Tips for Nursing in Public

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about nursing in public. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!

Nursing your child in public is a learned art. I admit that I didn’t nurse in public much with my first child because I was intimated by it. But now with child #3, it’s an everyday occurrence! I even nurse while playing the piano in front of an audience! Here are some tips that I’ve learned.

1. Clothing – You’ve got to wear clothing that you feel comfortable in.

Nursing shirts – You can buy nursing shirts or tanks if you can afford it. I longingly look at those nursing shirt catalogs but still have never purchased any.

Belly Bands – These are tubes of fabric around your middle. They work nicely so that you don’t feel vulnerable exposing your post-partum belly. I again didn’t buy any, but made some! Just get an old tight shirt (baby tee) and cut the top off!

Tank tops – I didn’t want to buy expensive nursing tanks so I found some regular adjustable strap tanks with a built in bra. The fabric is stretchy enough for me to pull down from the top to nurse.

Jackets – If the season permits, jackets, blazers & shrugs are a great way to nurse discreetly. It covers your lifted up shirt from behind and also keep you and the child warm.

Nursing pads – Invest in some good quality nursing pads, whether cloth or disposable. Then you won’t worry about leaking through your shirt.

2. Practice – Practice makes perfect.

Use mirrors and cameras — Practice in front of a mirror, or take pictures to see what you look like. Do you feel uncomfortable because certain areas of your skin are exposed? How can you help that? Is your child in a good position?

La Leche League — La Leche League meetings are a great place to learn how to nurse with others around you. You can get additional support and create your breastfeeding community.

Family and Friends — Casual meetings with family & friends are good places to practice. You can even let them know that you are trying to figure this out and they can help you too.

3. Cover? – Sometimes, all the time, or never. It’s up to you.

All the time – A trendy thing right now is to use a nursing cover. I think these are good for those who want them. I use a ring sling to help me nurse in public since I can be hands free. I nurse my child in the ring sling almost every day and I think most people don’t even know that I’m nursing. The trick to nursing in the sling is to loosely put the sling on, latch the child on, and then tighten the top rail of the sling, then the bottom rail of the sling. You still might need to hold their head a little depending on your size and the child’s size, but you’re essentially hands free.

Sometimes – You can cover up at the beginning while you’re getting the child latched on, then take off the covering to enjoy eye contact and breathability.

Never – The Utah state law allows women to breastfeed in public without needing to be covered.

Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-1229.5 A woman’s breast feeding, including breast feeding in any location where the woman otherwise may rightfully be, does not under any circumstance constitute a violation of this part, irrespective of whether or not the breast is covered during or incidental to feeding.

Don’t worry and be comfortable. Remember that the beauty of nursing is that you can “just nurse” anywhere without needing any other equipment.

4. Don’t wait until your child is too hungry or needy

Hungry – When you child is an exclusively breastfed infant, don’t wait until he/she is screaming to be fed. It’s much harder to get the baby latched on when they are screaming and it draws attention to you and the situation. It will just make you more frustrated and/or embarrassed.

Needy – Nursing is not just breastfeeding. Many children need to nurse for comfort. When your child is needy, stop whatever you’re doing and nurse. These precious moments will fade away all too quickly. Considering their expected life span, nursing is such a small percentage of their life yet worth so much more.

Today’s guest blogger is Heather Hendriksen. Heather currently serves as the Treasurer of the Utah Breastfeeding Coalition.  She is a stay-at-home mother of 3 boys. She was an active member of La Leche League for many years, and loves baby wearing.


 Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.


Filed under Nursing in Public

3 responses to “Tips for Nursing in Public

  1. Thanks for these tips. Many of them echo what we do in our family. 🙂

  2. theadventuresoflactatinggirl

    I love nursing tank tops! I just buy cheap ones from Target.

  3. Pingback: Nursing in Public-Not a Big Deal. | Natural Urban Mama

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