Top things you need for breastfeeding in public

The best thing about breastfeeding is that you conveniently have everything you need for feeding time with you, readily available and at the right temperature, regardless of if you’re at home or out and about. Yet breastfeeding in public, whether you prefer to do it openly or discreetly, can take some time getting used to and can make some moms feel a bit uncomfortable.

Feeling nervous about nursing in public is normal, especially if you’re new to the practice. Places that are feeding-friendly or ones that offer quiet and private baby feeding rooms will help make the transition easier for you while providing a supportive environment. Nonetheless, if you suffer from first-time jitters or are concerned about others’ reactions, an ounce of preparation can help you feel comfortable on your next breastfeeding outing.

Things to consider before breastfeeding in public

Practice

Practicing breastfeeding in public for the first time can be nerve-wracking; however, more experienced moms suggest that practicing at home in front of a mirror can help calm your nerves and realize it just takes a few tries to become more comfortable.

Your introduction to public breastfeeding can also be made easier if you go to supportive environments for the first few times until you and your baby get more acclimated. Mother and baby groups are a safe space that offer community support and tips for more successful latching if you’re hesitant to practice on your own.

Clothing

There are many options available for clothing items that help support breastfeeding in general, but if you plan on doing so in public often, it’s wise to invest in a few pieces of nursing wear to help feeding time go a lot smoother. However, you don’t need to stock up on more maternity wear, even if it’s specified for breastfeeding — instead, layering two of your normal tops together can achieve the same effect.

Blouses, tank tops and dresses with front button or zip closures provide the easiest access, as well as camisoles and open-side tops. Wraparound clothing pieces such as a large scarf or shawl are also ideal since they can be used as a makeshift cover or sling and can be pulled down or to the side whenever necessary.

Since some babies don’t enjoy being covered up while feeding, a sling or baby carrier that’s open-facing is a great alternative to denser cover-ups and will provide both you and the baby with a bit more privacy than other clothing pieces. If you decide to use one, make sure it’s breathable and spacious enough for feeding purposes.

Planning ahead

Before you decide to venture out with your baby to new places, make a list beforehand of public feeding-friendly businesses near you, so you don’t have to scramble to find a place to privately nurse. Typically, when you visit a shopping mall or department store, they have rooms specifically designated for breastfeeding mothers. 

Baby clothing shops also provide private baby-feeding rooms that have changing facilities available and nursing stations. Other places you can try are cafes, hotel lounges, community centers, libraries, museums and parks. Likewise, asking other local parents for advice on the best places they found for public nursing and joining online support groups can help you figure out which places near you offer the best accommodations.

Rights and laws

Even if you’re not aware of the exact breastfeeding laws in your area, you can do some online research through government or public health websites. In several countries around the world, you’re legally allowed to breastfeed in any public or open space that you desire.

If you happen to run into someone in public who complains about you breastfeeding, you can simply remind them of your legal rights. If a business such as a restaurant or store discriminates against you by asking you not to breastfeed, you can make an official complaint against the establishment so that you and other mothers’ rights remain protected.

Top products for breastfeeding in public

Best nursing pillow

Boppy Anywhere Nursing Pillow

Boppy Anywhere Nursing Pillow

You can comfortably nurse your newborn anywhere, whether you’re on the go or simply sitting at home. Made from 71% polyester and 29% rayon, Boppy’s nursing pillow features uncompromising ergonomic support for both baby and mother and can be adjusted from petite to plus-size thanks to its open design. Its unique shape and stretchy adjustable cloth belt can further accommodate any feeding style preference. If the exterior fabric becomes dirty, you can run it through the delicate cycle on your washing machine. 

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Best baby sling

Boba Wrap Baby Carrier

Boba Wrap Baby Carrier

Available in a variety of cute patterns and colors, Boba’s infant sling is made from ultra-soft and breathable cotton material that’s both stretchy and machine-washable. You can easily wrap your baby in an ergonomic seat of sorts that helps equally distribute the weight of the wearer and baby while offering additional knee support. Its easy tie feature helps the sling act as a privacy shield each time you need to nurse your baby. 

