Breastfeeding Out and About
Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months ensures the best outcomes for babies. Right from birth, the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service understand how important it is to ensure mothers and babies are supported to get breastfeeding off to the best possible start.
However, there are some mothers who cannot or choose not to breastfeed exclusively. In these circumstances, any breastfeeding is valuable: babies benefit from receiving the maximum amount of breastmilk possible.
Essex Healthy Family Teams support mums with helpful tips on how to breastfeed when they’re out and about in public and encourage local businesses to be breastfeeding friendly.
The Equality Act 2010 provides protection from discrimination to anyone breastfeeding in a public place such as a café, shop or public transport.
Mothers often report that they give up breastfeeding earlier than they wanted to. One of the reasons for this is because some parents say they struggle to find a place they find welcoming, to breastfeed when out and about.
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Tips for breastfeeding in public
You shouldn’t ever be made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public. Breastfeeding your baby is something to be proud of, and you shouldn’t feel the need to hide away or be discreet.
However, if being discreet is important to you, you might want to think about the following:
- Some mothers have shared that before they breastfeed in public for the first time, they practise in front of a mirror to find out exactly what can be seen. This gives them reassurance
- Breastfeeding at one of our breastfeeding support groups can help you to feel more confident as you can practise in a supportive environment and share tips with other breastfeeding mums (for more details ask at your Family Hub or speak to your healthy family support worker or health visitor)
- It’s useful to think about the clothes you wear. Some mothers choose to buy special breastfeeding tops, but wearing a simple strappy vest top as a bottom layer is also a good option. When your baby is ready to feed, stretch the vest top underneath your breast, and lift up your top layer. This means that all your tummy and back are covered by the vest top, and the top of your breast is covered by the top layer. Once the baby is attached, there is nothing to see!
- Some mothers find using a muslin or scarf as an additional cover helps them to feel more secure. Mothers also find they can feed their babies while holding them in a sling
- Being aware of your baby’s cues can help you to respond to your baby before they cry. Feeding your before baby before they cry means that less people notice what you are doing
Remember – breastfeeding your baby is completely normal.