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How to Nurse Your Baby in Public (Without Having to Cover Up)
Does your baby or toddler constantly pull the blanket off while you breastfeed in public? Do you find yourself getting flustered as you try to latch your baby and keep the nursing cover from falling off your shoulder?
It should go without saying, but you should not be obligated to use a nursing cover for any reason but for your own personal comfort.
That said, it’s also okay to want to be discreet while breastfeeding — with or without using a blanket or nursing cover.
If your baby hates nursing covers, or they simply don’t work for you, you might be wondering how to discreetly breastfeed in public. Here are a few ideas to help you out.
Breastfeed in Public Without a Nursing Cover
Following are five simple ways to discreetly breastfeed in public (without a cover).
1. Nurse your baby in a carrier.
Yes, you can breastfeed while babywearing!
There are a few different types of baby carriers that are compatible with breastfeeding. There’s the baby wrap, the ring sling, and the soft, structured baby carrier.
So, which is best? There are a lot of amazing carriers to choose from, but the baby wrap tends to be one of the most popular carriers for nursing.
Here is a video showing you how to breastfeed in a Boba wrap:
2. Use the two-shirt method.
The two shirt method (obviously) involves wearing two shirts: a looser top over a fitted nursing camisole.
A nursing cami has clasps — the same kind found on a nursing bra — that you should be able to unclasp with one hand. Simply pull the cami down and pull your looser shirt up, so very little skin is exposed.
This method helps keep your belly warm in colder seasons (or when chilly little baby hands start to wander!). Brrr!
3. Wear a nursing scarf to breastfeed in public.
As you’re heading out the door, what better completes your outfit than a versatile nursing scarf?
A nursing scarf is simply an infinity scarf that doubles as a nursing cover. Although it was intended to cover up your baby while breastfeeding, you don’t necessarily have to use it this way.
Instead, place the fabric strategically over your chest while pulling the top of your shirt down. The scarf will give you a little extra coverage so you can discreetly breastfeed in public without a cover.
4. Invest in some nursing tops (and dresses).
Simply put, I’m obsessed with my nursing hoodie.
And my nursing dresses. (Mostly for special occasions, though, since I’m not typically a dress person.)
The two-shirt method is great, and I used it pretty much daily after having my first daughter, but this post wouldn’t be complete without giving special nursing tops a shoutout.
Nursing tops and dresses were designed with special flaps that can be moved for easy access while breastfeeding your baby or toddler. The simpler the flaps are, the easier they are to use, especially when nursing your child in public.
5. Don’t make it a big deal.
Because it really isn’t a big deal…
…you’re simply feeding your hungry child.
Often, nursing with a cover will attract more attention than nursing discreetly without a cover. With the latter, people often think you’re simply holding your sleeping baby.
(Don’t be surprised if they ask to hold your baby while you’re breastfeeding!)
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice any of the above methods at home, and you’ll eventually be able to comfortably breastfeed in public without covering up!
Trust me, you will be much more comfortable nursing in public without a cover if you practice these methods at home first.
You could even practice in front of the mirror — this will help you see how little breast is actually exposed while nursing. You can also see if you need to adjust your clothing and feel more confident in yourself.
Is It Okay to Breastfeed Without a Cover?
I’ll say it again: You should not be obligated to use a nursing cover for any reason but for your own personal comfort.
In fact, there are several reasons you might not want to cover up in public:
- Covering up while feeding your baby is HARD! Especially in the beginning when s/he is still figuring out how to latch.
- Using a cover often draws MORE attention to what you’re doing than nursing without one. Unless someone is really staring at you (which is totally weird, by the way), they will likely think you’re just holding your baby.
- Some babies won’t tolerate being covered up. Understandably so — it gets hot and uncomfortable in there!
(In the U.S.A., you have the legal right to breastfeed anywhere you’re allowed to be, although you should check your state’s laws on covering up. Some states could use a little improvement.)
Lots of nursing moms are perfectly comfortable breastfeeding in public without a cover, while others prefer to be a little more discreet.
Lots of nursing moms are perfectly comfortable breastfeeding in public without a cover, while others prefer to be a little more discreet.Click To Tweet
How Do I Hold My Baby to Breastfeed in Public?
I’ve found that the easiest position is the cradle hold when nursing my babies in public. However, you can hold your baby however you feel the most comfortable.
Again, practicing at home before going out with your baby will help you to feel more comfortable breastfeeding when you’re out and about.
One more thing: You might want to practice snapping and unsnapping your nursing bra one-handed at home, since you’ll likely have to do this while breastfeeding in public. (And it can be a little awkward until you get used to it!)
Concluding Thoughts on Ways to Discreetly Breastfeed in Public
Sometimes, I use a nursing cover. Sometimes, I don’t. It depends on how comfortable I feel in my environment, and how close of quarters I’m in with other people.
I’ve tried a lot of nursing covers and blankets, and this one is my favorite. It’s not only a nursing cover, but it can also be used as a car seat cover, stroller cover, and even a covering for high chairs and shopping carts.
A lot of places now offer nursing rooms for those who don’t feel comfortable in their environment, but don’t feel like you have to hide (especially not in the bathroom, yuck!) — and ignore any negative comments that might come your way.