Breastfeeding out and about in Kent and Medway is a completely normal and an everyday part of life for many families. You might be surprised how many people don’t even notice you feeding your baby.
Can you recommend a venue you’ve found particularly friendly to babies, maybe with room for highchairs, prams or with a great little people menu? Please let us know and we can share with other families in Kent and Medway on our social media pages.
You can always be sure your local children’s centre, children and family hub, health centre and library are #BesideYou.
#BesideYou does understand that breastfeeding out and about can be a bit daunting, we have some tips below to help you feel prepared.
The great thing about breastfeeding is that everything you need to feed your baby is always with you, readily available and at the right temperature, wherever you are. It’s not unusual to feel a bit nervous, particularly if you’ve never done it before. Whether you’re worried about other people’s reactions or really don’t care what they think, these tips will help you be prepared.
Tips for breastfeeding in public
1. Practice makes perfect
Try practising at home in front of a mirror so you can see what you look like while feeding. You’ll probably notice you’re not exposing as much of your breast as you might have imagined, as your baby’s head is covering it.
Visit a breastfeeding drop-in or a cafe with a friend to get used to feeding out and about.
2. Dress for the occasion
You can layer up two of your normal tops. “What worked for me was wearing a stretchy camisole, which I could pull down on one side, under a looser top that I pulled up. The looser top covered the top of my chest and the camisole concealed my belly. It meant I didn’t show my wobbly post-birth tummy or get chilly when feeding out and about.” Susannah, mum of two.
Wear tops and dresses with buttons or a zip at the front, dungaree-style straps or side-openings. You can also try wrap-around styles, or shawl necklines that you can pull down.
Get in touch with other stylish breastfeeding mammas online at Can I Breastfeed in it?
3. Do your research
Before venturing out with your newborn, make a list of good places to breastfeed in public near you, so you don’t have a last-minute scramble to find somewhere. Some shopping centres and department stores often have baby-feeding rooms, which are quiet and private with a comfy chair and changing facilities. Your local library or children’s centre will have a comfy chair and place to sit down.
4. Consider a breastfeeding cover
Some mums like to use a nursing cover for privacy when feeding their babies in public, and there are lots of styles to try. From simple shawls and ponchos to specially designed wraps or aprons with a semicircle of wire in the top so you can still see your baby while she feeds, there should be something to suit you both. There’s also the option of feeding your baby while she’s in a sling or carrier, which will support her, as well as giving you privacy.
Ultimately, however, you may find your little one makes the decision for you. Some babies hate being covered while feeding, while others get distracted if they aren’t.
5. Know your breastfeeding rights
You are legally entitled to breastfeed your baby anywhere, thank you Equality Act 2010. You cannot be asked to stop or move if you are breastfeeding your child in any public place including cafes, buses, gyms etc.
More information is available at maternityaction.org.uk.
“My advice is try not to worry. I was apprehensive but regularly breastfed in public –and never had any negativity, comments or looks. Obviously not everyone will be so lucky, but I breastfed for a year so there were lots of opportunities for people to be horrible, but nobody was. Not in the slightest. So your fears might turn out to be totally unfounded.”
Tiffany, mum of one.
Hollie McNish on the battle of breastfeeding
British poet and spoken word artist, Hollie McNish vocalises the daily battle mothers face when nursing in public. Teaming up with filmmaker Jake Dypka they touch on the over exposure of breasts in the media versus the outraged reaction women face if they openly breastfeed. Why is titillation accepted and sustenance rejected?