Provided by Motherwear, the complete catalog and website for the nursing mother.
Nursing a child in the tranquility of home can be among the most memorable moments in life. Why, then, when we take this same bond of closeness and caring out in public, don’t we always feel euphoric about what we’re doing?
Even the most liberal among us can be caught off guard at the sight of a woman’s breast. The fact that a mother may be doing the most natural thing in the world feeding her baby registers second. A woman who wouldn’t dream of wearing a low-cut blouse to the office will instinctively lift her shirt to calm her crying infant. Breastfeeding mothers know these two behaviors are different, but people who have never breastfed, or viewed a breastfeeding mother and child, may not see it this way.
We offer this information to help smooth the rough edges where nursing mothers meet a public unaccustomed to the practice. You don’t want to leave your baby at home whenever you go out, and there’s no need to. With a little planning and practice, you’ll be able to breastfeed easily and comfortably wherever you find yourselves. Ultimately, the most important thing is that you do what works best for you and your baby.
Every nursing pair has different needs when it comes to noise level, nursing position, and privacy. You and your child have a right to have these needs met, no matter where you are. If you feel at ease, the people around you will, too. If you are relaxed and confident, your baby will get started nursing more easily. Find a place where you’re comfortable, whether it’s a bench by a fountain, a chair in a dressing room, or a quiet corner of your favorite bookstore.
Be alert for your baby’s signals of hunger. Find a place to sit and nurse at the first sign of her discomfort. Better still, take frequent breaks and breastfeed before you steer into the supermarket or head for the bank. Though not all babies are predictable, learning your baby’s rhythms will help you plan your outings so you are in a convenient place when she’s hungry.
If you’re new to breastfeeding, you might benefit from the following guidelines. Women who thought they could never be comfortable nursing in public have found that these tips preserve their privacy and give them confidence.
Three steps to discreet nursing
1. Bring your baby close. Discreetly unfasten your nursing opening and your bra.
2. Help your baby latch on, then arrange your clothing to cover your breast.
3. Look up from your baby and resume your conversation, read a magazine, or watch the passers by. Most people will be unaware that you are breastfeeding. Accept that some people will be curious, and proceed with pride!
There’s no need to attract attention when you don’t want it. Fumbling with your clothes or looking around nervously will make people curious. Wear loose-fitting tops or clothes with nursing openings to minimize the amount of attention you give your clothing. Meet people’s eyes and smile, or create your own privacy zone by reading a book or engaging in conversation with a friend.
Remove yourself without leaving the scene. Create a private space with the positioning of your body. Turning away from the crowd sends out a signal that you are not available for interaction. If you choose to, carry a scarf or baby blanket to drape over your shoulders as you nurse. A blazer or sweater can create privacy, too.
© 2002 Motherwear, Inc. The complete catalog and website, for the nursing mother. Supporting, inspiring, and serving nursing women since 1982. Visit us online at motherwear, or call us toll-free at 800-950-2500.