5 Easy Ways to Normalize Uncovered Breastfeeding in Public

When you make plans to finally get out and away from the house, nursing your baby in public should be the very last thing you should worry about next to – “Did I bring enough diapers? Did I pack enough changes of clothes? or – How do setup the stroller without getting into a fight with it in the parking lot?!!!”

It took me sometime to learn that my baby would not allow ANY form of blanket, burp cloth, or receiving blanket on or around his head/face. So as you can imagine I was actually forced into this whole “uncovered” breastfeeding in public thing, by my own baby!

Today I am sharing how to help normalize breastfeeding, every time you leave the house with your nursling, by simply breastfeeding uncovered in public in 5 easy steps! Some acceptable places to breastfeed, which differ by state, are in your car, at a park, at the grocery store in the Milk aisle, at the library in the children’s section, on the beach in the shade, during a family hike on a trail, under a tree when you go camping, on a farm next to a cow, when you go for a walk with your baby wrap or stroller and stop to stretch, pretty much anywhere and everywhere and anytime as long as the law protects you. Be sure to check out your state breastfeeding laws on BreastfeedingLaw.com.

1. Get Pumped!

A great way to bring your nursling to the breast is BEFORE they actually start showing signs of hunger! This way, your baby is (usually) quiet, and calm and maybe even still asleep. If you are nursing a toddler the same rules apply, but some times they may want to snuggle or play a bit before getting down to business. When you offer your breast, you are sharing your emotions as well, so often times your child will feel your tension if you are feeling nervous or scared about breastfeeding without a cover in public, and by all means if you prefer to use a cover, do so! The most important thing is that you don’t wait until your baby is screaming their head off because they may not respond very well to the breast when they are feeling anxious. Going forward, however, these are suggestions for moms looking to ditch the cover all together. 😉

Confidence is key! You decided to breastfeed you baby for a number of reasons that are natural, normal, and nutritious for your baby. Remind yourself of these things when you take your baby out and tell your baby about it! Although the conversation is one-way, there is nothing wrong with expressing yourself verbally to your baby in a calm and loving manner. Tell you child about how you know you are providing nutritious and delicious milk made specifically for them!

A little high-five, or fist pound (dap) is perfectly normal when your child gets a little older and begins to see the benefits of how your choice to nurture them make them feel.

2. Bring an Entourage

I sure hope you aren’t planning to go out all alone! If you aren’t past the 12 week mark, I suggest that you are accompanied by a family member or friend or support group to better help you to ease your way into public breastfeeding. It’s really important that we have the support of people who actually support breastfeeding in all aspects, even if they have never breastfed or have ever been exposed to it, there are many ways that they can show their support for you. They can hold the diaper bag while you soothe your baby, hold the baby or watch the stroller while you use the restroom, and even help you load shopping bags into your car while you are securing the baby’s car seat. Plus, it’s great to talk with other moms about breastfeeding while we are actually doing it! How many people do you know who would support you in this way? If you don’t know anyone, it’s definitely time to get involved in a local/online breastfeeding support group!

color_proofs_Sarah_Reiser-8846

 

(just in case you’re wondering, Yes! We did adjust the the wrap for the mama in the middle of this picture)

3. Let your Baby or Toddler take the Lead

Since you child will not always come to the breast for nourishment (food/drink) it’s incredibly important to watch and listen to your child’s feeding cues. While they are newborns this is what they will usually be wanting. As they grow up, they may become more and more distracted with life and less interested in nursing for long periods of time. Some feeding cues are baby doing the breast crawl toward your right or left side, sucking on their fist, sticking out tounge while asleep, and bobbing head on your shoulder. If your child is completely uninterested in breastfeeding then there is a reason why and they really aren’t very hungry. Feel free to wear your baby to continue to stimulate milk production until they begin to show these signs again and be sure to address it immediately.

bw_proofs_Sarah_Reiser-8796

4. Show some skin

Yea, I said it! You are a mom who has breasts for the very purpose to feed her child. If you don’t share that skin with your child just know for sure that plenty of companies will share their view of the way skin should be portrayed to your child through advertisements, media, and especially in public at the mall! That’s exactly why this is specifically about normalizing uncovered breastfeeding. Jack Newman said, “…the more people see babies at the breast the more normal it will become.” If skin to skin stimulates milk production, then it is acceptable to to wear a low cut shirt that provides better access to the breast and also to give your child a soft warm place to lay their head.

color_proofs_Sarah_Reiser-8788

5. Whip ’em out!

That’s right! Look around, no one is even watching you! Take out your breast while holding your child directly in front of your nipple and latch your baby on. Having problems latching your baby home? Follow this simple step. Once you stop moving, park the car, stop the stroller, go to the restroom; take a moment to pause and watch your baby. You will begin to see patterns that tell you your baby will be waking up soon. Instead of procrastinating, offer the breast right away. If your baby is calm, like I said before, there is a much better chance of them latch well if you catch and satisfy them during the earliest stage of hunger/thirst.

