Nursing in Public..

Hi all,

 I am a new mom.. had my baby girl on February 28. I am breast feeding and it is going well. However, as I am able to get out of the house more, I am getting nervous about breast feeding in public. 

Can anyone tell me what they do when they are in public? I am not sure I am comfortable yet nursing her in front of other people.

Do you go to your car? Use a dressing room? Any help would be appreciated.

Also, I always use the Boppy pillow at home to help me nurse. I am not sure how I will nurse without the support it provides. Any help there?

Thanks so much :) 


Re: Nursing in Public..

  • I started weaning myself off the Boppy around 3 weeks PP because I knew I would have to learn to BF without it. 

    I am nervous about NIP too because I don't want to make others uncomfortable.  I have a nursing cover and need to set a goal to try it. 

    I do know that Nordstrom has a nice mother's lounge if you are at a mall with a Nordy's.

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  • A diaper bag under the arm makes a great makeshift boppy  =)

    As far as comfort, do you have a cover? Are you comfortable using that? I practiced at some 'safe' places first (a bfing support group, a meeting with some mom friends, etc) before I went 'solo'.  It's easier to NIP when 5 of your girlfriends are also NIP at the same time.

    I usually just go to an out of the way bench or table, mainly so I can contain DD and so DS isn't as distracted.

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  • In the beginning I only went places with a fitting room or a ladies lounge with a chair/couch. This made it easy and in the lounge people would still come and go but they were all women. As I got used to what I was doing I could nurse in booths at restaurants (and even chairs when we didn't get seated against the wall or in a booth) and in waiting rooms. After a while I ditched the nurisng cover and now I nurse anywhere, anytime, with no cover because we are skilled at doing it discreetly.

    Practice will get you there, but start where you will be most comfortable. Fitting rooms are great.

    ETA: Oh, and I often still nurse in the car when it's the most convenient place. As for the pillows, as you get more accustomed to nursing you will be more comfortable with holding your baby up when you don't have pillows. I still use a throw pillow when we're at home on the couch, but when we're in public I just try to prop one arm up on a chair's arm or I cross my legs and that lifts his butt enough or something. Again, it's probably a practice thing. You will be more comfortable with it one day. As for the boppy, don't worry about how much you use it at home. When you don't have it you will improvise. One easy way is if you sit on the floor cross-legged (indian style) you can use your knees for support. This may be one way to first attempt it without the pillows.

    Also, when he nurses one side, I cradle his head with that arm and often wrap my free arm around to grab the elbow of the support arm, which provides extra support so all the weight isn't on the one support arm. I guess it's kind of like I'm hugging him. I hope that made sense.

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  • Some places like the mall or BRU will have facilities for nursing.  I recommend a nursing cover if you aren't comfortable nursing without it.  To improvise the support of a boppy, you could carry a thin receiving blanket and put it over your diaper bag and use that for a makeshift pillow.  You might experiment with different holds - I was fond of the football hold when DD was young.

    I've BF in a car, or if at a restaurant asked for a booth to shield visibility.  Some of the larger stores have nicer dressing rooms and this is always an option.  You'll get the hang of it and in the end of my BF days I was sitting on the bench in the middle of the mall b/c my daughter needed to eat and I didn't want to be forced into seclusion away from my family.  Folks may give you some strange looks but it's worth it knowing you are giving your child the best gift.

    I also recommend checking your states breastfeeding in public laws to make sure you are in compliance - some are better than others.  I kept a card that had the statute printed out on it in case I was ever approached by a business owner who wasn't aware of what we can do to provide the best for our children.

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  • I practised at home before I went out - it takes skill and patience to learn how to do it, and it's really much easier to do it at home where modesty is not an issue. Also, as your baby gets older, neck control improves and I found that helped too (until they start to get curious and are always looking around!). 

    I still occasionally sit out in the car. A big scarf is handy too. 

    Good luck! 

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  • At first, I'd only nurse in the car or in dressing rooms as it was hard for me to make sure he was latched on correctly while not flashing anyone and I'm a pretty modest person.  After a few months, I got a nursing cover and now I nurse pretty much anywhere using my cover.  I haven't gotten any negative remarks and I find that the more I do it, the easier it is and the more comfortable I become.  I never really liked the Boppy, it was too cumbersome and I just used a pillow.  Another thing may be helpful is using a sling/baby carrier.  I have a ring sling that works well and a Mei Tai and you can definitely be discreet and handsfree at the same time.

