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Become a Badass Public Breastfeeder in 7 Days: Day 3 – Your Environment

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding in public. Your Environment 

We have taken that first step to walking outside with our baby knowing that she will be hungry and want to breastfeed while we are outside. Now we can get down to real NIP business. You might be concerned that you are going to have a negative experience. This concern is normal and understandable in a culture where women have been harassed for this. These incidents are not common and you are not likely to be harassed when you NIP. However, you might find it helpful to start out in a place where you are almost guaranteed to have a positive experience. This way you can get your feet wet and gain a little confidence in a safe place. A breastfeeding friendly baby boutique is a place where you are sure to welcome. Often they even have comfy chairs or couches and pillows for you to sit and breastfeeding apparel and merchandise that you can look at while you nurse your baby. Stores like Buy Buy Baby or Babies R Us are likely to have a comfy space set up for nursing mamas. You can attend a La Leche League meeting with other breastfeeding mothers. You might also find it helpful to practice these tips in front of a mirror or with a friend so that by the time you are in public you can complete them with ease. Now you are in public, you are breastfeeding and you are in a safe place gaining confidence! Practice, practice, practice.


Getting comfortable

Being comfortable is as important as anything else you will learn on your breastfeeding journey. Babies are little sponges. They can sense when you are uneasy or fidgeting or unsettled. This can cause your baby to become distracted, struggle to latch on and cause you even more stress when out about in public. I will spend today discussing ways to get comfortable in public taking into consideration every obstacle I can think of.


Take a load off

Unless you are a seasoned babywearer and can latch your baby on while they are in a baby carrier then you will probably want to be able to sit down. I have sat just about everywhere: display furniture at a store, lounge chairs in a restaurant, the steps of a church, under a tree, the bench at the front of the grocery store, a bus stop and the middle of the sidewalk. Don’t be afraid to sit down on something, anything. If you happen to be somewhere and you can’t find a seat then ask. You will likely find yourself on a comfy couch you didn’t know was there.

Once you are seated you might miss that big Boppy pillow that you have at home. No worries, lots of things can double as a prop for under your arm. Try your purse, a rolled up coat, a diaper bag, your partner’s knee or the blanket you were planning to cover with.



Living in Chicago I get a crash course in weather conditions every year. I have had to deal with 100 degree humid days and -10 degree biting cold. When the weather is this extreme I tend to stay inside for everyone’s safety. However, on the less extreme days I dress the part and step outside. If you are inside somewhere then you have less to worry about, but if you are out in the elements then you might find some of these tips helpful.

When it’s hot outside you can wear a thin tank top. That way when it is time to nurse you can just pull it down under your breast. If you are looking to be less exposed then try 2 light tank tops. You can pull the top one up over your breast and the bottom down under your breast so that very little is showing and what is showing will be covered by your baby’s head. You can also drape a light blanket over your shoulder, but be sure there is enough air getting back there so the air your baby breathes stays cool and fresh. A sun hat for baby works great as a way to cover up a bit more of your chest and breast as well! Don’t forget the sunscreen for your chest! It’s also a good idea to always have water. You can get spray bottles with a fan attached to keep cool.

When it’s getting chilly out, but you still want to go to the park there are things you can do to stay warm. You can still wear that big cozy sweater, but add a tank top or another shirt that you can pull down underneath it. That way your belly stays warm. You’ll need to open your jacket in order to get your breast out, so make sure to bring a scarf to cover your exposed neck and chest against the chill.

Getting and staying latched can be difficult in public with a distractible baby. Once babies get to a certain age they want to see all the exciting things going on around them. Their attention is being drawn in every direction that they hear a sound or see something fun. There is nothing wrong with your baby. This is normal and a healthy developmental milestone. This is a situation that might have you wanting to find a less happening part of wherever you are. Take your time, walk around, see if there is a location with less going on. You might also try wearing jewelry. Necklaces and bracelets can help a baby stay at your breast while she fiddles with the fun toys attached to mommy.  You might also try to turn to the side so that your baby can see what is going on while she nurses. This might help to satisfy her desire to watch and eat at the same time. You can try a cover or light blanket to help block off the world for your baby for a few minutes so that they can get done eating and get back to playing more quickly. If you are able to nurse in a carrier such as the Ergo, you can try putting the hood up to create a more peaceful eating experience.


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