National Breastfeeding Week (1-8 Aug)
Last week was the week of National Breastfeeding Week. It’s been sooo long since I’ve breastfed but can still remember the anxiety that it gave me both times. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with breastfeeding in public, it should be more encouraged but it’s the not-knowing of how other people might take it but you know what? SOD THEM!
Do what you need to do. Feed your baby, don’t feel ashamed to do your duty.
While breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed a baby, many mothers feel nervous about doing it in public. A recent study by breastfeeding company, Lansinoh (who’s been supporting breastfeeding mums for over 35 years!), found that three quarters of mums feel more cautious about breastfeeding in public, as a direct result of COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions.
To help all new mums feel more confident about breastfeeding in public post-lockdown, Lansinoh teamed up with midwife and antenatal educator, Marley Hall, who shares her top tips for new mums:
Tip #1 – Go out with a breastfeeding mum
With lockdown measures easing slightly more, you can now meet up with several people outside your household so why not go out with a friend who is also breastfeeding? As the saying goes, there’s ‘safety in numbers’, and having another breastfeeding mum with you can help to give you the confidence to feed your little one in public for the first time.
Alternatively, if you don’t have any breastfeeding friends living nearby why not visit a baby-friendly café, where there’s more chance of being around other breastfeeding mums. There are also local NCT baby groups that you could join – check out your local community to see if there is one near you.
Tip #2. Know your rights
Many new mums who have given birth in the months since March will have never breastfed their child in public before. So it’s important to know your rights. The UK law gives mums the right to breastfeed their babies in any public place, such as shops, hotels and restaurants. You are also covered by the law to feed in cinemas, theatres, petrol stations, and hospitals.
While it’s extremely unlikely that anyone will question you for breastfeeding your child in public, this can often be a cause of worry for new mums who have yet to breastfeed in public, so it might be worthwhile to have a response prepared should the situation arise.
Tip #3. Plan your outfit beforehand
Make sure your clothing is as comfortable as possible, whilst also being easily accessible. Planning your outfit beforehand can make breastfeeding in public much more convenient, and also a lot more discrete for any mums feeling slightly nervous.
You don’t need to splash out on a new wardrobe either – you’ll most likely already have items in your wardrobe that will come in handy, such as tops and dresses with buttons or zips, wrap cardigans and stretchy tops, which you can easily pull down and back up again. A good breastfeeding bra with clips can also help to make breastfeeding easier.
My Emma Jane nursing bra was one of the best investments I gave myself as a new mum. It was super comfy, affordable and had those magical clips to make breastfeeding life easier. If you want a prettier style, these brands do some seriously nice nursing bras that can even match your outfit of the day.
4. Make sure to have a drink on hand
When you are out and about, ensure you have a drink and snacks handy. Breastfeeding can be thirsty work and there’s nothing worse than being thirsty or hungry when not in close proximity to a shop. It’s also very easy for both mum and baby to become dehydrated especially in the hotter, humid summer months so have a bottle in your bag.
If you want to be a little fancy, you can infuse your water with lemon slices and mint for a light refreshing taste. The smell of fresh mint too is delicious!
5. Focus on enjoying the moment
You might be surprised to hear that most people don’t notice when a mum is feeding her baby at all but, if you notice someone watching you feed, try not to worry or feel uncomfortable. It’s most likely they are simply intrigued by what you are doing. Just try to continue to focus on feeding your baby and enjoy the moment with your little one.
If you think you will still feel uncomfortable, bring a spare muslin cloth with you and throw it over your shoulder as you’re feeding to give you and baby a little more privacy. There are also cool nursing covers that you can buy – they look like an apron and you just put it on over your neck and there’s plenty of breathing space for baby to feed comfortably underneath. Do be aware with either of these things on a windy day as they can easily blow around.
Feeding baby in a sling is also another method but you’ll have to make sure you follow Tip #3.
Practice makes progress!
A good latch is vital for achieving a smooth breastfeeding experience, and this comes down to practise. Finding a comfortable position for both you and your baby will help to ensure that they are getting enough breast milk and prevent you from developing sore nipples. If you do have sore or cracked nipples lanolin cream is one of the best things you can put on. Lansinoh’s nipple cream is amazing and one of my top 5 breastfeeding products I couldn’t live without.
Some mums prefer to raise their baby to breast height, whilst other mums prefer to hold their babies diagonally across their bodies. To make sure that you feel comfortable and familiar with getting into position in public, make sure to try out a few positions at home and practice until you find the position that works best for you.
For more breastfeeding advice, you can visit https://lansinoh.co.uk/advice-articles/