Where Is Breastfeeding in Public Allowed?
Pretty much everywhere! No one can ask you to stop breastfeeding in shared places such as:
- Public transport
- Leisure facilities
- Petrol stations
That’s just naming a few of the communal areas you can breastfeed. Of course, it’s understandable not very new mother will feel comfortable feeding their infant in a shared area.
To help you out with discreet breastfeeding in public, we’ve put together our ten tips so both mum and baby can feel happy and safe when they’re out on the move.
10 Tips for Breastfeeding in Public
1) Practice at home
Feeding baby in public is nerve-wracking for everyone, especially for first-time mums. But you can practice positioning and latching a few times at home before taking a long trip outdoors.
Imagine the difference between sitting on your cosy sofa and trying to get comfy on a park bench. Lots of new mums find it challenging to position themselves in a new place. Practice in front of a mirror, or try moving to new rooms in the home to get an idea of what feeding baby in public might be like.
2) Go out with friends or family
Take some moral support along with you when breastfeeding in public to help you relax and get comfortable. A reassuring close friend or relative can distract you if you’re feeling nervous.
If you know any other mums who have breastfed before, you could ask them to help with discreet breastfeeding.
Friends and family are also useful for feeding baby in public – use them as an extra set of hands if arranging yourself gets too fiddly!
3) Pack your baby changing bag
Nappy bags are one of the top new-mum essentials. With lots of space and plenty of extra pockets, it’s easy to store everything you need when feeding baby in public.
In addition to holding the newborn necessities, the best baby changing bags should be able to carry whatever you want for public nursing, like your breastfeeding cover up or muslin squares. Pack your diaper bag before you head out to make outings a bit easier!
4) Invest in breastfeeding tops
Wearing the right clothing will be a big help when breastfeeding in public.
Breastfeeding tops are soft, loose and easy to lift up for discreet nursing. Some designs have a layered top half, so you can nourish your infant without exposing too much tummy.
You don’t need to feel drab when feeding either. There are lots of stylish breastfeeding tops out there, so you can look chic and nurse your little one at any occasion!
5) Bring a breastfeeding cover up
If breastfeeding tops don’t conceal your body as much as you need, you can always bring a breastfeeding cover up when you’re out and about with your little one.
A breastfeeding cover helps to conceal any bare skin (like your tummy) which might be exposed once you start nursing.
Popular cover ups for discreet breastfeeding include blankets, shawls or oversized scarves. Wrap one lightly around you and baby to give yourself more time to relax without showing off more skin than you’d like.
6) Start out small
Don’t try to walk before you can crawl! If you haven’t been outside much with your new baby, avoid hectic areas like shopping centres. Your infant might hate crowds and will be too distressed to eat.
Also, you might find many strangers in busy places wanting to fuss over your beloved new arrival. This might seem cute, but their in-your-face cooing is a one-way ticket to germ central.
The first time you try breastfeeding in public, try somewhere quiet like the library.
7) Look at your baby
If you’re feeling anxious about breastfeeding in public, keep your eyes on what’s most important – your lovely new baby!
Nursing in front of others can unfortunately attract unwanted attention. Even if you do receive the occasional stare, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed, although we understand if you do.
Instead look at your peaceful, happy infant and know you’re providing them with natural nourishment.
If you do catch anyone else looking, just give them a smile. Know you’re doing one of the best things for your baby and be content with that.
8) Avoid public toilets
Would you eat in the loo? No! Shared toilets are not the place for breastfeeding in public.
Even if you think the bathroom looks clean, you can’t be sure how hygienic they really are. Keep your little one safe from germs – there are plenty safe and sanitary spaces to feed baby in public.
9) Know the law
The Equality Act 2010 says no woman breastfeeding in public can be discriminated against or treated badly.
Anyone who provides a public service cannot refuse their facilities if you are breastfeeding.
For example, it’s illegal for a bus driver to ask you to leave if you start feeding. Or a restaurant cannot say no to serving you because you’re breastfeeding.
If you face any kind of discrimination, contact your local Citizens’ Advice for help.
10) Look after yourself
Breastfeeding can be exhausting for any new mum, and that’s without the thought of doing it in front of strangers. There’s no doubt you’re spending a lot of time taking care of your bundle of joy, but remember to take care of yourself too.