How to Nurse in Public and Feel Comfortable
By Heather and Whitney, aka The Rookie Moms
1. Dress for the job. Beginners might find themselves more at ease in clothes that will expose minimal skin. Try a nursing tank with a cardigan or hoodie over it. Or, if you wore a belly band with your maternity clothes, wear it now. It will cover your tummy so that when you lift your shirt up, your beautiful curves do not introduce themselves to everyone around you.
2. Find a spot that’s comfortable. Psychologically comfortable is as important as physically comfortable. For some that’s standing in the grocery line and for others it’s nestled in an arm chair. If you’re of the armchair variety you’ll likely find a good spot in the children’s section of a bookstore, on a park bench, or in a cafe. Just watch that the table is not too close to baby’s noggin.
3. Adjust your body. Feeling shy? Turn the chair to face the least number of patrons. If you’re accustomed to a nursing pillow you use at home, place your diaper bag or crumpled up jacket under your elbow or across your lap. If a footrest is easier to come by, position your knee so it can be your arm rest.
4. Drape a blanket (totally optional). For privacy or to minimize distraction for your baby, you may want to cover your baby’s head. Tuck a thin blanket under the shoulder strap of your bra so it doesn’t slide down. Nursing covers (or the more fancy-sounding bebe au lait) hook around your neck and make it (almost) easy to nurse your baby while having a conversation with your father in law.
5. Feed baby and relax. Once you’re situated, unleash your milk-maker and go for it. Younger babies will be ready to open up and suck right away. Older babies might be so distracted that nursing in public becomes impossible, unless by “public” you mean a friend’s house with a dark quiet bedroom and a glider.
Published October 27, 2008. Last updated December 19, 2017.