be covered. What I do is I will sit and just lift the one side of my shirt up and latch her on then I will pull the shirt down so that it covers my breast, if you are sitting you wont have any skin showing because the back of whatever you are sitting on or back to will cover your back if it happens to show. When my daughter comes off, either to look around or whatever, I will just pull my shirt over my breast and wait for her to either latch back on or is done nursing. Not sure if this makes sense, its hard to type it out when you cant actually see what Im doing......But if you are really having a hard time or are not comfortable then as the other moms mentioned there are lots of nursing covers out there you can use.

[deleted account]

I use a nursing cover. I've recommended the Bebe-au-Lait before, I think it's fantastic. I bought mine online, a Google search should come up with it. It's got a rigid opening at the top, so you can see down at what baby is doing. Great if you're having trouble latching baby on. Also, it's large enough to cover you really well around the sides and front.
I only ever breastfeed without a cover if I'm in someone's home where I know that people are open to breastfeeding, either nursing themselves or having nursed previously. Out in public, I only use a cover, as I'm quite self-conscious and it helps my son concentrate on feeding rather than looking around.

[deleted account]

I used a nursing cover when I went out! They work really great and you can get some at Target, walmart, etc. Also i'm posting some info for a discount on some nursing covers. Check out the website.

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[deleted account]

I find most people are pretty decent. I've had the odd person gawk or make a comment (not so much outright rude but I've had someone suggest I go into the family room). But I've also had the exact opposite. I've had an older woman come right up and have a peek at my son nursing and smile.

I don't have really big boobs but I think even if I did I wouldn't have too much trouble keeping them fairly covered using the same methods I do now. In the beginning they were fairly big and I found I needed to hold onto my breast in order for my son to be able to stay latched on or if he did come unlatched it was easy to pop my breast back in his mouth if I already had a hold on it. As your baby gets older it's easy because they gain more control. I too have somewhat large areolas. It ain't no thing;) For coverage, I always have a stretchy tank top on under my t-shirt/longsleeve or else I'll wear a button up. But with the tank top and t-shirt combo I can reach up my t-shirt and pull down the tank and undo my nursing bra to expose my breast (but it's still covered by my t-shirt). Then I can bring my son up to my breast and lift my t-shirt just enough to get my nipple in his mouth and away we go:) I have never really been uncomfortable about nursing in public but I don't like my tummy being bare when I lift my shirt. So the tanktop under the t-shirt if very comfortable for me. Maybe you should also look into a new carrier. I use the Ergo and not only will it last you a good while, but it's also very comfortable and quite easy to nurse discretely in. Hope that helps.

PS - a good nursing bra can make all the difference in the world!

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