When your baby is hungry the most natural thing in the world for you to do is to feed her, whether you are alone, with family and friends or you’re out and about.
You may feel a bit shy about breastfeeding in public at first, but once you have developed your own technique for feeding in front of others, you won’t give it a second thought.
You may think that people will stare or making comments if you breastfeed in public, but the truth is that the majority of people don’t have a problem with women breastfeeding in public places at all. In fact, many people don’t even notice a woman breastfeeding, whereas they do notice a hungry baby crying.
If you’re new to this, you may feel more comfortable going to a cafe or coffee shop where you know other mums will be breastfeeding, or to a store that has a special mother and baby area. Ask friends with babies for recommendations and consider taking your own mum or a friend with you for support.
The right clothing is the key to discreet breastfeeding. Dresses, or tops with buttons down the front are best avoided as they are likely to expose more of you than you would like! Look for breastfeeding tops with a discreet opening, which allows easy access. Alternatively, you can just wear your normal tops with a vest underneath so that you can pull your top up and vest down to create an opening. You could wear a short kurta and keep a dupatta or stole at hand to put over your shoulder and cover your baby whilst feeding without suffocating her. If you are wearing a sari, you can feed discreetly and cover yourself and your baby with the pallu.
A maternity bra or a soft, non-wired bra, which can simply be pulled up or down will make things easier.
A scarf or muslin or dupatta draped over your chest while your baby feeds will give you privacy and help to stop your baby from being distracted. Some baby slings are also designed to be used for breastfeeding.
Keep some spare breast pads in your nappy bag and carry a bottle of water with you, as breastfeeding is thirsty work
You wouldn’t eat in a public toilet so you shouldn’t ever feel that you need to feed your baby in one, either.
“Just because a woman is a mother she doesn't lose her right to eat out. Babies need feeding too, so why not? I think it's far less intrusive to have a mum breastfeeding where you can choose not to look than to have a hungry baby screaming where you have no choice but to listen.”
“A baby needs food too. Not allowing this would effectively ban breastfeeding women from restaurants.”