Having a newborn can be tough—but figuring out how to feed her when you're on the go is even tougher! Unless you want to confine yourself to the house, at some point you're going to have to nurse in public. And that can be hard, especially if you’re still getting the hang of the process. But there’s no reason to feel like you need to pump a bottle every time you leave the house. You can make the process easier by planning ahead (and investing in the right products). After nursing four children—and going through all the ups and downs of the experience—here are my seven best tips for breastfeeding comfortably in public.
This is not the time to be wearing your tightest turtleneck—even if you look fantastic in it. If you know you’re going to need to nurse while you’re out, choose clothing that allows for easy access to the girls. Invest in a few great nursing tanks and bras—be sure to try them on before purchasing. And don’t worry—there’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars in nursing-specific clothing. In fact, you probably have items in your closet that are perfect for public nursing! A button down or cardigan layered over a nursing tank works just as well as any expensive top.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that comfort often equals successful breastfeeding. When you’re stressed or anxious, it’s more difficult for your baby to latch (and let’s be honest, you just won’t enjoy the experience as much!). Luckily, so many places are now nursing-friendly—and offer private rooms for mothers who want to breastfeed (I’ve even noticed pods while traveling in the airport!). And remember to think outside of the box—sometimes, a semi-private bench or seat will give you the right amount of quiet space to bond with your baby. There’s even an app that can help you find nearby nursing rooms and lactation pods (over 5000 of them across the country!).
With a little practice, you can breastfeed in most baby carriers or slings (I know—I’ve done it!). The biggest benefit to this? You can be hands-free (and get some multi-tasking done). Before purchasing any carrier, do your research. A carrier is one of the most useful baby essentials, but it needs to work for your lifestyle and little one. Look online and talk to other moms. I used to love breastfeeding my littles in an Ergobaby carrier. Nursing or not, as a new mom you're going to find that wearing your baby is super convenient (and an excellent way to fit in some snuggle time!).
After my third daughter was born, I was the mother of two toddlers and a newborn (I know….eeek!). It was a handful, to say the least. And every time I sat down to nurse, my older daughters would look for attention, or get themselves into trouble (naturally!). I didn’t want to confine us all to the house, so I searched for a cover that would offer full coverage and allow me to nurse comfortably while in public. When I couldn’t find something perfect, I created the first Covered Goods® prototype. The next day, I took all three girls to Disneyland and was—for the first time ever—able to breastfeed with ease on a park bench! Women were literally coming up to me in the park and asking where I had purchased my cover. At that moment, I knew I was onto something.
A Covered Goods® cover is the perfect product for any new (or even seasoned!) mother. Our covers are soft and stretchy, and offer full 360 degree coverage. The won’t bunch or ride up—ideal for moms who will be nursing on the go. We even hear from women who say they use our covers for privacy while pumping! I hear from so many women that this is one of the best baby products they've purchased.
Like anything else, there’s a learning curve to nursing in public. And as they say, practice makes perfect! Once you’ve got your carrier and your cover, spend some time using them at home. You’ll figure out a routine that feels comfortable, and it will be that much easier when you decide to step outside.
There’s no shame in asking for help—particularly when you’re working on breastfeeding. Life with a newborn can be lonely enough—look for the right kind of support that will help you on your breastfeeding journey. Ask for a lactation consult in the hospital and research a local consultant near you. It always helps to have someone nearby who’s educated in case you run into any difficulties.
Unfortunately, there are always going to be people who make comments. By knowing the law, you can support the rights of breastfeeding mothers everywhere. Forty-nine states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically protect women breastfeeding in public or private. Now that you're living with a newborn, surround yourself with friends and family members who share the same ideals as you, and don’t be afraid to educate those who are uninformed. As a mom, it’s your baby’s health that matters most—not what other people think.
Whether you’re a new mom or one who’s more experienced, we’d love to hear what you have to add! And don’t forget to browse our shop page to see what Covered Goods® pattern will work for you. XO