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  • I just put my nursing cover on and go. Mostly at parks (I have a toddler who runs around while I nurse the LO).

    I probably nip 1x a day at least. 


  • If there's a nursing room, I'll use it b/c it's more comfy for me.  Otherwise, I have no problem nursing in public.  I just put a receiving blanket over us and no one sees any bewbie - and if they do, so be it!  If others don't like it, they don't have to watch.
  • Just remember that breastfeeding is the most natural, beautiful thing a mother can do for her child.  You should never feel that you need to hide out in a bathroom, car, etc to feed your child.  You wouldn't act that way with bottle, so  you shouldn't act that way with breastfeeding.  I definitely suggest working on nursing without the boppy.  It gets easier as baby gets bigger.  Also a sling that allows for nursing (I liked my ring sling) is a great way to discreetly nurse.  I would highly recommend AGAINST a nursing cover.  They draw way more attention to what the mom is doing (oh my gosh, there's this big, brightly colored piece of fabric so that mom must be breastfeeding.  Eww!), than just sitting down and nursing them.  I would recommend either a good nursing shirt, or wear a low-cut tank and nursing bra under your regular shirt.  Regular shirt comes up, tank and bra go down, so only the part of your breast that baby needs comes out!  I've been nursing my 26 month old in public since he was born, and plan to do the same for baby due in September.  Just be confident, look like you have every right to be doing what you are, wherever you are, and people will leave you alone.  You often find that you get many more approving nods or smiles than you do disapproving.  And with practice, you'll get good enough that people won't even realize what you're doing.  Ha ha, that happened to my MIL once, I was walking around nursing my son when he was about 6 months old, and she leaned over to kiss him on the head until she realized that he was nursing!  She had no idea that he was!
  • I use to have the same fears. I had my daughter in October 09 and would think twice before going out only because I was scared that she would get hungry and I still wasn't comfortable nursing in public. I quickly let go of those fears. Nursing is a natural, beautiful thing that not many mothers do now a days. I was scared people would look at me funny or feel uncomfortable. I think as long as you cover up, you'll be just fine. No one can see you (even if they may know what you're doing). Think of it this way, if you were walking in the mall and you walk by a mother nursing her child (while decently covered up, of course) would you think anything of it? I bet not! The same goes for other people. It's completely natural and it's the BEST thing for your child! Also, button up shirts are the best while going out since it'll be easier to open up (instead of having to pull up your shirt. The BF covers aren't as long in the back and if you have to pull up your shirt, half of your back may end up showing). As far as the Boppy (I have one too), while out, I also use the diaper bag for support. It works wonderfully! Good luck!
  • I breastfed with my first daughter and it definitely takes some getting used to-doing it in public.  I was also concerned with other people feeling uncomfortable but then I came to look at it this way.  Breastfeeding is natural and is the best way to care for you baby's nutritional needs.  It is unfortunate that nowadays it is often looked at as being weird or "uncomfortable."  I think that is absurd that many people have a problem with a women, being appropriately covered, breastfeeding her child in a public place.  When I breastfed I used a cover and was more covered than the average woman in a tank top or low cut shirt.  Why should other people be "uncomfortable" around that?  People have no problem going to a beach and seeing women in bikinis.  And what is the issue with people having a problem with the "idea" of a baby breastfeeding in a public place?  No one has a problem seeing other people eating at a restaurant.  And what is breastfeeding besides your baby having a meal? 

    I totally understand that at first it can be really hard to get used to as a new me I sure was!!!  And honestly I was made to feel uncomfortable sometimes by other people around me who gave me dirty looks and made comments.  Once I was breastfeeding in mall, I had found a discreet chair and was completely covered with my cover, and a woman came up to me and said I should be doing that in the bathroom.  A bathroom?  I asked her if she liked eating her lunch in a bathroom stall ;)  

    Finding you own level of comfort is up to you and over time it will be easier.  Get some good nursing covers and find positions that work for you and your baby.  It is nice to find places that have special rooms near the ladies rooms for feeding a baby, but other than that you will have to improvise and search out places you feel comfortable with.  With a good cover and a little juggling you can breastfeed pretty much anywhere it just takes some getting used to.

