Nursing In PublicDr. Shruti Jain
Lactation Consultant, NeoLacta Lifesciences
Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby. Babies suckle at the breast not just for nutrition but also for comfort and security. This comfort and security are even more required when the baby is surrounded by unfamiliar faces in an unfamiliar place.
However, as natural as it is, it’s not unusual to feel a bit nervous about nursing in public. Breastfeeding in public can mean breastfeeding in front of a relative or friend in your own home, or in a public place, such as a cafe or shopping centre.
It is thus, very rightly said that “A breastfeeding mother is meals on heels.”
The best part about breastfeeding is that everything you need to feed your baby is always with you, and that is you; yourself. And to top it up the food served is not just nutritious but can be served instantly and at the right temperature.
Breastfeeding doesn’t mean confinement-
New born babies need to eat very frequently. But that should not mean that a new mom and her baby should remain confined to their homes. Breastfeeding is the most natural way of feeding a baby and thus, a mother should be encouraged and appreciated for the same rather than being penalised with home confinement.
Unfortunately, a common response to breastfeeding is that it makes others feel uncomfortable. We as a society need to learn to respect this very natural process. A random stranger feeling uncomfortable should not trump the right of a baby to be fed.
Here are some tips for new moms to be better prepared for nursing their children in public enabling them to enjoy a social life and have fun while nurturing a little one.
Begin in a supportive environment-
You may find breastfeeding in public easier if you do it in a supportive environment for the first few times. Like, in front of a friend who has come to visit you or in a nearby café when you are out with your partner.
Make a list of breastfeeding friendly places-
Make a list of places where you can comfortably feed your baby. This will save you last minute hassle of running here and there with a crying baby in your arms. Before stepping out find out shopping malls/stores and restaurants/lounges which have baby feeding rooms. Most of these rooms have comfortable chairs and changing stations.
Invest in breastfeeding friendly outfits-
When it comes to choosing an outfit which is breastfeeding friendly, there are many options available, and its completely a mother’s personal choice. There are many nursing tops available with zips and Velcro’s. Other options include two t-shirt methods, wrap around style tops or a simple nursing cover or ponchos. However, for most moms, this decision is taken by the baby as it largely depends on what your baby finds more comfortable and suitable that governs your choice of clothing.
There are babies, who do not like to be fed under a cover. It’s a mother’s choice and also her right to feed her baby as and when she likes and wherever she likes.
And in the words of Cassi Clark “If we wear our nursing covers backwards like capes, then everyone can see we’re breastfeeding superheroes.”
To sum it up, the capability of breastfeeding a baby is mother nature’s most beautiful gift to a woman which should be celebrated not looked down upon”