Tips for nursing in public — The Bump
August 2015 Moms

Tips for nursing in public

First let me say that I don't think women should have to cover up while nursing in public. It is one of the most natural things in the world. That said, I personally feel more comfortable using a nursing cover. I had planned on practicing a couple times at home to get the hang of it before trying it in public. However we now have a last minute outing planned for tonight. Any tips on how to best manage the cover and stay modest? It seems like kind of a lot to maneuver. I usually need both hands in order to get DD latched properly, and I'm totally spoiled with my boppy at home, which I obviously won't have with me. Thanks for the help, ladies!
KristinaD217

Re: Tips for nursing in public

  • What position does she nurse in? If she can sit in your lap and still latch, you can boost her up higher by putting diaper bag or purse in your lap under her. Place the cover, prop her in lap and cover her.

    Has she nursed while covered yet? Practice all afternoon?
    laineyjewel
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  • Do the best you can and step away if you really need to. Nursing newborns in public is tricky, then it gets easier for a couple months once baby is better at latching, then around 3.5-4 months when baby starts getting more interested in the outside world (ever hear of the 4 month wakeful?) baby usually decides they actually want to look around while nursing and suddenly have the dexterity to whip that cover off whenever they feel like it. Planning trips around nursing or stepping away will likely become your main options once LO gets to that point unless you decide you are okay with nursing without a cover. I'm not saying this to be discouraging, just being honest. I nursed DD in the car, stepped into another room or planned around nursing for 18 months. With this second baby I'm thinking I'm gonna have to get over my fear of nursing in public. Fortunately most of the people i hang out with are already on their second or third breastfed babies and have come to this conclusion too so its a little more comfortable :P Good luck!  
    laineyjewellaurasuzanne2006
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  • If you're at someone else's house, no shame in asking to use a spare/private room. If you're at a mall, there is often a nursing room. Other places (like a restaurant) I've sometimes excused myself and gone to the car to nurse because it's so hard to nurse if you don't have a chair/something to prop your arm on. If it's feasible, you could always bring your nursing pillow with you. My last tip would be to not forget to wear something with easy access to boobs- as you said it's already MORE than a handful when you're new to nursing to manage LO and the cover never mind also battling your clothes.
    laineyjewelAshleyM0125ErikaB123
  • Thanks ladies! I plan on testing it this afternoon so we'll see how she does. We're going to a restaurant so worse case scenario I can excuse myself to the car. But it usually takes her about 30-45 minutes to nurse, so I'd basically miss the whole meal.

    Using the diaper bag as a prop is a great idea that I never would have thought about!
    usernameneededallaretakencandicejeff2013
  • I've been successful using the 2 shirt method. I will wear a cami or tank top under my top and pull top up, and cami down just far enough. No belly skin peeks through and the top of your breast is covered.

    I've done this with DS1 and DS2, and now DD. Neither of the boys would tolerate a cover, so I haven't even attempted one with DD.

    And as PPs have said, never be ashamed to ask for a private area to use, sometimes a little quiet time together is much needed, especially with a newborn. Good luck Momma!

    This exactly. Pull the top up and the cami down, baby's face on boob and no skin shows! It did take me a while to master though..

    2gr8pits
  • I've successfully nursed at church. I practiced with the cover twice at home before. Just take your time and don't rush. Sometimes I have to stick my head down under the cover to get him latched properly. The football hold is good for when you don't have a pillow handy. Also I agree, wearing a nursing cami keeps your belly covered and helps you to feel more comfortable nursing in public.
    tfdotgov
  • I use the Aden and Anais Swaddle blankets instead of a cover. I stick a corner of the blanket under my bra strap or cami strap. This keeps me covered but allows me to not have DS's entire face covered while nursing. Since the blankets are so light, neither of my kids have minded them.

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    breezymeema7Kimk1616
  • @louiseambrose just do it :) I've only received criticism once, my sister, and I shut her down fast. In all truth, just whipping it out is faster, easier, and less exposing IMO for me then trying to wrangle a babe and cover. I just always wear a tank under my shirt so my belly isn't hanging out.
    jesselayne8visualcircuscarleym93
  • I'm a whip it out person, which is funny because I swore I wouldn't be. Its just easier. My kid doesn't like being covered anyway. When I tried to cover her at AT&T, she ripped the blanket right off and showed the world my nipple.
    deviduke412SashaDenn25archetypeblonde
  • I have a nursing scarf that I bought on Etsy. I have only nursed in my car or family members house with it ( family because my mom has custody of my 3yo cousin and she just can't help but follow me around with DS and because my dad, brother and grandfather are usually around). DS tolerates it well right now. I have not nursed in any restaurants yet due to it still being a slight hassle to get him latched and stay latched. I don't imagine eating dinner with breast milk all down my shirt is a pleasant experience.
  • I feel like dealing with a cover is more of a production than moving my shirt down a few inches. Not worth the hassle IMO.
    breezymeema7lilana1011
  • I feel like dealing with a cover is more of a production than moving my shirt down a few inches. Not worth the hassle IMO.

