Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Breastfeeding in Public

I think one of the big problems standing in the way of breastfeeding, is fear. The thought of breastfeeding in public is so terrifying, that some women simply can’t imagine trying it. They might breastfeed in hospital and find it ok, but as soon as they’re back home and going about their daily life, they want to keep their baps covered and so give up.

I understand this, I’m not one of those confident, unapologetic, breastfeeders who whips both breasts out in the middle of a cafe. Although, I do feel very impressed by those women. I’m more of a please-please-don’t-let-anyone-see-anything breastfeeder. And I found it especially terrifying in the early days.

I was worried that people would be able to see everything, or that (as once happened, on a particularly impressive early breastfeeding experience) Ebony would pull off and I would squirt milk in five directions simultaneously, probably into the coffees of unsuspecting elderly strangers.

I soon found though, that many people couldn’t even tell I was breastfeeding. On a few occasions, people would come right over to see the baby without realising she was being fed. Yeah, that’s a bit awkward when that happens. But, it left me feeling reassured that I was quite discrete. 

As time went on, I felt more confident about feeding in public. I often carried a thin scarf because it was spring, and so if I felt I was in public view, I would use the scarf to cover myself while Ebony latched on. I tried to sit in corners and quiet spots in cafes and restaurants, so that I wouldn’t feel so exposed. I would wear vest tops underneath my clothes so that I could pull the vest top down, and the other top up and feed without having my entire breast/post-pregnancy tummy of horrors on display.

I would love to be on of the women who doesn’t care whether people see. I agree wholeheartedly that people should get used to seeing breastfeeding, and that if it was a more common occurrence then it would become normalised and more women would be encouraged to try it. I also believe that breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed a baby, and that anyone who objects to seeing a breastfeeding mother is a complete and utter twat. But, I can’t help but feel self-conscious. And so I’m glad I used all of the above techniques to allow myself to feel comfortable breastfeeding.

Apart from one negative experience, I have found the reaction to breastfeeding in public to be really positive. From people not noticing, to other mothers coming over to congratulate me for breastfeeding for so long - I’ve always felt really supported and proud to breastfeed. Whenever I see breastfeeding mums now, I try to give them the nod so that they’ll feel supported too.

But is the nod an actual thing, or am I just going round creeping out breastfeeding women?

To find out more about the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt, click here.

There are loads of bloggers taking part in this event, so please check out some of the posts. Mama Geek, Me, The Man and The Baby, life, love and living with boys, Pobbing Along and Mixed Bag of All Sorts are all taking part in the event, so feel free to pay them a visit!

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  1. I NIP up until my twins were 4 mths old. I always fed them individually and was happy doing so as they were so young.
    Up until 8 weeks ago I hadn't NIP since that time. Now they are 28mths old and I have begun NIP again. So far we have nursed on a steam train, a zoo safari truck and a buttercup field. I find it liberating although a little scary!

  2. I think I was discrete as at a bbq a friends hubby stroked my sons head revealing my boob. Poor man was more embarassed than me luckily as it made me feel better :)

  3. Just today i sat on the steps of nottigham council house overlooking the square feeding my 5 week old. i felt strong and proud! I have had a couple of "nods" so far so yes, it is a people who drive the same cars beeb at each other! same kind of comradery!

  4. I for one have always appreciated the nod :)

    Thanks for sharing your experience, I always find it really interesting to read about other people's points of view about these things!

  5. I definitely appreciate the nod, and try and doff my hat whenever i see anyone feeding out and about. I did once feed my daughter on a moving miniature stream train, you know the ones you have to sit astride? it was quite a hair raising experience!

  6. Our very first BF in public was in the apple store. it was highly embarrassing but we will always look back and laugh on that moment!

  7. I don't get both out at once in public. That has little to do with my/others' reactions though, and everything to do with the fact that I'm unsure of the legal grounds. I.e. whether or not both at once is considered necessary for feeding (Thamar certainly prefers it so she can twiddle one while feeding from the other, whether for comfort or increased letdowns), and therefore if anyone complains whether I would be in the right or not. I certainly don't hide away though!

  8. I always like a nod and a smile and try to do the same if I see another feeding mother. I do like the positive comments I've had, but I can never come up with the right words and feel self concious approaching a stranger. Daft really given these days I'll feed anywhere regardless of who might see.

  9. I always get so excited when I see people breastfeeding in public, but am never sure whether to smile or say something, they probably think I'm a weirdo.

    re funny stories while breastfeeding I'm not sure I have any, but M has recently realised she can squirt milk while squeezing my nipple so there might be some ahead...

  10. I fed my DD in the waiting area of a garage a few days ago whilst waiting for my car to be fixed, 3 mechanics were standing right in front of me behind the counter. i don't think any of them noticed :)

  11. I accidentally flashed the postie the other day, I had just finished feeding my son when the doorbell went, I fogot to do a boob check!

  12. I always want to encourage other mums when I'm out and see them breastfeeding, but I panic and chicken out.



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