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Best nursing bra

HOFISH 3 Pack Seamless Clip Nursing Bra

HOFISH 3 Pack Seamless Clip Nursing Bra

Featuring a stylish V-neck design, this nursing bra makes breastfeeding a lot easier thanks to the fabric’s breathability and comfort level. Its unique padding also helps support different breast sizes comfortably. You can conveniently use one hand to open and close the bra’s front latch for quicker access during feeding time. The entire set includes three different colored nursing bras, three matching bra extenders and three extra bra strap clips in case any become loose or disappear in the wash.  

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Best diaper bag

Lulyboo Diaper Bag Backpack

Lulyboo Diaper Bag Backpack

Considered to be the first of its kind, the Lulyboo Diaper Bag can be used as a backpack that carries essentials, a stroller caddy and as a changing station all rolled into one. Innovative in its design, this bag allows you to reach baby bottles, your keys or smartphone, which encourages a more hands-free experience when out and about. The interior features adjustable storage shelves that can be attached and detached accordingly, and insulated side pockets that keep bottles warm throughout your day.  

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Best nursing dress

OUGES Women’s Solid/Floral Nursing Gown

OUGES Women’s Solid/Floral Nursing Gown

Soft, elastic, light and breathable, this nursing dress features three-quarter sleeves, an empire waistline and knee length. Its double layer design allows you to quickly feed your baby as soon as they become fussy, thanks to the ease of access. The stretchy fabric also allows for a more flexible fit for pregnant and postpartum comfort. 

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Best nursing top

Bearsland Women's 3-Pack Maternity Nursing Tops

Bearsland Women’s 3-Pack Maternity Nursing Tops

Each set comes with a selection of complementary colors that you can choose from, based on your own fashion preference. Its double front layer feature allows each top to be easily lifted up for breastfeeding, while also providing privacy for Mom. The shirt’s material isn’t too heavy, so you can comfortably layer these shirts underneath other clothing pieces while pairing them with a nice pair of jeans or leggings.  

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Best nursing cover

LUCINE Baby Nursing Cover & Nursing Poncho

LUCINE Baby Nursing Cover & Nursing Poncho

This multipurpose cover is great for use as either a car seat canopy or cover, privacy cover during breastfeeding, a light blanket or as a diaper changing sheet. Offering 360-degree privacy coverage, its poncho design gives any breastfeeding mother the full coverage necessary for a private nursing session when breastfeeding in public. 

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Best nipple protector

Medela Contact Nipple Shield for Breastfeeding

Medela Contact Nipple Shield for Breastfeeding

Made specifically to address any issues a breastfeeding mother may encounter such as nipple soreness or latching difficulties, these nipple shields come in a variety of sizes and are made from ultra-thin yet soft silicone. The cutout design helps encourage skin contact between you and your baby and doesn’t hinder bonding time at all. The kit comes with a carrying case and two portable contact shields. 

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Best pacifier

Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier

Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier

Sometimes finding the perfect moment or right time to breastfeed in public can become quite the task, but luckily there’s a way to soothe your baby before you find a better time — enter the pacifier. Made from BPA-free material, this version from Philips is uniquely designed not to interfere with your baby’s teeth and gum development, so you don’t have to worry about your baby sucking on one for too long. 

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Best baby bib

Tiny Twinkle Mess-Proof Full-Sleeved Bib

Tiny Twinkle Mess-Proof Full-Sleeved Bib

Messes and stains can happen, but thanks to this comfy bib made from 100% polyester, your baby’s arms and upper torso are covered during breastfeeding. Lightweight and waterproof, each one has a front flip pocket capable of catching most spills and dropped food. Its tug-proof closure is soft and doesn’t have a cumbersome back hook like others. 

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Ashton Hughes writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

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