    This is my opinion as well but I understand that some women may just be more comfortable with a cover. I also asked DH his opinion before LO was born and he didn't see a need for a cover
  • Update: last night went well. She slept the entire time, so it was never an issue.

    To all the whip it out folks, my goal is to eventually have this attitude. Not sure if this is weird or not, but I'm honestly more comfortable whipping it out in true "public" than I am in front of friends and family. Like at the mall, I'll never see you people again, so I don't really care. But the thought of nursing in front of my FIL, for example, makes me uncomfortable!

    Yes that's perfectly normal IMO. I NIP frequently but if my in laws are over I'll excuse myself to my bedroom. It's definitely different. The whipping it out thing, once you do it, you get over it real quick. Super easy and really doesn't bring you any extra attention if you do it right.
    breezymeema7hcook321
  • Update: last night went well. She slept the entire time, so it was never an issue.

    To all the whip it out folks, my goal is to eventually have this attitude. Not sure if this is weird or not, but I'm honestly more comfortable whipping it out in true "public" than I am in front of friends and family. Like at the mall, I'll never see you people again, so I don't really care. But the thought of nursing in front of my FIL, for example, makes me uncomfortable!

    ^^ this. I even felt a little uncomfortable when DH's family was around and I did have a cover on. I've always been pretty private, so I'm curious how it will be down the road...
  • Just wanted to share that I'm slowly joining the whip it out camp. We had a road trip this weekend and we made a pit stop to feed DD. We were sitting in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant in broad daylight. At first I tried to use the cover but DD hated it and so did I. After five minutes of struggling I finally said F*%# it and took it off completely. Now I just need to work up the courage to do it at a restaurant.
    louiseambrose
  • I've nursed at a friends house who also is nursing so obviously neither of us cared. However, last night we went to a house warming party for my husbands friend. The friend mentioned as soon as I walked in that I was welcome to use his bedroom whenever I needed to to feed baby. His live in gf was still in there getting ready and she was starting to fuss so I thought I'd try out my scarf cover in the living room. I only knew a few people there and the crowd was a mix of college kids (his gf's little brother and friends) and early 30's. Even with tucking the shoulder under my bra strap it kept slipping down because my LO has a habit of popping off several times during a feed and needing me to readjust/relatch her. Eventually I just left it off when it fell. The guys there would look at me and then look immediately at the floor. But I'm sure they couldn't see anything and were clearly uncomfortable because I was still participating in the conversation and they didn't know if they should look at me. My husband thought it was funny and I really didn't care. I care way more about my daughter getting a good feed in than how you feel about my boob. So I think I'm saying that I'm officially team "whip it out". Good thing my scarf covers still function as scarves!
    SashaDenn25deviduke412archetypeblondefranckea
  • megvaddi said:

    I've nursed at a friends house who also is nursing so obviously neither of us cared. However, last night we went to a house warming party for my husbands friend. The friend mentioned as soon as I walked in that I was welcome to use his bedroom whenever I needed to to feed baby. His live in gf was still in there getting ready and she was starting to fuss so I thought I'd try out my scarf cover in the living room. I only knew a few people there and the crowd was a mix of college kids (his gf's little brother and friends) and early 30's. Even with tucking the shoulder under my bra strap it kept slipping down because my LO has a habit of popping off several times during a feed and needing me to readjust/relatch her. Eventually I just left it off when it fell. The guys there would look at me and then look immediately at the floor. But I'm sure they couldn't see anything and were clearly uncomfortable because I was still participating in the conversation and they didn't know if they should look at me. My husband thought it was funny and I really didn't care. I care way more about my daughter getting a good feed in than how you feel about my boob. So I think I'm saying that I'm officially team "whip it out". Good thing my scarf covers still function as scarves!

