How to respond to others about your feeding choices.
The first few times you breastfeed in public, you might feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. Here are some tips to help you stay confident.
Breastfeeding in Public
Breastfeeding is for anytime, anyplace. At first, the idea of breastfeeding in public may make you nervous. But in most states, it is your legal right to breastfeed wherever and whenever your baby is hungry. You can—and should—breastfeed in public with confidence. Now it's easier and more accepted than ever.
Many moms are able to breastfeed in public without anyone noticing. With some practice, you can be a pro, too. Try these tips if you would like to breastfeed more discreetly:
- Wear clothes that allow easy access to your breasts, such as tops that pull up from the waist or button down. You can also wear a tank top under your shirt so your stomach won't show.
- Use a blanket around your shoulders to cover anything you don't want to expose in public, or breastfeed your baby in a sling.
- Department stores, malls, and even baseball stadiums often have breastfeeding rooms. If there isn't a special room, find a private or quiet space. In stores, dressing rooms work well. In restaurants, you can use a booth.
- Practice breastfeeding in front of others. Try it at home using a mirror, or practice in front of friends who are also new moms. This will help you and your baby feel comfortable breastfeeding in public.
- Try to breastfeed before your baby becomes fussy. That way, you have time to get into a comfortable place or position to feed.
- No matter where you are, and how confident (or unsure) you feel, remember that there is only pride in feeding a hungry baby!
Some moms deal with criticism for their choice to breastfeed. Criticism can come from strangers and the people you love. Both can be hard to handle, but you should still feel confident in breastfeeding your baby.
Try these tips for handling criticism:
- Inform. Many people don't know all the benefits of breastfeeding. Share information with them. This may help the person understand that breastfeeding is good for you and your baby.
- Respond to specific concerns. Find out why your partner, family, or friends don't support breastfeeding. Do they think that it doesn't help your baby? Are they worried what others will think? Once you know a specific concern, you can correct any misinformation.
- Tell them how their comments make you feel. It may be helpful to have a heart-to-heart talk with the person who criticizes your decision. This person may not realize that the comments hurt you.
- Quote an authority. Some people will only trust doctors or other health professionals. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be fed only breast milk for the first 6 months.
- Be nice but firm. "This is what works for our family" is a response that clearly states your decision.
- Remain calm. Overall, express confidence and pride in your decision while being as calm as possible.