When you’re out and about, breastfeeding is not only convenient but it’s hygienic, natural and the most healthy way for your baby to feed

Breastfeeding is a vital part of any infant’s development. Hundreds of scientific studies on breastfeeding all conclude that breastfeeding a child for the first 12 months of its life is the best way to ensure that it grows up healthy.

When you’re out and about, breastfeeding is not only convenient but it’s hygienic, natural and the most healthy way for your baby to feed. You might feel a bit self-conscious at first, and this is normal.

Just remember that breastfeeding is a human right. You are ensuring that your baby gets the nutrition they need, so be proud of what you’re doing!

Here are some helpful tips to feel calm and confident while breast-feeding in public:

  • Feel proud of yourself – breastfeeding in public helps with normalising this important act and diminishing the negative stigma that has been created. There is no need to feel ashamed when you are helping your baby become healthy and happy.
  • Practise feeding positions at home – this will make it easier to latch your baby on in public and avoid accidentally exposing more than you would like to.
  • Research where you are going – whether you are going out for lunch, meeting a friend for coffee or doing some shopping, researching feeding-friendly places beforehand could be very helpful. You can find out what facilities are available, such as baby-changing, breastfeeding and milk/food warming facilities. Phoning ahead to ensure that restaurants are ‘child-friendly’ will allow you to relax and enjoy your meal. If you are feeling self-conscious, you can choose a seating position that benefits you such as sitting with your back to the majority of people in the restaurant.
  • Take a special bag – having a special bag for when you are out and about with your little one will make you feel organised and in control. Choose a bag that has been designed with a mom in mind and has all the handy compartments you will need. Stock up on things like breast pads, nipple cream (if using), nappies, wipes, nappy sacks, a change of clothes, bibs, milk (if you are bottle feeding) and a feeding cup. Add a few favourite toys to keep your baby entertained and you happy.
  • Consider expressing breast milk – if you choose not to breastfeed while you are out, expressing is the perfect solution. If you wish to continue breastfeeding but are looking for some flexibility outside the home, take along some expressed milk in a sterilised bottle ready to use. Carry the feed in a specially designed insulated bag with a small cool pack inside to keep it fresh. This way you can give your baby a bottle of milk knowing that it still has all the wonderful health benefits of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding in public helps with normalising this important act and diminishing the negative stigma that has been created

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Here are some things to avoid:

  • Don’t rush into things – breastfeeding in public will depend on how quickly you and your baby get to grips with feeding and there’s no need to rush. Venture out when you feel ready.
  • Don’t forget about yourself – breastfeeding is thirsty work, so take along some water. You must take care of yourself too, in order to take care of your baby.
  • Don’t wait until your baby is very hungry – plan a stop before your baby becomes too hungry, to avoid becoming frazzled by those cries of hunger!
  • Don’t be put off by the news – you might have read about women having negative comments thrown at them while breastfeeding in public, but these are rare occasions. There are many more people out there who will be willing to stand by your side and support your human rights, should someone make a rude comment.
  • Don’t feel that you have to breastfeed in public – if you’re really not comfortable, it’s easy to find somewhere a bit more private to feed your baby while you’re out. Many shopping centres, department stores, baby shops and supermarkets have special feeding rooms where you can breastfeed, bottle feed and change your baby’s nappy.

Article by: Vicki Scott, Baby Feeding and Wellbeing Advisor at Philips AVENT

READ MORE: New to nursing on the go? Here are 5 ways to get it right