Tips for Breastfeeding In Public

April 10, 2012

Breastfeeding is one of the most natural connections between you and your baby, so it’s no wonder many moms choose to breastfeed in public. However, breastfeeding moms sometimes experience criticism for making that decision. It’s important to stay confident and know your rights about breastfeeding in public.

Laws About Breastfeeding In Public

49 states (as well as the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands) have specific laws supporting breastfeeding in public, some of which offer additional protection. Feel free to review the laws for your specific state, as it may bring added comfort in knowing the government supports your baby’s needs.

Responding to Breastfeeding Criticism

Unfortunately, public breastfeeding criticism does still exist in our culture, but don’t let that stop you. Here are some ways to respond if someone criticizes you or simply has a question about what you’re doing:

  • Explain the benefits of breastfeeding and your commitment to providing the best nutrition for your little one (pssst – we have a long list of breastfeeding benefits).
  • If someone is being rude or disrespectful to your baby’s needs, it’s okay to entirely ignore them. You know you’re doing what’s best for your baby, so don’t feel obligated to explain yourself.
  • Calmly discuss differences in opinion, without accepting their criticism. Disagreements happen, so don’t be afraid to defend your values.
  • Explain the demands of breastfeeding and how often you need to breastfeed in order to provide for your little one.
  • Tell them that every family is different and this is what works best for your family.

Tips for Breastfeeding In Public

Some moms have questions about how to discreetly breastfeed in a public place. Here are some suggestions to try:

  • Experiment with different loose-fitting shirts that allow for easy access to your breast.
  • Try a breastfeeding blanket if it makes you more comfortable. Many wrap around your shoulders and cover your breasts while feeding.
  • Keep your baby close with a baby sling. Many slings keep your baby in a natural breastfeeding position making it extremely easy to start breastfeeding on-the-go.
  • Practice how you would breastfeed in public in the comfort of your home. Once you feel familiar, you can begin breastfeeding in other places outside of the home.

16 thoughts on “Tips for Breastfeeding In Public

  1. Thanks for this article. I’m pregnant with baby #2 and have decided that I refuse to go to another room in my home to feed my baby or to go to a public restroom to feed. My next step is just reading what I can and talking about it now so that when the time comes I’ll feel less awkward about it – is there such a thing as pre-empowerment? 🙂

    The nursing blanket cover-ups didn’t work for me last time, but I continued to nurse by making every effort to remove myself from public or timing errands between feedings. It worked for us, but it was a hassle and I dont’ want to do that again.

    Thanks to all for their comments.

    • We’re glad you found our tips helpful. Congratulations on baby number two and let us know if you ever have questions.

    • I breastfed my first for a year and after having everyone see me nurse in the hospital I kind of just got used to the idea of having certain people around while I nursed. I did use the covers or blankets when I went out in public or if I had visitors over, but I never really removed myself unless it was to my benefit. Just be confident and remember that it is something natural. Animals do it to feed their babies and that how we were intended to feed our babies–so there is nothing to be ashamed of. I hope this gives you some pre-empowerment!

  2. I have 2 kids… I have always planned on nursing. I got the cover ups from the start, and baby # 1 was very comfortable with me using it… He got use to it and even knew when I pulled it out that it was feeding time. I have always breastfed in public, at home and anywhere I needed to. I did get some slack at first, but it never bothered me because I knew that it was the right thing for my baby. Those people were just ignorant. I continued to do so, and as time went by no one really cared or even noticed. They actually started making sure I was comfortable and even took baby to burp afterwards. I think if you just stick with it, which can be difficult, you will eventually find success! Baby #1 nurses until he was about 2 yrs and 4 months and baby#2 is now 8 months and we still nurse. I even go to daycare on my lunch time to nurse her! Luckily I have a lot of support & when I didn’t I stuck to my guns!!! No one, but a dr, can tell you what’s best for your child, you must trust yourself & feel confident that you are doing the best! Hang in there and you will both be fine.

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