Breastfeeding is not without its challenges, and one of the main obstacles is often to do with feeding in public. Fear of being judged and accidental exposure can lead many mums to, at worst, avoid feeding publicly entirely, and at best, shroud or hide themselves away out of potential eye shot. Neither case is conducive to the most important cornerstone of breastfeeding... a relaxed, happy mum. If mum is feeling stressed, embarrassed or anxious, chances are baby will know about it too.
So how can the issue of feeding fear be overcome?
From personal experience, the preoccupation I had with trying to avert ‘boob slips’ didn’t prevail to the same extent when feeding my second child as it did with the first. Perhaps this a side effect of the natural lack of peripheral awareness that comes from having a toddler to keep an eye on whilst trying to breastfeed at the same time? Everyone or nobody could be looking, and the constant distraction means I rarely notice either way. An alternative explanation to this secondary sense of apathy to public opinion when it comes to breastfeeding is less simplistic, but equally valid. It likely has more to do with the emotional and perspective changes that becoming a seasoned mum ensues.
So, if there was anything I could tell my first time breastfeeding self, it would be this.
They’re just breasts
As Julia Roberts once said in Notting Hill... they’re just breasts. If there is one thing that labour, birth and breastfeeding succeed at, it is making you less prudish when it comes to body parts, boobs included.
Assume the best
While there are people who will judge and comment on breastfeeding, the majority are supportive and will be as unfazed by the sight of a breastfeeding mum as they are the next person.
Don’t confuse curiosity with critique
Not everyone who looks has a negative opinion. Some are curious, some may be reminiscing about their own breastfeeding journey...there are all manner of possibilities, and assuming the best until proven otherwise is always a positive and helpful approach.
These can be stressful. Fumbling around under a cloth trying to get a confused baby latched is a deterrent in itself. A simple solution is a giant muslin or scarf over one shoulder then draped over baby for the perfect breathable, easily removable coverage solution.
Some nursing clothes are definitely better than others for feeding confidence. Botton front is useful, but high exposure given the whole breast is revealed. A flap design such as The B Shirt, which reveals only enough for feeding purposes is an ideal solution to feeding confidently when out and about.
Our 'brelfie' gallery mums give their advice for breastfeeding confidence (click pictures to read):