How to Overcome Your Feeding Fears!
Breastfeeding is often considered the easiest way to feed your baby. It is so convenient – you don’t have to worry that the milk is contaminated; the right temperature, you don’t have to spend a fortune on formula; and you don’t have to spend your time sterilizing bottles and boiling water for feeds. However, many mothers are a little weary about breastfeeding outside the home which makes it difficult to go about their everyday errands. Most babies will feed every 2 to 4 hours but sometimes a baby will decide she is hungry right now, right when you are in the middle of the shopping or stuck in traffic. Putting aside your public feeding concerns can make outings much less stressful for both you and bub. After all, even if you do feed baby before you go, there is no guarantee that she will remain settled until you get back home.
So what can you do if you have a fear of breastfeeding in public?
Bring a Wrap
You can purchase breastfeeding covers that are especially designed for feeding in public. They will hide your breast and bubby away from the prying eyes. However, if you don’t want to spend the cash, you can also use a lightweight wrap such as a muslin wrap which can conceal your baby and breast.
Scout Out Your Surroundings
Most shopping centres now have parent’s rooms where you can breastfeed away from the crowds. Parent’s rooms will have a change table, washroom, play area for older kids and a few rooms with chairs so you can breastfeed without anyone in your way. When you are doing the shopping, familiarize yourself with these areas. If you are at a park or other venue where there are no parent’s rooms, look for a bench in the shade or under a tree where you may be more covered. Most baby shops too have a handy area and a comfy chair you can use free of charge.
Ask a Working Woman
If you can’t find somewhere suitable (and no – a toilet is no place to feed a baby) – ask a woman at an establishment if she knows of a good place. After all, us women have to help each other – and I’m sure other Mums would be only too happy to find you somewhere comfortable and quiet.
Wear Your Baby
Baby wearing is one of the best ways to keep bubby close and comfortable when you are on the move. It can also provide you with an easy way to breastfeed bub when you are doing the shopping, on a walk or anywhere else. It may take some time to master the art of breastfeeding your baby while she is in a sling but once you have it, this can make your outings so much easier.
Prepare for a Feed
Always have the necessary feeding equipment in your baby bag when you go out which will probably include a burping cloth, a bottle of water (for you) and a wrap to conceal your breasts.
Avoid the Stares
Breastfeeding is natural and completely legal. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise then they are wrong and you can put in a formal complaint. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t get a few stares along the way. Some people don’t even realise that they are staring and others, such as small children, don’t know any better. When feeding in public, keep your attention on your bubby rather than on the people passing by.
When baby is hungry, she is hungry and often you will not be able to get her settled until she is fed. While breastfeeding in public may be a fear for you, consider the alternative – having a screaming infant in your arms and in the car until you return back home. If you are not quite ready to whip down your top whenever baby is hungry, you don’t have to stay at home until baby is on a proper feeding schedule. The above tips can help make breastfeeding in public feel natural and comfortable for you and for baby.
Just remember, the more practise you have, the easier it will be!