Are there any ways to make breastfeeding in public easier and more comfortable?

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Answered by: Rachael, An Expert in the Breastfeeding in Public Places Category
Breastfeeding in public is one of the biggest concerns of most expectant mothers who are still trying to decide between the breast and the bottle. Since breastfeeding is such a personal act, it is understandable why so many women are uncomfortable with the idea of doing it in the presence of strangers. Some women will not even be comfortable nursing their infant in the company of their own extended family, much less society at large. When you compound these personal reservations with the unfortunate taboo surrounding public breastfeeding, it is easy to see why some mothers give up their preference for the breast in favor of a more socially acceptable bottle. Fortunately, breastfeeding in public is not the horror many imagine it to be and once the new mother learns how to do it discreetly it is surprisingly easy and comfortable.

You do not have to retreat to the nearest restroom and lock yourself and your baby in a stall every time the little one gets hungry. In fact, with a little practice and experience, most mothers can breastfeed their baby publicly and no one around them ever take notice. The best way to become an expert at discreet nursing is to practice at home. You can use a receiving blanket to drape over your baby while he or she is nursing, or purchase a nursing cover that slips around the mothers neck for a little more security. Once the baby has latched on, either of these items will work to preserve the modesty of the mother.

Learning how to get your baby to latch on without exposing yourself is really the key to breastfeeding in public. To make this process easier, wear tops that allow for easy access along with a nursing bra that can be adjusted with one hand. You may purchase specialty nursing tops if you like, but many mothers find that a loose fitting tee-shirt or a button down top work just as well. The main benefit in a nursing top is that it has slits over the breast that are usually covered by an additional panel of fabric, so accessibility is maximized.

Some babies do not appreciate not being able to see what is going on around them and may object strenuously to a cover or blanket. If your baby seems to fall into this category, it is probably best to go ahead and purchase a nursing cover so that it is not easily pulled away. This is another reason why practicing at home is so important. You and baby both must learn how to do this with maximum efficiency and each of you must be comfortable with the process.

Once your baby learns what to expect and you are comfortable with your skills, you may try breastfeeding in public. You may want to try nursing around your family first before going out to the shopping mall. At least if you have any difficulty or embarrassing slips, your family will understand. In just a short amount of time, you'll become an old pro at this and breastfeeding in public will just be something else you do, no longer a debilitating fear.

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