At Baby Tula we believe that any mother who breastfeeds should feel as free and comfortable feeding in public as they do at home. It can be a challenging enough journey without any added pressures or concerns, so we have some top tips to share for making breastfeeding on the go as carefree as possible.
- Know your rights!
First and foremost, every breastfeeding parent in the UK should know that the Equality Act of 2010 makes treating someone unfavourably because they are breastfeeding a child (of any age!) illegal. This applies when you are in any business or premise providing services to the public including shops, universities, cafes, public transport etc. and means that no one should make you feel uncomfortable or unwelcome for breastfeeding there, and they certainly cannot ask you to leave!
- Practice at home.
This is an especially great tip if this is your first baby. Like anything, breastfeeding takes some time to get the hang of and it’s much easier to do that in the comfort of your own home. Try sitting in different locations (very few public places have spots as comfy as your sofa or bed), standing up, using a cover or not as you prefer, and feeding in your baby carrier - more on that later. Some things will work better for you than others and finding yours and baby’s groove means that when you feed in public, you’ll feel more relaxed and confident - which will make the experience far more pleasant for both of you.
- Know your baby.
Once you know your baby’s hunger cues or have a regular schedule, you’ll be able to plan your trips out more efficiently. If you can organise your day so that baby is fed as soon as she’s hungry or within her usual time frame, then you’ll both be happier for it. Remember though, if things don’t go to plan don’t beat yourself up over it, take a few deep breaths and make a plan B.
As time goes by, you’ll also get to know what works best during feeds, for example some babies won’t let anything distract them from lunch whereas others will want to investigate every little movement and noise, forward planning means you can pick a spot that works.
- Find a safe, clean and comfortable place to feed.
Talking of picking a spot that works, when you venture out bear in mind three key things to look for: safety, cleanliness, and comfort. These may seem obvious, but when baby starts demanding food at the top of her lungs you may be tempted to compromise!
- Safety is the number one priority and should never be overruled, better baby is hungry for a few minutes longer than either of you being in harm’s way.
- Cleanliness is another hard rule, don’t shut yourself away in a dirty toilet cubicle for the sake of privacy, at best it will make for an unpleasant experience and at worst can compromise rule number one - safety.
- Comfort is entirely down to personal preference, and we don’t only mean finding somewhere cosy to sit - your emotional well-being is important too. If something or someone is making you uncomfortable then don’t be afraid to speak up.
- Use your baby carrier.
Nursing in a baby carrier [https://babytula.co.uk/collections] can turn an awkward fumble into a relaxed bonding session with a little practice. You already have baby cuddled close, so it simply takes some slight maneuvring to get everyone and everything where they need to be. If you’re concerned about exposure, or baby needs some help concentrating, you can make use of the built-in privacy hood on all Tula carriers.
- Choose your outfit accordingly.
Another way to plan ahead for feeding on the go is via your wardrobe. Whether it’s specially designed nursing-wear or something you already owned pre-baby, anything that allows you easy access (think wrap-front tops or dresses, a loose top over a camisole, button-shirts etc.) works. Another handy addition to your cupboard for those that wear them is a nursing bra. Or simply go for a soft, wire-free option which can easily be pulled up or down as required.
And don’t forget, picking nursing-friendly options doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your sense of style. We understand the value of having the freedom to express yourself as you navigate parenthood, and our carrier colours and prints are specially designed to let your personality shine!
- Take someone with you.
Moral support can make all the difference, especially in the early days. Whether it’s a friend who has done it all herself with an older baby and knows the best spots, or just a friendly face so you have someone to talk to and distract attention, it can help to have someone by your side.
- Try and stay calm and confident.
While this may sometimes be easier said than done, try and remember that there is nothing to be ashamed of for feeding your baby in public, it’s natural, normal and beautiful. Getting worried or stressed isn’t good for you, your milk supply or your baby so while it might feel strange at first, focus on your baby and her needs and you’ll soon forget about anything else. In most cases nobody should bat an eyelid and if they do then that’s their problem, not yours.
- Practice makes perfect!
Like with any skill, the more you practice the easier it will become until you no longer even blink when feeding your baby in public. You’ve got this mama!