Learning to breastfeed at home is one thing. But there comes a time when you’re finally ready to take a baby out and you’ll have to learn how to do the same skill outdoors without exposing yourself.
But how do you hold your baby when breastfeeding in public without a cover? Here’s the lowdown.
- Position yourself properly on a bench or with your back to the wall.
- Sit cross legged or put your left ankle to your right knee for support.
- Reach under your shirt through the neck to get to your boobs.
- Unclip your bra (but boobs still covered by the shirt).
- Hold your baby in a cradle position (illustration below).
- Bring your baby to your boob where their head can cover the nipples.
- Pull your shirt down from the neck or pull up from the bottom.
- Get baby to latch quickly.
- Use a cover if you need to but with practice, it’s not necessary.
- When baby is done, cover your boob with the shirt.
- Unlatch baby, take head out and move up to burping position.
- Finally, reach under your shirt and clip your bra back on.
Ways to position your baby while breastfeeding in public
The most comfortable way to hold your baby in public is the one that you already use at home. The two most common ways used by moms however, are the Cradle and the Football Holds.
Here are some images to help you visualize what this looks like when breastfeeding outside.
The Cradle Hold
Most mothers position the baby in a cradle hold. It’s great for boob covering. Here are two ways you can do this:
Other Positions to hold your baby while breastfeeding in public
If you’re not comfortable with the cradle hold, try one of these two breastfeeding positions:
The Koala Hold
When baby’s old enough to sit, you might find this position easier.
The Football hold
Very similar to the cradle hold
How do you make it easy for your baby to latch in public?
I can’t say this enough. Practice at home before you breastfeed in public. If you’re uncomfortable doing it, your baby will feel it too. But if you practice at home, both you and the baby will get used to the motions.
Here’s the reality: If your baby still can’t latch properly at home, the same thing will happen in public. Don’t let this stop you though. Just be prepared for it and know what you need to do when it happens.
Now saying this, there are some babies who get easily distracted with noise and movement of the surroundings. If this is the case, you can do one (or all) of the following:
- Use a cover or muslin cloth to lessen distraction (a lot of mothers swear by this)
- Go to a quieter area
- Wear a shirt that allows you to regularly have a quick peek to make sure they’re latching properly.
What to wear
What you wear is a big consideration in making breastfeeding in public as comfortable as possible. Preferable wear a piece of clothing that you’ve tried practicing with at home.
Here are some types of clothes that make breastfeeding outddoors easier.
Two Shirt Method
The two-shirt method makes it easy to reach under your shirt without exposing yourself. You simply reach under the top shirt as you unclip your bra.
Some moms don’t like it though as it’s just too much fuff to deal with -which is probably what you’ll feel after you do this breastfeeding thing for a while.
I’ve also read that big-chested moms love the two-shirt method. Here’s a video by The Black Roxanne on exactly how to do this:
You can use any tank top and comfy top shirt. But if you’re looking for some nursing tops, you might want to have a look at these:
Clothes Made Especially for Nursing Moms
Latched Mama: Special clothes for moms.
Still self-conscious? Here are some things you can do to slowly get used to breastfeeding in public
1. Pick the area to breastfeed. Find a quiet place or an area in a restaurant where you’re not facing everyone.
2. If you’re used to using a pillow to support your baby at home while breastfeeding, you can use a diaper bag under your arms for support.
3. If it makes you more comfortable, use a cover. A cover will also allow you to look at your baby every now and then. Even a muslin cloth will do. Some moms also use an infinity scarf around the neck and use that as cover.
I have one similar to this. Finding a cover that allows you to look at your baby makes all the difference!
4. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you’re too embarrassed to do it, you may have to go to a private room or go back to your car. BUT… you really don’t need to. It’s a perfectly normal activity and dirty looks be damned, eh?
Let’s Talk about that uncomfortable feeling
For many mothers, breastfeeding in public for the first time comes with a lot of anxiety. And rightly so. It’s not something you’ve done before and the news we hear about parents being vilified in public can get to us.
Here’s what you should know:
There are more people who will be supportive of you doing this. And if you’re anxiety is through the roof, the key to getting used to it is to practice a lot at home in front of a mirror.
This is going to be a “dance” between you and your baby. So like any dance, you both need to practice it before you’ll get used to it.
Practicing at home allows you to know the motions by heart. This makes you confident at maneuvering your body without flashing anyone —although if you talk to more seasoned moms, you’ll find that a quick nip show is nothing to worry about.
Your turn: Are you breastfeeding outdoors for the first time? Are you anxious about it? Excited? Confident? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below