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Breastfeeding in public

Advice on making breastfeeding in public more comfortable with information on feeding rights and facilities.
Not everyone has the confidence to breastfeed in public, but once you and your baby have got used to breastfeeding it is fairly easy to feed discreetly so that no one need know what you are doing.

In the early days you might find you need to use pillows to position your baby while he or she is feeding to be reassured that they are positioned correctly. Both of these things would make feeding without being noticed impossible.

Within a few weeks you will probably find that if you hold your baby comfortably in more or less the right place they will do the rest for themselves. By this time you will know by feel if your baby is fixed at the breast correctly.

If possible choose a feeding bra that you can open and close with one hand and wear a loose fitting top that you can lift up. If you do not feel happy to breast feed your baby in a public place do not worry. Many public buildings now provide breastfeeding facilities. Do not be embarrassed to ask. Once you know where they are you can plan where to feed your baby before you go out.

Another option is to give a bottle of expressed milk, or formula, in place of a breastfeed. Whenever possible it is best to give your baby just breast milk during the first six months. Expressed milk, or formula, would need to be kept chilled and then warmed before it is given. Most cafes and restaurants are happy to provide the facilities for you to do this while you are out.

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Hi all, I'm new to this forum thing but would love to make a comment here! I breastfed my little boy, now 3, and intend to do the same again with my expected little one. I had a lovely experience breastfeeding and would recommend that all mums give it a try. Having read the comments below i understand that there are many people who do have derogatory comments to make whilst feeding in public though i never had anything bad aimed at me, in fact i had some lovely compliments! I was very shy about public feeding to begin with though from about 2 months i found it much easier and would do it anywhere necessary, even walking around shopping centres and feeding with the aid of a fabulous sling (will use again!). My 3 year old is very rarely ill and never for long and i cannot fail to compare his health to that of my sisters two children who she chose to feed formula and who always have snivells and are often poorly. I think breastfeeding really does give children the best start and that more facilities should be provided by whoever so that mum's and babies can feed in comfort. I think breastfeeding should also be promoted by the medical profession in a less forceful way, if possible, as I hear so many mum's to be shy away from the pressure or think that breastfeeding is too much hard work. Yes you can't ask your partner to get up and do it in the middle of the night but to be honest I found it really rewarding (strange as i may sound) feeding even every 2 hours though the night to begin with. Anyway, i'll shut up now! Anyone else agree with me?!?!
by Happymummy123 15th Oct 2010, 3:53pm
It is very sad that in this day and age a lot of people's views are still in the ice age.

