Breastfeeding In Public: A Guide

Breastfeeding in public is not a topic worth debating. I cannot be bothered to lay out an argument for or against because quite simply there is no viable ‘against’ argument. It’s what women were given breasts for, and telling them not to use them as intended to nourish their babies in public is, and will always be, ridiculous.

(Above: Gisele might not technically be in public here, but when half the world’s beauty workforce is in the room, it counts)

However, since having Jack, I have had to get used to exposing myself in a variety of pubs, cafes and restaurants in order to quiet my hungry (read: greedy) baby. And while there are a big variety of functional, and (shock, horror) stylish nursing tops, dresses and bras on the market, mothers of babies with reflux will know that there’s pretty much no way to avoid your nipples being exposed every now and again. When your baby thrashes on and off and occasionally breaks from feeding to vomit all over the both of you, you’re going to be open to the elements at some point. The best ways to deal with public nipple-flashing? Here’s what I’ve learnt so far…

How to breastfeed in public

  1. Practical: The double layer top. You’ll learn this one quickly, a strap top worn under a regular round-neck t-shirt. Pull the bra/strap top down underneath your t-shirt before placing screaming baby at your bossom them whip up the top layer and attach said baba. As long as the little mite stays attached, you’ll be well-covered. 
  2. Magic Muslins: Draping a large muslin cloth across the shoulder you’re feeding on will keep the whole thing covered, but only from the front. And if your baby is anything like Jack he won’t appreciate being asked to eat with a blanket on his head. 
  3. Feeding aprons: Work for some but not my thing. You may as well where a sign saying ‘BOOBS OUT THIS WAY’ with a big neon arrow. Not very subtle. 
  4. Distraction chatter: Nothing to see here. Catch someone taking a glimpse? Engage them in conversation. They should then focus on your face. It’s frowned upon to look at someone’s boobs when you’re talking to them. (I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it’s frowned upon.)
  5. Distraction headwear: Who cares about a nipple when you’re wearing sequined cat ears?
  6. RELAX: If you’re tense, your baby will be too. This is when the thrashing around and increased exposure happens. 
  7. Feeding slings: These are actually great if you can be bothered to figure them out. I can’t. 
  8. Not caring: The absolute best trick in the book. Realising that there’s nothing remotely embarrassing about feeding your baby, no matter how much grunting and vomiting they do, is the ultimate secret to feeding in public. 
If seeing a woman breastfeeding makes you uncomfortable, follow these helpful tips: 

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