In the U.S., breastfeeding in public is a woman’s right, supported by law in all 50 states. However, the practical side of this can be an issue, and many new mothers worry about negative reactions to feeding their baby in front of strangers. The more we can normalize breastfeeding, the more it will be accepted as part of our culture for feeding and nurturing our children.

Here are a few tips to ease the anxiety of breastfeeding in public:

·       Practice at home. Try in front of a mirror or have someone you trust observe. Start normalizing breastfeeding at home with visitors. What may feel like exposing your body to the world might not even be visible to others.

·       Plan ahead. Going to the store? Start by going somewhere you know that has breastfeeding accommodations. Try an app like Mom’s Pump Here that can help you search for a private place to breastfeed.

·       Invest in a good nursing bra. Not only is this important for comfort and supports good breast health, but there is nothing worse than having to fumble when settling down to feed your baby.

·       Wear layers. A stretchy tank can be versatile, and an oversized t-shirt or button down can act as a cover or blanket.

·       Choose a comfortable location. Find a quiet area like a park bench or a shady spot under a tree. It looks nothing more than a mama snuggling with her baby to potential onlookers.

·       Watch your baby’s cues. A crying baby who is hungry and frantic could draw attention and add to your anxiety. A calm baby will more than likely latch quickly and successfully.

·       If, on the off chance you encounter negative comments, think of a response that is both firm and polite. No need to apologize; you are doing nothing wrong. A kind smile often is all you need to deter onlookers.

If you have questions or need advice, contact The Milk Bank for free advice and lactation support through our B.R.A. @ TMB services!