Breastfeeding is natural, but in most social situations mothers find nursing a child in public awkward and uncomfortable. Although mother’s milk is very healthy for the baby, it’s hard to always be in a private area when your baby is hungry. However, some prudent planning can make breastfeeding in public appear like the simplest and the most natural thing a mother can do.
It is the right for every baby to be fed on breast milk, and every mother has the right to nurse her infant at any time regardless of the place. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement on breast feeding strongly opines that mothers should exclusively breastfeed their newborns for the first six months, as mother’s milk has an ideal balance of nutrients and is also packed with specific proteins that help transmit immunity from infections. The following tips to breastfeeding in public will be helpful to new mothers to nurse their babies at any time and in any place.
- Nurse your baby sufficiently before going out. Study your infants eating and sleeping habits and nurse the baby based on your findings.
- If possible, take your partner or a friend with you while you venture out. It will save you from undesirable gazes from the public.
- If you are going out for long hours, think of a proper place beforehand, where you can nurse your baby after a definite interval of time before he starts crying in hunger. This will avoid unnecessary attention from public.
- Always wear a nursing bra - or easy accessible nursing garments with openings - to save you from the trouble of breastfeeding in public. Moreover, these garments will keep you unnoticed while breastfeeding.
- Put on a shirt or any light jacket - instead of shawls and blankets - while breastfeeding in public. These long blankets will make your baby uncomfortable and at the same time will draw extra public attention.
- Wear a nursing necklace so that your baby’s attention will remain on the colourful necklace and he will not try to pull down your clothing with his free hand.
- Select a comfortable position in a public place to breastfeed your newborn. Select a private corner, trial rooms or a bench where you can position yourself comfortably.
- Never shy away from undesirable public gazes. On the other hand you can ask for public co-operation while commuting in buses or trains to nurse your baby. Wear an attitude that you are carrying out the basic responsibility of a mother.
While international medical associations and professionals are widely promoting the concept of absolute breast feeding for the benefit of both the mother and the child, it is the duty of the family members and society to support and help new mothers to nurse their babies. Breastfeeding is the most natural function of a mother, which should not be looked upon as a taboo.