    Good Luck!!!!

  • My daughter is 5 months old and I have never nursed her in public. I have used the car many times. At about 6 weeks we started her on a bottle because I knew i was going back to work and now if i am going to be gone for longer than she can go without eating I will take a bottle just in case. In the beginning I would just take a few extra blankets in the car to help me support her. Good Luck and congrats!

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    Your life will be 10 times easier if you reach a comfort level with "whippin' out the boob."  Not literally, but nursing covers work great (from what I'm told, I struggled with the blankie on the head b/c I didn't know about them the first time).  I never used a Boppy in public.  I think as long as there's no boob showing, it's fine.  Also, finding a discreet place is important.  I used to always find a way to be near a BRU when it was time.  The mother's room is great.  I know it's not easy, but seriously, when your kid needs to eat, you just can't worry about what anyone else thinks of it (and they shouldn't think anything of it, IMO).  Just don't be like the girl in line behind me at target who pulled down her tank top and had the baby on the boob like she wasn't standing there 1/4 naked... GL!
  • First, make sure you wear easy to nurse in clothing. I like my nursing tanks and a cardigan. Keep a scarf (a lightweight gauzy type, you don't want to suffocate LO) with you, I think it is 1000 times easier to discretely cover up with than a nursing cover. However, I liked the nursing cover in restaurants where I am more exposed due to my seat location. If I were in a booth with DH or my mom, a scarf would do

    I nurse in my car a lot because it is a right there and so easy. We get to our destination and I top her off so she may not even need to nurse when I am running about. Plus, in the car I have the radio and it is pretty comfortable. On long trips I will bring my Boppy pillow with me. It makes nursing in the car really easy.

    Whatever you do, be confident. You are feeding your baby. It attracts a LOT less attention than a baby in meltdown mode. Oh, and don't nurse in a bathroom (that's gross). The "ladies' lounge" at Nordstrom is as far as I will go and that is because they have sofas to sit on!


  • I was one of those mom's who said they would never nurse in public.  Well, one day I was in the Victoria Secret dressing room trying stuff on and my baby got hungry.  I feed her in there.  It was that day that I decided I needed to get a cover for public.  It wasn't too bad.  I have only done it once though.  uddercovers always has a deal for free and you just pay shipping but if you are crafty you can make one yourself.  My sister made mine.
  • Hi! I have a 15 weeks old babygirl........we nurse everywhere. I cover her up so nobady can see a thing. If you are in a mall for example you might want to use a quiter corner anyway. I do not even have to sit down anymore....I can walk meanwhile holding her on my arm and nursing. You'll see how easy it is. Anyhow if you feel unconfortable you can always give the baby those ready to use formulas.
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  • I was having the same concern.  I have not had my baby yet, but I have researched some information on nursing in public.  Maybe you'll find this site helpful, I did. 

  • Practice in front of a mirror or your partner.  That will help you determine how much you show and different ways to change your approach.

    Also, layers help...a button up shirt or zipper hoodie or something over a nursing top can make a big differece.

  • If you're somewhere that has a mother's lounge or something, go ahead and use that, but if you are some place that does not, then I suggest using a cover. Feel free to nurse wherever, but do some practice at home of "whipping it out" and so forth that you will feel more comfortable. 

    As for worrying about making others uncomfortable, forget that. I DESPISE the smell of formula, but people would never consider not using it to feed their baby because others don't like it. 
  • There are so many cute nursing cover-ups available, so you can nurse in public without completely exposing yourself.  And if other people are uncomfortable with it, then they shouldn't watch, it isn't their business anyways.  Breastmilk is best for your baby, and breastfeeding is such an excellent way to bond, don't let that be taken away from you and your precious one because some stranger may be offended.  Plus, I think breastfeeding in public is becoming more and more accepted, we just have to keep doing it!
  • I breastfeed my seven and four year old. I am also a pumper as well. I used bottles when in public and even at home. I guess I just kinda go with how I feel at the moment. My girls never cared one way or the other. I think that what was most important to me is that no matter how I feed, when, or where, it was my natural home grown breastmilk nourishing them. Good luck.
  • My son is 8 months old and I am still nursing.  In the beginning I was nervous about nursing in public, but quickly got over it.  Crying baby vs. a few being uncomfortable about me nursing in public??? I choose a few being uncomfortable!!!  I have a coverall that goes over my head and leaves my hands free to hold and support my son. Unless you're a nursing mom and recognize the coverall, most don't even know my son is under there, unless you see his feet hanging  If you really think about it, when you delivered you had a bunch of strangers looking at your "stuff".  I think being ashamed went out the window right then and there. :-) 

