First published on www.facebook.com/breastfeedingtogether on 29/1/2019 as part of the Topic Tuesday series.
After spending much of our early years perfecting the way to display our breasts to their best advantage during a Friday night out, suddenly breastfeeding creates a new relationship with our boobs as for some reason ‘Friday night boobs’ and lactating boobs are viewed differently by society. We’re happy to see breasts showcased in a magazine, but not when they are doing what is actually their primary function.
And that’s where the nerves surrounding feeding in public can start. Mums are often left feeling that the public are going to be unsupportive and judgemental, that feeding in public has to be discreet to be acceptable (Which it absolutely can be and should be if that’s how the mum wants to feed) or that it can only be done in certain designated places.
No don’t get me wrong, for many women, feeding in public is a non-issue, and that’s fantastic. The more these women feed and the more breastfeeding is seen and normalised the easier it becomes for the next woman.
But for many women the thought of getting their breasts out in public amongst the potential stares and glares can be very nerve-wracking and potentially remove one if the great benefits breastfeeding- that it is ‘on tap’ and you can literally provide your baby with food, drink and comfort, anywhere and at any time.
So how can we build our confidence for that first public feed? Or continue to feed confidently in public?
Here’s BfTs top tips!
Pay close attention to your baby’s feeding cues and find somewhere to feed before they start to cry.
Find a nice quiet area and perhaps sit with your back to the busier areas.
Go with a supportive friend or family member, some one who can get the drinks and talk to.
Take small steps to build your confidence. plan a short trip, somewhere you know locally, where you know places that you can stop and feed.
If you are on your own, take a book, magazine or your phone (to go on Facebook and join our closed FB group Breastfeeding Together Connect and Share!!) so there is something to focus on.
Go to a group- it’s again about finding your village. You can watch other mums feed (in a non weird way!!) and get some great tips, and if you need to get your breast out more than you would like to, it’s a nice safe space in which to do that.
If people look at you, remember they are not necessarily being critical, give them a smile!!
Like anything, the more you do it, the easier it will become, the majority of people will not even notice you are breastfeeding and remember, the worst that can happen is someone you don’t know may get a glimpse of your nipple for 3 seconds.
But you make things better for others. You empower other women to breastfeed their babies in public. You help to normalise breastfeeding for the next generation.
Breastfeeding mothers- changing the world one feed at a time.