As a new mom or parent whipping out your boob to feed your baby can feel absolutely terrifying, and result in many emotions about our body and how others will see us. But, this my dear friend is just the beginning of navigating your body confidence journey.
Before the confidence kicks in, there’s a few things you can do to feel more confident, more supported, and more at ease in breastfeeding – whether it’s at the hospital, at home, or at the mall.
Simple tips for breastfeeding your baby in public
Invest in a nursing tank.
We love to get new moms into nursing bra’s, but if you were to only buy one piece of clothing for breastfeeding, we’d recommend the My Necessity Nursing Tank (or any nursing camisole) because it can be worn with your existing wardrobe, and provide you with that belly coverage that so many new parents struggle with.
Nursing tanks give you full torso coverage, but then unsnap for you to nurse baby. That means you can use a two-shirt method and wear your existing wardrobe, or you can just toss on a blanket to keep you warm. Nursing tanks are a fantastic way to give your body comfort when it needs it.
Bonus: nursing tanks grow and change as you do, they don’t have the size restrictions and can be comfortable during the early days. They have enough fit for a set of nursing pads to capture any leaks and spills.
Cons: Nursing tanks are not incredibly supportive. At some point, you will want to consider a more supportive nursing bra and begin to transition. But the nursing tank is fantastic for your first days at the hospital, first week at home, and for navigating small outdoor spaces as a new mom.
Consider a Nursing Cover
It’s the new millenia, you don’t need a nursing cover – but you might want one. Speciality nursing covers are available, but you can multipurpose almost any product to make it function as a nursing cover – and provide you with that coverage you want.
Many of our parents love The OVer Cover from The OVer Company because it is multifunctional and can be used as a carseat cover, buggy cover, or as a nursing cover. Made with premium bamboo and available in many prints, The OVer Cover is a comfortable choice for many parents.
Other parents may choose to repurpose a blanket or swaddle as a cover. You’ll be surprised how far an extra swaddle or blanket can take you – simply use it to cover what you want to cover, or tie two ends together to create a little cover that you can toss over your neck. This is where a really big muslin swaddle blanket comes in handy and is a fantastic tool to keep in your bag.
Attend a new parent’s group in your community
Bonus if it’s a breastfeeding support group, but one of the best ways to practice nursing your baby in front of others is other breastfeeding parents because they’ve been there before and will not care if you accidently whip out your nip. They might even have some tips or ideas to support you on nursing your baby around others, and if you forget an extra set of nursing pads – chances are someone has some you can use.
Did you know in Prince George the Northern Health Unit hosts a breastfeeding support group? This weekly meet up is one of the places I’ve met the women I still hang out with today, and can be a great resource for any parent trying to figure out how to feed their babies. It’s also the first place I saw another woman’s boobs, and it was kind of surreal learning that mothering and nursing is different for so many people.
Practice nursing in different positions without pillows, and with a cover.
If you choose to nurse with a cover, you might want to practice because not all babies will put up with it, and not all parents know how to get baby to the boob with it on. Give it a go at home in your comfort of your space so you can figure out your plan when you’re out in public or at your in-laws.
You might also want to experiment with different nursing positions so that you can tackle the task of nursing withoutbreastfeeding accessories (i.e if you got used to use a pillow)
That said… I have been known to lay down in the middle of the floor at an aquarium once because I couldn’t get my kid to nurse any other way, and I was tired. I was in the parenting room, but it was weird and awkward, but I was tired an engorged and desperate need of finding a way to manage the off flow.
Pack your diaper bag accordingly
Alright, it’s time to go out and about, take time to pack what you need in your diaper bag so you are comfortable and prepared. This will be including nursing pads, if you need them, a blanket or cover, pacifiers (if needed), and perhaps a fidget toy to distract baby, or their favourite teether from Itzy Ritzy. Maybe you need a baby carrier, maybe you need to remember to pack your SNS system, your nipple shields, or your nipple cream.
I was a leaky mama, so I would pack an extra shirt in my vehicle. If I leaked everywhere, I could go back and have a quick change. This happened more often then I really care to admit, and is why its good to ensure you stock your bag with the essentials, especially nursing pads.
When baby gets older, you might find an addition of snacks can help distract them from always nursing and give them something to hold off until you find a comfortable place to nurse your baby.
Consider breastfeeding friendly clothes
We talked about the nursing tank earlier, but there’s more options when it comes to clothing that can support you in finding comfort when breastfeeding. I didn’t want to list this as number one because I don’t think it’s as important as a nursing tank is, but I do think nursing friendly clothing can be a game changer.
There are so many different styles of nursing friendly clothes with different access styles in 2022 from dress to tops, to covers and everything in between. Today, many maternity clothes are nursing friendly, and you can easily find something your style, your comfort, and your colour with just a quick online shop. We even sell nursing hoodies with hidden zippers!
My favourite is a stretchy neckline (we don’t have any yet) or the hidden zipper. Shop our collection of nursing clothes online or in store at our Pine Centre Mall location in Prince George, BC.Find a place to breastfeed
If you’re outside of Northern BC, you’ll discover that many places have mother’s rooms, new parent spaces, or nursing rooms. These are fantastically comfortable places to breastfeed in comfort and relax. Yes, you should feel comfortable anywhere, but I’ll tell you as a mom with many bags, sometimes you just want to power down, and find a dark cool space away from people.
If a space like that doesn’t exist, try finding a space you feel comfortable in – maybe it’s a nice chair, maybe it’s a corner, maybe it’s a separate room, or maybe it’s back in your car because there’s nowhere.
Watch Babies Cues
One of the easiest things to do when out and about is to kinda forget about baby, not in a neglect way, but in a there’s so much else to do. This might mean baby is gently sleeping as they rock in the stroller or get passed around from person to person. Sometimes, baby might miss the I’m kinda hungry stage and go to becoming absolute irate.
Keep your regular schedule and be sure to offer the breast before chaos ensues. And if you’re visiting with others, set that boundary that you have to go feed baby. You are the parent, and you are in charge. You can do this.
I know that sometimes being a nursing parent means that you miss out on things that others aren’t doing --- but, something I told a friend recently is that it’s okay to slow down and miss out on things because you’re taking a moment with your baby. It’s okay to excuse yourself and find a room to feed your baby. You are allowed to take time out of the activity to care for your child, and don’t let others make you feel bad for doing so. Sometimes it’s these moments of quiet that help me as a human recharge, take a break, and get to scroll. I always loved excusing myself to feed my baby because it was twenty minutes of nobody talking to me, but I’m an introvert who burns out on humans.
Become a Pro: Nurse in a Baby Carrier
Sometimes you want to step aside and relax, but sometimes you’ll want to learn how to nurse in a baby carrier this is a fantastic way to nurse your baby if your standing in an airport line, or if you’re just looking for a new way to breastfeed on the go.
You can nurse in almost any front carry baby carrier including ring slings, wraps, stretchy wraps, and buckle carriers. There’s a little fidgeting to do, it usually involves dropping the carrier so that baby is at face level with your boobs and loosening the straps so they can have more room to move their head. Nursing in a carrier is easiest when baby has head control.
When you finish nursing, you’ll want to readjust the carrier and wrap so you’re comfortable and you can continue on your way.
This is a great way to manage two under two.