  • I'm making myself some of these:


    I have some cordinating fabric for my diaper bag that my friend is making me - so I'll make at least two, one for the house and one for the road - my father in law lives w/ us so I'm really nervous about whipping my breasts out.

     I've also bought a few tops from:


    They are really cool and 2 of them I can wear now cause they are a little loose around the belly (and I'm only 20 weeks).

    But I'm planning on nursing whenever we need to where ever we are as needed by between the tops and the cover. The overs are great cause they have boning in them so you can be covered and peak in, but no one else needs to see. 

  • JoJoLiz6 and other nursing mommies, I have a coupon I recieved the other day for a website called They offered me a promotional code which covered a free $32 nursing cover. All you pay is shipping I believe, unless of course you decide to get the gift set like I did which was a couple dollars more and you get a nursing bracelet to help remind you which side baby nursed on last ( I felt this was a smart buy for me since I'm currently forgetting everything while preggers) nursing pads, and the cover all come in the set. Anyway, the promotional code is reuseable, so you can open a new browser window and use it as many times as needed, or pass it on to other moms-to-be who plan on nursing as well. They have cute designs on them too! Anyway, the website is and the code is Family2010. Pass it along!

    Copied from my email: "This promotion gives you a $32.00 discount off your total order no matter what you put in your cart! This promotion code is valid once per transaction, so you can order as many times as you would like!"

  • my aunt just had a baby this past summer. and she uses whats called a hooter hider. (its kinda like a big apron and it works GREAT!) i will be getting one when our baby comes. maybe that can be something you can look into
  • I am the most shy person I know but I. Would walk around stores with my daughter under a blanket breastfeeding her. I didn't like the idea of taking her into the bathroom to feed her. That is the last place in a store that I would want to eat so I wouldn't want to deed her ther.
  • My son is only 1 week only and I was an exclusive pumper for DD.  However as I was determined to have this child latch on, I had my Mom make me two covers.  While I haven't NIP yet, I've been practicing with the cover at home, so not only do I feel comfortable, but he's comfortable under there.  My in-laws are coming in two weeks so I need to get the hang of it as I refuse to go to another room to nurse my son while they are here.  I did pump in the truck with my father-in-law with DD and wasn't uncomfortable there as I covered up.  They know it's the best for them.

  • Breastfeeding is the most natural interaction and mother and child can have! 48 states have laws which give a mother the right to breastfeed in any public place! DO NOT BE NERVOUS OR ASHAMED! You should be proud that you are giving your child every advantage by nursing!

    I have a nursing cover that I use in public but I am not afraid to nurse in a restaurant, mall, park... or airplane! (Actually I am flying with my 8 month old son again tomorrow and plan on nursing him on takeoff and landing ;o) 

    When I was a little girl (I'm 29) I saw women breastfeeding a lot more often in public. I don't know what happened but I think if we nurse in the open with confidence and pride we'll be setting an example for future generations!




  • I say just go for it! If you happen to expose a little nip and someone is looking and is uncomfortable that's their problem- not yours- don't look then! That said I do of course try to be discrete, I keep my shirt pulled down as far as I can and make sure most butt crack's not exposed in the back either. But I don't hide in the car or a bathroom (gross). I feed my baby anywhere and everywhere- from the dinner table at home or out to park and mall benches and everywhere in between. My baby needs to eat and I need to feed him. It's not gross. It's natural and normal. What's abnormal and gross is some people's reaction to this natural process- we are far too prudish in our society and too worried about what other's might think. I say nurse thoes babies- nip slips be damned!
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