I have to say that I’d pretty damn proud of myself to have been able to breastfeed Cay past five months now.
I want to do it until she is a year old and then wean her off. This is a new business for me as it’s the longest I’ve ever been able to do it.
The situations with the boys were different to the present one; I’m a stay at home mama so I didn’t need to worry about having to stop due to going back to worked except that that’s not the reason I couldn’t breastfeed the boys for a longer time.
With Monster, I wasn’t as clued up about breastfeeding and ended up not having enough milk to continue feeding him and after two months, I switched him to formula feeding. When Gremlin was born, he was such a fussy feeder,and feeding almost every hour, and I suspected that I didn’t have enough milk again so after two weeks of struggling, hardly sleeping and crying every day (I was also working from home during my maternity leave), I switched him to formula feeding.
So with the boys, I never had to worry about breastfeeding in public, as I mostly did it at home or in the car as there were few cases of me leaving home with Monster in particular. With our current lifestyle, we have to leave home for hours on end on some days to run errands, go to Monster’s speech therapy appointments and go to church. It meant that I couldn’t just breastfeed Cay in the car and be set for a short while before heading home for the next feed.
I had to face the fact that I would need to do feeds in public, surrounded by complete strangers. Which wasn’t an appealing idea because I thought of the incovinience for others needing to see it and possibly turn their noses up. We’ve all heard of the wars around breastfeeding in public, where women have been shunned about feeding their babies in public, and I really didn’t want to come under that fire.
In the earlier weeks of my public breastfeeding adventures, I tried to make sure Cay was fed before leaving home or feeding her in the car before heading out. It hasn’t always been a possibility. While sitting at the tea garden where Monster has his speech therapy, I had a mama ask me to go use the bathroom to feed my baby. I refused to and ended up moving to the furthest table to avoid her, and everyone else.
Five months later, I don’t even move anymore. I’ve heard more comments and I keep getting the looks, and I honestly don’t care anymore because I’m not doing anything wrong! I don’t know if some people are just embarrassed by some mamas flashing a little more than necessary or because they are disgusted by the whole act, I can’t say, but I can tell you that if you change your mindset like I did, and follow a few tips for public breastfeeding, you’ll be happier doing it with new-found confidence!
Breastfeeding is natural and beautiful, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed to feed your baby in public just because someone else disproves of it!
If you’re a breastfeeding mama, or planning to breastfeeding your baby, these tips are for you to help make your breastfeeding experience in public comfortable!
Whenever I head out, I make sure to pack in a receiver blanket in my nappy bag which I can use to cover up when I need to latch Cay. She tried to pull it off from time to time while feeding and if she does it often, I remove the blanket but keep it at hand in case she latches off and I need to cover up quickly. I’ve thought of using a nursing cover but the thought of having to put it over her when it’s hot outside with her inside isn’t appealing so I never purchased one. However, it’s a good item to have if your baby gets distracted easily when feeding and unlatches a lot.
Pick a spot
Whenever I go out to a place, I always look for a spot that isn’t too crowded so I’m comfortable to do the feeds without feeling too overwhelmed. It’s not always possible and you need to work with the situation you’re in. It happens, sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not. That’s where my next tip comes in.
Know your baby’s cues
Whether you find yourself in a crowded place, knowing your baby’s cues is a big must! You don’t want to sit with a crying baby, trying to latch in public, possibly flashing the world while having all sorts of eyes staring at you, and possibly judging you. As soon as Cay shows any signs of wanting to feed, I react to them to avoid meltdowns and difficulties getting her to latch, and flashing those around me.
Turn away to latch
I always do this when I’m in public when possible. Sometimes you’re surrounded in each direction and you can’t really turn to anywhere to latch , so then I go back to my receiver blanket method to avoid exposure to others.
Comfortable shirts and bras
Wearing the right kind of clothes makes breastfeeding in public easier, but you don’t need to go all out to purchase it. I’ve found that button up shirts work well for me, because I don’t need to expose my stomach when I need to latch her, as well as crop tops which lift easily when I need to feed her (just remember your high-waist pants). Tops that you can also pull down comfortablely work great as well. Maternity bras are a little pricey for me so I invested in a couple of good sports bras which lift easily, (and can be pulled down) which makes it easy to latch as I can position Cay for feeding before lifting my bra to have her latch.
Practice at home
I know it sounds silly, but after a few practice rounds at home, it won’t feel as overwhelming in public and you’re be on auto-pilot with knowing on what to do.
Know your rights
No one can tell you that you can’t feed your baby or that you need to sit in a public bathroom to do it. DO NOT FALL VICTIM TO THIS!
Prepare for people staring and rude comments
No matter how well you cover up and avoid drawing attention to yourself, it’s going to happen. People are going to stare and there will be some that will feel the need to comment on it. Don’t let it discourage you or make you feel ashamed.
Lastly, be proud of your choice and show your confidence. Today, I don’t feel ashamed of needing to feed my baby anywhere; whether it’s at a restaurant or at a busy mall. Don’t let others discourage you or steal your confidence. Everyone learns to adjust in the beginning to feeding in public, it gets easier the more you do it!