By Carrie Lauth
If you're a new Mom who is nursing your baby you may be nervous about doing so in public. Or perhaps you are disturbed by media reports of women who are harassed for breastfeeding in public and are considering pumping your milk to give your baby when you leave home.
Here are some tips for discreet breastfeeding that have worked for many Moms. Hopefully they will help you feel more comfortable nursing in public so you can avoid the inconvenience of pumping and preparing bottles.
1) Before you have your baby, attend a La Leche League or other breastfeeding support group meeting.
Unfortunately in our Society that gives lip service to the benefits of breastfeeding, it is still rare to see Moms nursing in public, and so most of us grow up having our own babies never having seen another woman nurse.
Going to an LLL meeting and seeing how other Moms nurse their babies discreetly and confidently can boost your own confidence. They can also share with you tips that will make nursing in public easier for you.
2) Invest in a baby sling.
These are wonderful for making life with a baby easier all around, but one thing they're great for is discreet breastfeeding. I can't count the times someone approached me in a store and commented on my baby having no idea that s/he was latched on and nursing! The fabric of the sling can be adjusted to come up over the baby's head (yet most babies don't mind this like they do a blanket), or you can use the extra fabric on the "tail" to cover baby.
3) After your baby is born, practice nursing in front of a mirror or a friend to perfect your technique.
Once you and baby are getting to be old pros at the latch on, you can most likely do so in just a couple of seconds.
4) Nurse at the first signs of hunger.
A nursing baby generally draws less attention than a screaming one! So latch your baby on as soon as you notice that s/he is hungry...rooting, sucking on fist, grimacing face, etc. A crying baby also makes you nervous and you and baby may take longer to get latched on comfortably.
5) Try turning your body away while you latch on.
If you're sitting at a table in a restaurant, simply turn your body away from the table briefly while you latch baby on, then resume your normal position.
6) Try nursing clothes.
These are designed to cover your belly for more discreet breastfeeding. Or simply wear a thin top under a cardigan or other shirt. You can also make your own nursing top by cutting slits in a tank and wearing it under another shirt. And always pull up your shirt from the bottom instead of unbuttoning from the top to nurse.
7) Bring a book or large purse to set in your lap to camouflage.
Your diaper bag would also work. Set it in front of baby on your knees while you latch baby on. Or hold a book so that your baby's head and your breast are out of view.
8) Be confident!
You are doing something that is best for you and baby and that billions of women all over the world for thousands of years have done. Be proud of yourself and give passersby a warm smile. You'd be surprised how often people will smile back or even approach with a commendation or anecdote about their own children.
Enjoy nursing your baby!
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