Positive Experiences of Nursing in Public

Despite reading plenty of news articles about women being asked to feed their baby in a train toilet or not to feed in the swimming pool, I can honestly say that in my 5 years of breastfeeding I’ve never had a negative experience of breastfeeding in public (well expect perhaps the time I was feeding Chloe in my car in a supermarket car park and overheard someone announce “Urgh, she’s feeding her effing baby in the effing car!” Quite what was wrong with that I don’t know!)

Anyway.  I do think that this is, in part, down to confidence.  If you feed confidently people aren’t going to say anything to you.  It’s not that I sit there with an aggressive “Go on, come and say something” look on my face, but rather that I just get on with it in a “It’s nobody else’s business” fashion.

I’ve fed in the staffroom of the primary school I used to work in, standing in church aBreastfeeding Mummys a very good friend of mine walked down the aisle, on the floor in the Trafford Centre, at York Races, in restaurants, bars and the Doctor’s Surgery.  You name it, I’ve had my boobs out.  I’ve always worked on the basis that people would rather see a bit of boob than hear my hungry baby screaming – and actually I don’t really care if they’re offended as my priority will always be my hungry baby.

I’m not really one for covering up – I’m not saying a gratuitously flash my nawks at every opportunity but more that I don’t want to cover my baby’s head while I’m feeding them just to please someone else. (And in fact my Dad has just told me he thinks I’m pretty good at feeding discreetly and that people probably just don’t really notice anyway which was nice of him!)

Rather than having people comment negatively about my choice to breastfeed my baby in public I’ve actually found the opposite – people smiling kindly in an approving fashion or even on one occasion a little old lady telling me what a lovely thing it is to see.

Be confident and remember nobody has the right to ask you to move. You are legally allowed to breastfeed your baby anywhere you like (or at least anywhere you’d allowed to be normally!!)

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26 Comments

  1. June 23, 2014 / 12:19 pm

    My son wouldn't latch on and screamed loudly for about 15 minutes until I got him in the right position to feed through a nipple shield – so I'm afraid feeding in public was stressful/impossible for me, as everyone would be staring at me as I tried to get started. As a result, I stayed at home and breastfed for only 6 weeks. But I totally support every woman's right to feed her baby when, where and how she likes. Whatever works for mum and baby.

    • June 23, 2014 / 2:47 pm

      Oh you poor thing – you must have felt so trapped x

    • Anonymous
      June 23, 2014 / 9:42 pm

      This is my story almost down to a tee, our son had a tongue tie and it took ages to get him diagnosed so I ended up pumping which is not really something one would do while sitting down at costa, our current baby doesn't like the breast, she gets frustrated and angry in few seconds, the only way I can get her to take any is with a shield so once again the pump is my "best friend", I wish I could bf and I'd be more than happy to do it anywhere in public <3

      (Pia S)

  2. katefever
    June 23, 2014 / 1:26 pm

    I think it is so important to read positive stories like this. You should never feel the need to hide away to feed your baby – it's the most natural thing in the world. Well done you x

    • June 23, 2014 / 2:48 pm

      It really upsets me to hear that people are nervous or worried about other's reactions when they are feeding in public – like you say you really shouldn't have to had something so normal! x

  3. June 23, 2014 / 3:37 pm

    I must admit I did feed in front of the mirror before going out and about which confirmed for me how little anyone else could see, and that boosted my confidence. I definitely have a "come on, say something if you think you're hard enough" glare which I have deployed a few times though!!

  4. June 23, 2014 / 6:29 pm

    my sister bought a shawl for privacy

  5. June 23, 2014 / 8:01 pm

    My top tip is not to show your nervousness. If you act confident, you will soon find that you ARE confident

  6. Tas D
    June 24, 2014 / 1:40 pm

    I was a completely clumsy looking breastfeeder, I always wanted to be really graceful like in the adverts but I looked more like I was wrestling my boobs and baby all at once 🙂

  7. June 24, 2014 / 2:18 pm

    Know your rights and repeat them to anyone trying to stop you nursing.

  8. June 24, 2014 / 4:12 pm

    Definately being confident is key! Funny story is squirting what felt like halfway across the room ad baby pinged off to look at what was happening. Luckily it was at a toddler group so not in complete public but it did get some laughs!

  9. June 24, 2014 / 5:09 pm

    Practice in places you know are not too busy like the local cafe or park or even your garden before going to busier places

  10. June 24, 2014 / 5:44 pm

    i dont have any stories or tips as i havent had experience of breastfeeding (hoping to BF successfully in sept when baby arrives) but i love reading positive stories. all you ever hear about is women being told to leave or cover up and that makes me nervous!

  11. June 25, 2014 / 6:28 am

    I've been breastfeeding my little girl for 13 months and haven't had a negative comment or reaction yet. I thought now she was over 1 I might start to get disapproving looks, but none yet. 9/10 I don't think people even notice I'm feeding.

  12. June 25, 2014 / 8:34 am

    Wearing the right tops/bra + clever layering makes it easy to breastfeed anywhere and everywhere!

  13. June 25, 2014 / 8:40 am

    Feeding while in a sling was my greatest achievement and has enabled me to feed anywhere, including music festivals!

  14. Viv C
    June 25, 2014 / 1:44 pm

    be confident – most people don't even notice.

  15. June 26, 2014 / 8:13 am

    Muslins can be a useful breast cover without covering your baby's head

  16. June 27, 2014 / 9:45 am

    My top tip for nursing in public is to do it in a way that you feel comfortable with. If you want to take your breast over the top of your top, do it. If you want to feel covered up, try wearing two tops – pull one up and one down – or tuck a muslin in your bra strap to cover your boob. But basically, if you feel comfortable and relaxed, you'll be fine.

  17. I'd say just be confident and do it! I've been sitting chatting to people and they've never noticed I was feeding…, not much chance of that now though, dd2 is determined to expose my boobs to all and sundry!

  18. Sarah Strickland
    June 27, 2014 / 9:12 pm

    I would say, start slowly with somewhere you feel confident. Then as you get more confident, you will feel happy to do it anywhere!

  19. Lynsey Buchanan
    June 28, 2014 / 1:25 pm

    A Nursing Shawl is great to discreetly breastfeed in public

  20. June 28, 2014 / 7:58 pm

    I think everyone is right it's a confidence thing my best friend has always breastfed on demand and we've stopped in all sorts of places and she doesn't use a cover or anything and not once have I seen anyone look or say anything to her about it. Although she did have am incident once when a group of middle aged women made comments in a coffee shop and a young lad who worked there actually stuck up for her as she was on her own which I thought was nice!

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