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Breastfeeding in public

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Posted  Saturday, August 2  2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Nervous about unbuttoning your blouse in public? It’s an awkward moment for every nursing mom. Here’s how to tame the public-breastfeeding jitters.

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It’s fairly common knowledge that breastfeeding is good for babies but that doesn’t mean everyone will be happy if you start nursing your little darling in front of them.

Fortunately, there are ways to nurse your baby confidently, and confidentially, in public — even when those around you are a not-so-adoring public.

Dress for (nursing) success
Two piece outfits (no dresses, unless they have a wrap-style front or open from the front), shirts that button from the bottom up, lift up or pull to the side easily, or have hidden flaps will give baby easier access to his lunch, and grant you more privacy.

Practise
Before you head out, have your baby latch on while you watch in the mirror to see how much exposure you’re getting (or ask your partner or a friend to observe). If you’re not comfortable with full-frontal view, you can practice turning to the side until you find what angle works best.

Extra cover-up
Put a blanket, shawl, or small bed sheet over your shoulders so that it drapes over your baby’s head. Or, if you’re comfortable wearing a sling, let the baby nurse from there (use the excess material to cover up).

Comfortable place
Scout out places to nurse (ideally, before you need them). An out-of-the-way table in a restaurant (or a booth — if you can fit and maneuver comfortably), or even a quiet corner or dressing room in a department store will offer some privacy.

Keep the baby calm
Don’t let your baby get so hungry that they start to fuss and cry. It’s much easier to nurse discreetly if you’re both calm.

Lastly, remember: When it comes to breastfeeding, confidence is key — the more you do it, the less self-conscious you’ll be.

What’s your view on breastfeeding in public?

Sagaara Loiuse, farmer
There is nothing wrong with that. For me I have had six children so if I had had to dig and at the same time look for a hidden place to breast feed, how would I have managed all the housework and children plus farming. Actually when eating your meal you don’t hide it, so why should you hide the baby’s food?!

Asekenye Kate, casual labourer
I don’t think it’s necessary to breast feed in public. I would be very uncomfortable doing it, especially when there are men around. Maybe if I am in a place where I can’t find somewhere to hide like at funerals then I can breast feed in public.

Nabusayi Imelda, housewife
I am very uncomfortable with women who breast feed babies in public. I wish a law against that can be passed. Take an example of the western world, you can hardly find any woman breast feeding in public why is it the reason? Why can’t African mothers adapt it. You find some of us with very worn out breasts and yet still showing them of. Something needs to be done.