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I was eating lunch today out with the kids. Just the kids. My almost 2 year old daughter and 2 month old son. It was actually a pleasant lunch at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant when N started getting squirmy. He seems to have an internal detector that wakes him up as soon as I get a nice tasty meal in front of me and at that instant he NEEDS TO NURSE NOW. I love babies. I also love enjoying a WARM meal without crying so I lifted up my shirt and latched him and continued to eat my lunch with chopsticks while nursing!

I felt like such a bad ass, I have to tell you. When E was a new baby I was very nervous about nursing in public. I had the nursing cover but would still try to avoid nursing in public whenever possible just because I felt I would be shunned by society. That people would give me nasty looks. They would judge me. I felt insecure and unsupported. I even had friends who gave me funny looks for very discreetly feeding E in public.

But what are you supposed to do? Pump a bottle and carry it around with you hoping you don’t have to use it while your breasts get engorged and want to explode?

No, you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to.


Nursing at the Zoo

In 45 states there are laws that allow woman to nurse in any public or private location. So unless you are in a very un-progressive state you can feed your baby wherever you have a right to be. To see a full list of state breastfeeding laws read this.

Here is a good page for Colorado specific laws.  I have to say I am pretty impressed by the very positive light the Colorado legislature puts on breast-feeding as not only a women’s rights issues, but a public health issue. Go CO!

I would like to note that I think it is important more woman nurse in public, to normalize the breast-feeding experience, and to encourage other woman who may need some help or support from other nursing mothers. There is support out there for nursing mothers! I highly encourage getting the book by La Leche League “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” which helped me as a new and clueless mom find ways to nurse my child that worked for me. I also suggest going to La Leche League groups and finding other nursing moms or moms who have nursed who can give support and advice.

Now some easy tips for nursing in public!

  • Wear layers. A nursing tank under a larger shirt gives you the option to lift your top shirt without showing off your belly which has oh so recently carried a child. Then when you un-clip the nursing tank and latch on your top shirt will be covering the top part of your breast. No peek a boob (unless you want that).

This is my favorite nursing tank. I am plus sized with large breasts and a long torso. This tank covers my stomach, covers my breasts without any spillage, and fits like a glove. You can wear it without an over shirt! I have had mine for over 2 years and they are still in great shape.

  • Use a cover. If you are a pro you can easily latch your child under the cover and nurse. I know a lot of people who love using covers.  I personally do not use covers because I think it shouts “I AM FEEDING THIS BABY NOW” a lot more than just lifting my shirt and feeding the baby. I also have to be able to see the baby latch otherwise things get frustrating for both of us. Once the baby gets a little older they will try to play peek a boo with the cover, or just throw it off to look around. This could cause issues when they throw off the cover and unlatch to smile at that stranger who is staring at you.
  • If you are nursing in public use nursing pads to prevent leaking through your bra/shirt. I love this brand. If you are using disposable breast pads, use one with a sticky back so they will stay put.
  • Nurse in a baby carrier, a sling, or a wrap! There are you tube videos and instructional on just about every carrier/wrap website on how to nurse in a sling or wrap. I wish I could figure it out! My friend can nurse her toddler in her ergo without anyone noticing. I am very jealous.
  • Be calm and relaxed and continue with what you were doing. Having a conversation with a friend? Keep on chatting. Eating lunch with chopsticks? Go for it. If you are doing what you would normally do when holding a sleeping baby people will look at you, smile, and go on their way. I have had whole conversations with complete strangers who didn’t even realize I was nursing.
  • Know that what you are doing is best for you and baby. That confidence will carry you a long way. Also knowing the state laws regarding breast-feeding can give you the security and confidence you need to feed that hungry baby. 

I have gotten some weird looks while nursing in public, but I have also gotten supportive smiles, comments about the beauty, health, and vitality of my babies, and made some new friends! And you will get a lot less nasty looks for nursing in public than you will for having a screaming baby who is ANGRY  and HUNGRY NOW. You know how that goes.

What are some of your tricks for nursing in public? Have you had any good or bad experiences? I would love to see a community of support here and on my Facebook page!

About Amanda

Amanda is a mother of two amazing toddlers. She is an herbalist, natural living guru, and real food, gluten free eating pro. She loves to help educate others on how to take control of their own health through natural living, real food, herbs, essential oils, and most of all - a positive mind set. Her other business Natural Herbal Living Magazine is all about helping people learn about how to use one herb a month on a deep and profound level.
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7 Responses to Nursing in public: A few easy tips for success.

  1. Catie says:

    Great article! I just wanted to add that there is no age limit to nursing in public. It would be great if more mothers of toddlers were not afraid to nurse in public. I for one have not had the courage to nurse out of my car in public for over a year and my daughter will be 2 next month.

  2. Megan says:

    so far 5 weeks in no big deal in public. i cover with something because I like to keep covered. looking up videos on utube for moby wrap. trhanks for tip about them being there. Haven’t got nasty looks yet but have been prepared for them. my comment will be something like for 6000 years we raised our young like every other mammal. we should still be doing this. you don’t like it don’t look. course I usually at that moment find a more tackfull way to say samething when ever attack on anything.

  3. melissa says:

    good for you for having confidence. I never had an issue with BF in public and never covered up (for the reason you said, it screams “look over here, i’m feeding my baby!) I attribute this to a strong breast feeding support group I went to since 7 months preggo. I proudly BF my baby in public until she was 2.5 years old. I WISH someone would’ve said something negative to me, I was totally prepared. but no one ever did. carry on BF mama 🙂

  4. Misty says:

    As a mother that wasn’t able to provide nourishment from her own body for her children. I say “Kudos” to all of you that can. I am happy to see others do it, I wish I could have and will always support those that can and will ALWAYS have their backs so that they can take care of their children.

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