Tips for Learning How To Nurse in Public

I was once a young 20-year-old mom terrified to nurse in public. It really hindered how much I enjoyed breastfeeding. It also hindered my milk supply if I was gone for hours at a time and didn’t do anything as far as nursing or pumping. I would just my baby a formula bottle instead. As I became a more experienced mother, I gained some skills that have been helpful for nursing in public.

Do your research. Know your rights. 
In most states, it is illegal to tell a woman to cover up or ask her to leave because she’s nursing. You can easily Google your state’s breastfeeding laws. For example, I live in Iowa, so I would search “Iowa breastfeeding laws”.

Be comfortable.

It’s a little unnerving the first few times you nurse in public. I was very afraid of accidentally flashing some one. Some nursing moms don’t mind pulling out their breast, but I like to cover a bit using the “two-shirt method”. I wear a regular cheap spaghetti strap tee under my regular shirt. I pull one shirt up and one down. It exposes just enough for the baby to latch on, but I don’t have to mess with a nursing cover that way.
If you need to use a nursing cover because that’s more comfortable for you, there’s no shame in it. I am more thrilled to see a mom nurse, than worry about her method. There are actually many cute nursing covers available these days. Some even double as a scarf.

Don’t retreat to a bathroom.

In most cases, you have the right to nurse your baby wherever you and your baby are. This doesn’t mean you need to go hide in a bathroom stall. If you’re in a restaurant, you could find a private corner. Many stores and shopping malls even offer lactation rooms for moms. In my area, some Hy-Vees have build places like this. But if you do need to nurse your baby out in the open, there’s no shame in it. Your baby needs to eat.

Nurse on demand. Pay attention to hunger cues.

Pay attention to your baby’s hunger cues so you don’t wait too long for a feeding. If you’re still getting comfortable with your baby latching in public, it may get a little frustrating. You can learn more about your baby’s hunger cues. This was probably the most helpful thing I educated myself about!
Be seen and normalize breastfeeding!
It’s no secret that we live in a sexualized society. Breasts are seen as property rather than meant to be an infant’s food source. It’s beyond time for that old fashioned mindset to change. Not to mention, long gone are the days of moms being locked away to care for their infants. Go out into the world and enjoy life with your baby. There’s no reason to be ashamed of breastfeeding. The more it is seen, the more normalized it will become

I hope these tips help you become more comfortable nursing your baby in public. What are some things that helped you learn to nurse your baby in public? 

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Hi! I’m Farrah, the blogger behind New and Natural Mom. I’m a follower of Christ, wife, homeschool mom of five, and am passionate about natural living! You can find things related to natural living, parenting, homeschooling, and other general lifestyle topics. Be sure to follow along on social media!

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  1. August 2, 2014 / 4:16 pm

    I love that you put in that first tip. It's always important to know your rights, as a parent and for your kids!

  2. August 2, 2014 / 11:34 pm

    Totally agree! I was nervous breastfeeding in public with my first. But my second was born in Uruguay where no one covers up, so that really normalized it for me when we came back to the States!

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