And just in case you need a little more encouragement check out this video:

“Whip ‘Em Out”

eye_contact_breastfeeding_copyright_vanessa_simmons 

ps:

I am not a doctor or even a lactation consultant, I’m just a mother offering you my thoughts.

If you think you or your baby are experiencing an emergency, or someone is hurt call 911 and consult your physician.

xo,

Vanessa

 

18
Comments
  1. Bryan says:

    I totally hear the painful feelings expressed by black women who are shamed for breastfeeding in public. Mostly the blame falls on media outlets for shaming her. No one should be made to feel ashamed of breastfeeding. That’s why I think we need to empathize with each other and not demonize each other. There are certain groups that financially/politically benefit from segregating and alienating people. We need to try to see how all women have needs and feelings can be hurt very easily. If we could just hear eachother and look at each other as human beings the world would be a better place.

  2. Mike Russell says:

    I personally think that all women should be allowed and ENCOURAGED to breastfeed. Public or private. Breastfeeding is FAR more nutritious for the baby. As a society, we have created the idea that women should keep all of their private parts hidden. As far as that goes, I agree. But we are condemning young women everywhere for simply tending to their child’s needs. Is it taboo for a gynecologist to observe your vagina? Of course not! So why should it be considered taboo to have one of your boobs out to feed and nourish your child? Besides, your child’s health and nourishment should be far more important than what narrow-minded people think.

  3. Amber says:

    All I saw in the pictures were two mothers nourishing their babies. I nursed both of mine in public. Many people were rude about it, but I just ignored them. Although I did have one woman approach me and congratulate me for being brave enough to w nurse in public. Strangely enough, the praise was unsettling, where the rude comments, stares, etc. never bothered me.

  4. Jarene says:

    Was not aware of the Australian mother, thanks for this thoughtful analysis. The cultural differences between Australians and Americans regarding breastfeeding are more vast than the differences between Black and White in the US. Thanks for doing what you do! Jarene

    1. Thanks for your feedback Jarene!

  5. Janelle says:

    Yes! All I saw was two hard-working mamas feeding their babies. Who cares where they do it or what color the breast is that feeds them? Sadly the answer to the question is still far too many people.

    1. Exactly! Thanks for reading Janelle!

    2. Si C says:

      Exactly . The setting and country make no difference or at least shouldn’t make a difference . I just saw two strong , hard working women who had got degrees while looking after young children . The pictures were so similar that they were even feeding from the same side . One baby was feeding from a black boob and the other baby was feeding from a white boob , but the most important thing was that they were doing what was natural .

  6. Dominique G says:

    This was wonderfully written. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Besides race the only issue I see here is that the U.S. has their panties in a twist and they need to get over it.

    1. Thank you! Yes, my goal was to show that even though race is an issue, there is a lot more going on here that people don’t see. “Getting over it” is extremely difficult when you’re a woman of color! I love both images, but the media is wrong for spewing hate at Karlesha, and they know it. Thanks for reading! 😉

      1. Cameron Buster says:

        I think that Dominique was saying that we, as a society, need to get over it. I wish we could get all the people who have shamed Karlesha to apologize. She is beautiful, and even more worthy of admiration BECAUSE she is single, and has accomplished her education and child – rearing On. Her. Own. This is an amazing feat, and I don’t know that I could have done it.

        I hope that Kanesha is doing well, and that this disparity shrinks. The statistics are scary, and the problem needs to be solved.

        Thank you.

      2. Si C says:

        It was ridiculous that either woman got any hate at all , but from what I read Karlesha got more . I still don’t get why in the USA people get so uptight about public breastfeeding and I agree there could have been a race issue as well . Both pictures and mothers are beautiful . If anyone was going to be offended about ‘ nudity ‘ it could be argued that Jacci had more flesh on show with her short gown and legs showing and has bigger boobs ! ( so more skin to get upset about ) .

  7. Aimee B says:

    Wonderfully stated! Both pictures are beautiful. =)

    1. Thank you! Yes they are! 🙂

  8. Lucy Mills says:

    You’re right. Australia is much more open to breastfeeding than the US. Also, it is a private photo which some people believe is more respectful.
    With that being said, I personally think it’s all the same, it’s no big deal and those women are awesome for doing the best they can for their babes!

  9. Mangie Sierra says:

    Well said! 😉

Any thoughts?

Copyright 2014-2019 Privacy Policy
Founded by Vanessa A. Simmons, CLEC, Photographer