Mums, Don’t Feel Anxious When Breastfeeding In Public

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Mums, Don’t Feel Anxious When Breastfeeding In Public

Breastfeeding. Millions of mothers do it every day. And millions of mothers feel the anxiety that comes along with it. It doesn’t help that some members of society look down upon breastfeeding in public.

It’s completely normal to feel anxious when breastfeeding in public. If you don’t feel it, great! If you do, just remember that plenty of other mums are right there with you. And for some, the anxiety starts even before the baby arrives.

You have rights

Importantly, you have the right to feed your child whenever and wherever you choose. This could be at a restaurant table or on a park bench. Do not ever feel like you are doing something wrong just because someone else may have a problem with it. In fact, as a breastfeeding mother you are protected by Australian federal law under the Sexual Discrimination Act 1984. You are also not required to cover yourself. If you choose to, well that’s your prerogative.

Take your time to master the skill

Breastfeeding takes time to master. Remember, it is not necessarily something that comes instinctively to the majority of mothers. It is something most must learn, just as your new baby is learning how to latch and suck.

Even at home, in private, it can be a challenge as both you and your child figure things out. Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t feel natural because breastfeeding can feel exceptionally strange and to be honest, not that natural at all. But hopefully, in time, you and your baby will figure things out. It can be hard, especially when you’re a working mum. Though keeping on top of things can be difficult, preparation, structure and support will get you through it. Give yourself that time together and slowly you will learn and begin to feel more comfortable.

When starting to breastfeed in public, take it slowly. Many mums start on a park bench in a quiet spot with limited foot traffic. This allows you to get used to unclipping your various items of clothing, covering yourself (if desired) and helping your child latch. Remember, this can be a difficult and fiddly process to figure out so if you takes you a few tries, don’t stress, you’ll get there. Soon you’ll be doing all of this in mere seconds.

Choose your outfit wisely

As ridiculous as it may sound, dressing to breastfeed is actually quite important when it comes to easily feeding your child in public. There are plenty of nursing t-shirts, dresses and singlets that you can purchase to make it much easier to whip your breast out.

Button up tops or dresses also work well as you can unbutton what’s needed. There’s nothing worse than trying to soothe a screaming, hungry and cranky baby while fiddling with your clothing. Also, psychologically, the less flesh you are exposing, the less you’ll be thinking about the fact that many people can see your skin, helping you feel more comfortable and confident.

Of course, there are also loads of specially-designed breastfeeding wraps and shawls that you can use to cover yourself up if you choose. Alternatively, muslin wraps do the job as well.

Choose your timing wisely

When a baby is hungry, they’ll let you know; and often they’ll let you know very loudly. This is only going to draw more attention to you, making you even more uncomfortable. While sometimes this is unavoidable, there are some things you can do to mitigate the situation and catch it before all hell breaks loose. If your baby is on a schedule, even a rough one, start to get yourself prepped and ready before the hungry signs start. The minute the hungry signs emerge, pop your child on your breast. You may even find that many people around don’t even notice because you caught it early enough.

Make sure you are physically comfortable

When breastfeeding in public, it’s unlikely you’ll have a pillow for support like you may have at home. So you’ll have to support your child yourself. Being comfortable physically will help you be comfortable mentally as well. Make sure your back is supported, there’s limited or no draught around and you have enough space to manipulate your body if and when you need is key to ensuring yours and your child’s comfort. It’s also worth making sure you have access to some water that you can easily grab if you get thirsty.

You’re nourishing your baby

A lot of the time, comfort and confidence is a mental game. The most important thing to remember is that you are feeding your baby. You have every right to do this wherever your baby needs to be fed. You have every right to do this whenever your baby needs to be fed. Don’t let anybody intimidate you into moving or covering up. You are not doing anything wrong. Breastfeeding is normal, and quite simply, one way a mother chooses to feed her child. If anyone has a problem with it, it’s their problem, not yours. Relax, take a deep breath, get comfortable and feed your baby.

Gwen is a mother, daughter, wife & writer. Just one of many Wonder Women in the world.

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