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For some strange reason, some people are bothered by seeing a woman nurse in public. In fact, I think it’s this stigma that prevents a lot of moms who want to nurse from bothering. We’d all like to think that we can stand up to disapproval, but peer pressure is a tough force.
By following these tips, we can work together to normalize breastfeeding and encourage societal acceptance, so that mothers can nurse without judgement and share the importance of breastfeeding with future generations.
1. Be calm and natural
If someone has a problem with you nursing out in the open, it’s their problem. Don’t feel obligated to apologize. If you seem meek and nervous, people will assume you feel guilty, which will justify their displeasure. Stay cool and relaxed. Focus on getting a good latch and keeping you and your baby comfortable. If you behave like everything is in order, most people will too.
2. Understand your rights
In the United States and most western countries, it’s perfectly legal to breastfeed in public. While breastfeeding is readily accepted in most regions, if you’re leaving the country, you’ll want to conduct some research and familiarize yourself with local laws and your rights. Principles are one thing, but keep in mind, not all laws are universal.
3. Wear comfortable clothing
At home, you can strip down to whatever you like in order to nurse, even if that means removing your shirt. Unfortunately, you don’t have the same freedoms at the local park, restaurant, or shopping mall; so, wear loose clothing that can be easily adjusted for access to your breast. Bring your LatchPal, too, so your shirt stays up and out of your child’s face.
4. Ease into it
Before you breastfeed at the local food court, try somewhere with fewer people first. You might try a playground, bookstore, or neighborhood coffee shop. You’ll feel less vulnerable and exposed, if you take it step-by-step.
5. Practice before you go
Since childhood, we’ve been taught not to bare our breasts in public, so exposing yourself (even minimally) to feed your child might make you slightly uncomfortable. Before you leave the house, practice by nursing in the mirror. You’ll be surprised at how little is actually available for viewing. This will also help you decide what nursing outfits and accessories help you nurse most comfortably.
6. Feel free to cover up
Please don’t feel like you have to cover up while breastfeeding; if others don’t want to see a nursing baby, they can wear a blanket over their heads (smile). However, if you prefer to nurse with a cover, by all means, do what makes you comfortable, as long as it’s your choice. Nursing wraps and blankets are discrete solutions that can put a new mother at ease. If you’re looking for a fashion forward solution, try dressing your little one in a fedora, knit beret, or sun hat to give you more coverage.
7. Anticipate negative comments
These are rare, but unfortunately, it happens on occasion. Don’t let yourself be easily offended, instead, be prepared with a comeback (in case it happens). Your rebuttal should be assertive, confident, and cheeky, so the disapprover feels silly. Here’s one of my favorites:
Disapproving busy-body: “You should take that to the ladies’ room so we don’t have to see it.”
You: “No thanks, we don’t eat in bathrooms.”
How do you handle holiday breastfeeding? Tell us on Facebook.
Written by Melissa LaHann, Founder and CEO of Happy Fig, LLC
Like many moms before her, Melissa cradled her hungry, crying baby as she clumsily adjusted her bra and sat uncomfortably holding up her shirt. Before she knew it, her baby was squirming, her shirt was falling, and the nursing session was interrupted. She needed a better solution, so she created LatchPal, the first nursing clip of its kind.
LatchPal is a breastfeeding shirt clip that holds up a mother’s shirt during breastfeeding. It eliminates shirt re-positioning and feeding disruptions, and helps a mom nurse hands-free in comfort to maximize milk flow. LatchPal was designed with moms in mind. The multi-use solution only requires one hand to latch. It’s a must-have breastfeeding accessory and essential for post-partum moms, pumping moms, and nursing in public.
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