You’ve just had a baby…congratulations! Breastfeeding is going well (and if not, please contact an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant ASAP). You’re ready to leave the house. Um, okay, but what if your baby wants to eat while you’re out and about? Welcome to the world of Nursing in Public, or NIP! Whether you are bold as can be or as shy as a mouse, you can feed your baby in public. Here are some tips to help you nurse your baby outside of your home with confidence.
Take Abby The Badass Breastfeeder’s awesome, free, 7-day online course on Nursing in Public!
Here are Abby’s top five tips for Becoming a Badass Breastfeeder:
- Change your thinking about your body. We can become so focused on our insecurities, but when we reframe our thinking it actually changes the way we feel about ourselves and the way we act.
- Engage fully with your baby. This will help take the focus off of others so you won’t be as concerned about what they are thinking or where they are looking.
- Get into babywearing. It makes it so much easier when you are out and about. Breastfeeding while babywearing can be difficult to figure out, but the course can help.
- Learn how the breastfeeding laws in your state protect you. You can print them out and carry them around. You might be surprised by how much more confidence this gives you.
- Create a support network of family and friends. It’s almost impossible to be successful at anything when the people in our lives are unsupportive. The largest section of the course is about engaging family and friends to be more supportive and finding like-minded moms to meet face to face. Moms are so good at supporting moms!
What to wear?
Whatever you’re going to wear, make sure you practice nursing in it at home. You might find that perfect nursing outfit isn’t quite so perfect once your baby’s in action. I recommend wearing two layers: The first layer is a tank that’s easy to pull down and bring out your breast and the top layer is a shirt you can easily pull up to expose your tank. This way, your belly is covered and just your breast is exposed – and it won’t be exposed for very long once your baby is latched and feeding. You can also have a scarf or small nursing cover to be even more discreet.
Breastfeeding while babywearing
Breastfeeding while wearing tank and shirt combo
Small cover to avoid a hot, wiggly baby
I also recommend practicing with a couple of different positions at home that might work well for breastfeeding while sitting upright at a cafe, such as the Koala hold:
You could also turn so your baby faces the wall, which not only keeps your breasts away from others’ eyes, but will hopefully help keep your baby from becoming too distracted!
What if I have a nip-slip?
You will probably be the only one to notice. And how you act, even if you don’t feel it on the inside, really does make a difference: Act confident, act like you and your nursing baby belong there. The only other people to notice you will be other moms and IBCLCs like me! And if it does happen, you’ll have a good story to share with your moms’ group – and I bet you won’t be the only one!
Other online resources for Nursing in Public:
- San Diego Breastfeeding Center
- The Boob Group (several podcasts on NIP)
- La Leche League International
- Anne Smith, IBCLC