Get with the times. Yes breastfeeding is hard at first but isn't all aspects of learning about looking after your baby for the first time. I am so damn proud of myself for perservering with it has at the beginning I suffered so much with milk not coming through, cracked nipples AND mastitis...nightmare aswell as hormones all over the place but I did it and I still do, he is soon to be 9 months old. I have no qualms whatsoever about feeding ANYWHERE...yes we want to give our babies the best start and whatever that may take we will do. Simple as.....I also find wearing several tops helps....lift one up, pull the other down....simple....(she says lol) good luck xxx
by akangeez 4th Oct 2010, 11:10am
I have publicly breastfed lots of times!! I wont deny my daughter her food and i wouldn't like to be fed in a toilet so why should she?? plus it isn't very hygienic!! If people really have a problem with it, they do not have to look!! and the majority of the time people cant even tell what your doing untill they look closer!
by jellybeam 18th Aug 2010, 9:26am
I have not been confident enough really to feed in public except for in a couple of local coffee shops. I am always in the uncomfortable position of feeding her in the disabled toilets :o( not the ideal situation frankly. But I am left wondering what exactly the view of the UK govt is when so few places actually provide facilities for mums to breastfeed yet they encourage you to do it?
by liljenniwren 14th May 2010, 4:55pm
I was so nervous about breastfeeding in public, a lot to do with other peoples attitudes and feeling like I was being stared at. I was so jealous of people who were completely confident. Then I got a Mamascarf and it felt like freedom as I fed anywhere and everywhere! Its just like a breastfeeding cover but the design gives you extra support when you dont have a cuhsion or feeding pillow. It was fantastic and I never left home without it. Its completely discreet but you can still see your baby and make eye contact with them. Very reasonable price too and you save money not having to buy expensive feeding tops:) Its horrible that people are so strongly anti breastfeeding that they feel they have to make a comment. Even if its not something they are used to seeing, I cant understand it at all.
by tiredbuthappy 27th Jan 2010, 9:27am
I breast fed both my children. kayleigh my first who is 3 was very dificult to fed. jessica my second well lets just say she helps herself she is 9 months now. I feed my children wherever and whenever i want to and i feel very proud to breast feed including a lovley corner sofa at ikea. i have never been aproached by anybody with disapproval to which i feel lucky.i think all women should feel confident and comftable to feed in public. i remenber sitting in a hospital cafe inbetween appointments there wasn't many seats and i had to sit on the sofa next to an elderly gentelman. jessy wanted feeding so i did ask the gentelman next to me i he minded (i didn't want him to feel uncomftable) he was fine. he said to me how lovley it as to she a young lady keeping up the tradition and we chatted for a while. i think that if your confident nobody ill aproach you are take any notice. i have to say that i hardly ever see over women feeding and i think that its a shame.
by tabbycat2185 12th Oct 2009, 10:04am
My first born was bottle fed and was constantly getting ill, so with my 2nd i wanted to breastfeed him give him the healthiest start possible. My reasons for not feeding my 1st was much of i felt like all the health professionals were forcing it upon me and it put me right off. Well my lil man is now 6 weeks old and putting weight on great. You have to get use to beastfeeding and soon become a dab hand at it, i have no quarms abouts feeding my boy in public or wherever i am, im as discreet as can be n have only had one silly coment. I dont think men r bothered as much as the women, i just find that older men dont know where to put themselves and then they try to have a joke to break the ice but their sense of humour is dated and it all comes out wrong. So dont take their comments to heart ladies. As for other women i just think theres a bit of jealousy going on, maybe because they haven't the confidence to do that for their baby or msybe they dont like the way men look at us when we do it. Because most men like to see it, not in a sexual way but in a natural way.
by trickers 26th Aug 2009, 11:11am
I believe breastfeeding is totally natural and I am looking to breastfeed my baby when he/she is born, however I would have to say that I come from a long line of bottle feeders and so I am breaking the mould. When reading the post at the bottom of this thread I must say that I was sickened. How dare anybody stoop as low as those that criticise breastfeeding by labelling bottle feeders as 'bad parents'. I am now left worried that I may (like my mother and grandmother) have problems breastfeeding and so will need to bottle feed and I think that criticising bottle feeders makes you just as bad as those that cause the issues for breast feeders. It is a shame that we live in a society that is prudish, but I must confess that when I saw a woman sat in church with everything on display as she breastfed her child I thought that was inappropriate. I didn't say anything though and that is the important thing. It is not for anybody else to comment on what is right and wrong, and that includes degrading those that cannot breastfeed or find that they would rather bottlefeed.
by AmyAndMark 6th Apr 2009, 9:21am
I too have experienced bad experiences when breastfeeding, before this i had got use to feeding her in public and felt quite comfortable with it however i now get quite flustered and stressed out. I think it is discusting that we're made to feel this way because as somebody said its the most natural thing to do, what our breasts are for and why should we be treated like this when we're trying our hardest to do the best for our babies despite the awful experiences ! I've had people staring, people commenting, moving away from me, giving me dirty looks, the whole lot and i think its discusting ... i always have my say though as why shouldn't we be accepted when all we're doing is feeding our babies ... I love it and i'm giving my daughter the best start, i'm not gonna feel guilty for that!
by XxSunshineMummyXx 25th Mar 2009, 9:15am
I have had issues with breastfeeding in public twice, once was at the childrens hospital where an 'older' cleaning lady commented to her friend (within earshot) how disgusting it was, and the second time was in a coffee shop. Two women who were sat at the next table voiced their opinions on my feeding, between themselves but loud enough for me to hear. I didn't say anything to them as I was too embarassed and upset, but another lady heard them and told them to mind their own business, not to look if it bothers them etc etc. I could maybe understand if I had everything on display but I was wearing a discreet feeding top so you couldn't actually see anything! Why is it always other women who make such a big deal out of breastfeeding? And do they realise how hurtful their comments are when all you are doing is trying to give your baby the best start in life?
by babykirk1 21st Jan 2009, 5:27pm
It's a shame that this is even a topic - breastfeeding is the natural way to feed babies, it's what breasts are for, so why on earth should there be any embarassment about it? Australia has anti - discrimination laws that make it illegal for anyone to tell you not to breastfeed anywhere, or to make you feel uncomfortable about it. I feed my baby in public, anywhere a bottle feeding mother would, and the more women who do this the more it will be normalised. The health and bonding advantages of breastfeeding for both mum and bub are so huge that it should be encouraged and supported. I LOVE breastfeeding my liittle girl, and wouldn't give it up for anything!! It actually is easier and more convenient too, and as the other comments say, makes you interact with your baby more. Breastfeeders unite!!!
by tineszoo 5th Jan 2009, 9:20am
This is an interesting topic for me, as I am a prude and thought I would never be able to breastfeed in public, but my bond with my child is so strong that I don't care, and most people dont batter a eyelid. Though I have to say I did invest in some nursing clothes from which made it easier for me to feed discreetly. I do express one bottle a day, but thats really for the bulk feed before bedtime, other than that breastfeeding is easy - as its no mess and I love watching my baby drink - she sooooo cute!! I think I may go and wake her up and give her a big kiss!!
by Sona1977 26th Aug 2008, 9:58am
i am eight weeks in my pregnancy. i intend to breastfeed. i have three healthy daughters that were breastfed. there's nothing in this world stronger than the bond between a breastfed child and there mother. my sister told me i was nasty. i told her thats what god gave them to us for not decoration. so when my sister had her little girl she bottle fed her that child stayed sick the biggest part of her first year of life. the bond there's not one.her child will not listen to her in part to her just propping her up with a bottle and not much parenting on her parents part.she's 9 years old she tells her mom what to do and hits her mom. i have no disrespect from my children and i think it's because of the good bond we have. were open and honest with each other. one of my biggest rules was no secrets because secrets hurt. now i have the love and respect of my girls and my sister has an evil spawn that she herself created by letting her have her way. my kids all girls run in the ages of 12,8,and5.
by cherokee 17th Jan 2008, 9:14am