    This is exact my problem. If DD would stay latched I could easily use a cover. But I usually have to relatch her at least 5 times per breast. She just takes a rest and slips off. Relatching her that often under a cover is just way too much trouble!
  • megvaddi said:

    I've nursed at a friends house who also is nursing so obviously neither of us cared. However, last night we went to a house warming party for my husbands friend. The friend mentioned as soon as I walked in that I was welcome to use his bedroom whenever I needed to to feed baby. His live in gf was still in there getting ready and she was starting to fuss so I thought I'd try out my scarf cover in the living room. I only knew a few people there and the crowd was a mix of college kids (his gf's little brother and friends) and early 30's. Even with tucking the shoulder under my bra strap it kept slipping down because my LO has a habit of popping off several times during a feed and needing me to readjust/relatch her. Eventually I just left it off when it fell. The guys there would look at me and then look immediately at the floor. But I'm sure they couldn't see anything and were clearly uncomfortable because I was still participating in the conversation and they didn't know if they should look at me. My husband thought it was funny and I really didn't care. I care way more about my daughter getting a good feed in than how you feel about my boob. So I think I'm saying that I'm officially team "whip it out". Good thing my scarf covers still function as scarves!

    This is exact my problem. If DD would stay latched I could easily use a cover. But I usually have to relatch her at least 5 times per breast. She just takes a rest and slips off. Relatching her that often under a cover is just way too much trouble!
    Right! I gave up because I couldn't see her and kept offering my nipple to her nose/chin/eye. It really pissed her off. Ha.
    tarheelgirl8archetypeblondeSashaDenn25
  • Team whip it out. A newborn is hard enough to stay latched properly...ain't nobody got time to mess around with that! Ha. Total sarcasm btw, I'm for whatever your comfortable with.
    Mom of one toddler boy, with another BOY on the way. Life is exciting traveling being active duty & a wife. 

    Sometimes I vlog on YouTube. Check out my channel here! 
  • cosplaymomcosplaymom member
    edited September 2015
    My tip is when you go to a restaurant, don't sit in a booth! Unless the table can be pushed away. Make sure you get a chair, preferably with a wall behind you.
    deleted22152218lilana1011
  • I'll probably get crap for this, but I am not at all okay with whipping my boob out for all the world to see for many reasons. First of all I remember how it made me feel incredibly uncomfortable when my friends did this especially if it was in front of my husband. He also said it was really rude and unnecessary. Another reason..are you guys aware that there are major creeps out there that could be watching you or easily take a picture of you? What's so hard about using a nursing cover? 20$ at target, super easy to use. Bottom line I think it's a bit weird so many women have become comfortable with their boob hanging out in public with no regard on how this makes others feel.
  • kettlekittenkettlekitten member
    edited September 2015
    ErikaB123 said:

    I'll probably get crap for this, but I am not at all okay with whipping my boob out for all the world to see for many reasons. First of all I remember how it made me feel incredibly uncomfortable when my friends did this especially if it was in front of my husband. He also said it was really rude and unnecessary. Another reason..are you guys aware that there are major creeps out there that could be watching you or easily take a picture of you? What's so hard about using a nursing cover? 20$ at target, super easy to use. Bottom line I think it's a bit weird so many women have become comfortable with their boob hanging out in public with no regard on how this makes others feel.

    Firstly I don't think it's 'rude' or 'unnecessary' to feed your child when it needs to be fed. Secondly people have stated above why it's hard to use a cover. Thirdly I'm not sure what your friends do when they breastfeed but when I BF in public nobody would actually see any boob between the baby and my clothes covering most of it. It's quite discreet, not like you're shimmying your naked boobs around. Bottom line is that if other people are uncomfortable with BFing in public, tough titties, they don't have to look.
    EmEeGeelilana1011SashaDenn25
  • ErikaB123 said:

    I'll probably get crap for this, but I am not at all okay with whipping my boob out for all the world to see for many reasons. First of all I remember how it made me feel incredibly uncomfortable when my friends did this especially if it was in front of my husband. He also said it was really rude and unnecessary. Another reason..are you guys aware that there are major creeps out there that could be watching you or easily take a picture of you? What's so hard about using a nursing cover? 20$ at target, super easy to use. Bottom line I think it's a bit weird so many women have become comfortable with their boob hanging out in public with no regard on how this makes others feel.

    It's perfectly fine to not be comfortable with doing it yourself. And if you're uncomfortable with others doing it, I highly encourage not looking... Problem solved. All I can do is roll my eyes at your husband. I tried using a cover, and as stated in my previous post, it just wasn't working out for various reasons. I guess I should have told my baby, "Sorry honey... It's rude to make sure you're fed when others are in the room and I don't have anywhere else to go." Your husband can grow up and deal with it... Or again don't look/leave the room yourself.
    lilana1011SashaDenn25
  • Obviously you need to feed your child when they are hungry, i never said nor implied otherwise. Kettle, I was referring to when women literally whip out their entire boob, not discretely cover half of it with their shirt. My husband had a normal reaction, my friend had her entire boob out, completely uncovered for everyone to see. That is absolutely unnecessary, inconsiderate, and rude.
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