I used to dread nursing in public, but the alternative was never leaving the house for more than 2 hours at a time so I eventually got used to it. Here are a few tips I picked up along the way:
- Nursing tops aren’t necessary, but they are nice to have. If you have the money, invest in at least a few nursing tops. I have only one, but I love it. It’s a V-neck tee from Motherhood Maternity, and is basically one shirt sewn on top of the other. You pull the top shirt up to expose a slit for your breast in the bottom shirt when you want to nurse. It’s very easy to stay covered up with my nursing top. (Note: Motherhood appears to only sell nursing bras online, but they have a small selection of tops in stores.)
- Loose T-shirts are easier to nurse in than blouses. Before Alex was born, someone had suggested I wear a button-down shirt and unbutton from the bottom when I wanted to nurse. I tried it and hated it. I felt quite exposed, and it was a huge pain buttoning and unbuttoning the shirt while holding a newborn. Instead, I came to favor loose V-neck T-shirts (I own about six of these shirts from Target). I just pull up the side that I’m nursing on just enough for Alex to get a latch and hold Alex close to me.
- Don’t cover up with a blanket. I dispensed with the blanket over the shoulder pretty early on because I felt like I was wearing a sign that screamed “nursing mom.” As long as I pull my shirt up just far enough for Alex to get a latch, there’s nothing to see, and to a casual passerby, I look like I’m just cradling my baby.
- Practice. I learned to nurse in public in a very safe environment, namely among the other moms in our playgroup. Sometimes we were at someone’s house, other times we were out as a group. Nursing in public with a bunch of other nursing moms is much less intimidating than doing it alone.