During your pregnancy, you will have to decide how you would like to feed your baby. You can feed breastfeeding, express milk in a bottle or formula feeding. I formula fed both my girls and currently breastfeeding my son. I was very lucky that Freddie latched on straight away, even though he has tongue tie. Although breastfeeding is much easier than bottle feeding because you don't have the hassle of sterilising and preparing bottles before you go out. But with breastfeeding some mothers suffer low confidence of feeding in public such as cafes and restaurants. Negative comments and press don't help the situation even though breastfeeding is natural and no one should have a problem with the way you feed your baby.
During my pregnancy, I thought I would never feed in public and I was worried about going out to places and my son waking up for a feed, especially if I was on my own, as I know I'd have to go somewhere such as a cafe or restaurant to feed him. The best thing I ever did was be confident and just feed him in public in a busy restaurant the first time I went out. I was really nervous, but my confidence is getting better each time. I am glad I never went to a feeding room which is also a baby's changing room, right next to the public toilets.
10 Top tips for breastfeeding in public
1. Just go for it
I would advise you to go straight for it. If you're out and baby wants a feed, don't go to the toilets or a 'feeding room', feed in a cafe or wherever you are. It gets easier each time.
2. Don't care what others think
My biggest worry was what people thought but once I started feeding in public, I honestly didn't care what they thought. Your baby is feeding - no one should have a problem with that.
3. Cover, only if you wish
You might feel more comfortable if you use a cover. There are many thin covers suitable for breastfeeding to be bought online or you could use a muslin cloth.
4. Know your rights
You are allowed to feed anywhere. Do not ever think that you're not allowed to feed somewhere. Never feel like you're not able to feed your baby in a cafe or a restaurant. It is legal, so know your rights.
5. Wear clothing that's comfortable and suitable for nursing
When you're out feeding in public, it may be best to wear clothing that is easy for you to nurse. Also an easy access bra.
6. Practice in front of family and friends first
If you're really nervous of feeding in public, try and practise in front of your family and friends first. Ask them to come over during feeding times so you can get used to it.
7. Choose on somewhere to sit
When you get to a cafe or restaurant, or wherever else you want to feed, find somewhere to feed. I tend to sit either in a corner or in the back (my preference). This way I feel comfortable and feel I get more privacy feeding. But this is totally your choice.
8. Smile away!
When you feed in public you will probably get that one person who will stare at you. Just smile back at them. You're feeding your baby, be proud!
9. Do NOT feed in the toilets!
You wouldn't eat your lunch on a toilet, would you? Bottle fed babies don't get fed on the toilets, do they? Why should you have to feed your baby in a public toilet?
10. Be Prepared
There may be a time where you might get some negative comments from negative people. Be prepared for that and have a response ready. But just remember that you should never stop feeding in public because of other people.
* These are just some personal tips from my own experience of breastfeeding in public. Never let anyone make you stop feeding in public. All the best!