Tips on Breastfeeding in Public
These days, more and more women in the United States and in other developed countries are choosing to breastfeed their babies. This is a positive development that has many health benefits for both the mother and the child. However, many women avoid nursing their babies when they are outside of their homes because they do not know how to breastfeed in public.
In many states and even some countries, women’s right to breastfeed is protected. If you live in one of these areas, you can breastfeed in public no matter where you are, and without fear of being penalized or told to cover yourself. However, the sad reality is that many states in the United States as well as some countries have laws that restrict showing the bare breast, even for the purposes of breastfeeding. To avoid problems, it is important to know your local laws or the laws of the area you are visiting before your breastfeed uncovered.
Covering the Breast
In areas where overt public breastfeeding is not encouraged, women have developed a number of strategies and techniques for how to breastfeed in public. One common strategy is to cover your breast and your infant with a wrap or a shawl. Of course, others around you will realize what you are doing, but because you are not exposing your breast, no one is likely to say anything and you are probably within your rights.
Choose a large, breathable wrap or shawl that will not slip off your shoulder. Wrap one end around your shoulder, covering your breast, and then get your baby into position to nurse. Then, tuck the blanket around him or her to prevent the baby from pulling the wrap off.
Finding a Private Area
Some women do not feel comfortable breastfeeding where others can view them, even when the breast is covered. Fortunately, they have also developed methods for how to breastfeed in public that work for them.
One strategy is to choose restaurants and stores that offer private areas for nursing. More and more businesses and even government buildings are becoming sensitive to women’s needs and are providing these areas. Look for a separate room for nursing, or if you do not see one, ask an employee if there is a more private area where you might nurse your infant.
Some women solve the issue of how to breastfeed in public by taking their infant to the restroom. Most health officials do not recommend this method unless it is an emergency because restrooms are notoriously full of germs that could harm your baby. However, if you must breastfeed in a restroom, avoid going into a bathroom stall. Instead, sit on a bench or even stand in an out-of-the-way area to avoid contact with the worst of the germs.