40 moms share tips & words of encouragement on how to breastfeed in public fearlessly

Breastfeeding in public for the first time can be VERY daunting. It was for me! I was terrified of getting called out by a stranger. I would literally think about all the possible clap-backs I could dish out to the breastfeeding haters, while nursing my baby at 2AM.

LOL. #momlife 😅

I am happy to report that after almost 3 years and 2 babies later, I’ve never had to use one of my clap-backs. 🙂

Unfortunately I’ve heard about moms all over the world getting shamed and publicly humiliated for nursing their babies in public.

So I had to make this post!

I surveyed 40 fearless moms and they were all super awesome and agree to share their secret tips and words of encouragement on how to breastfeed in public fearlessly!

If you’re feeling worried and super self-conscious about it all, KEEP CALM! This post on how to breastfeed in public fearlessly was written with you in mind. ❤️

Note: Make sure you get to the end where I share great breastfeeding resources. 😉

40 moms share tips & words of encouragement on how to breastfeed in public fearlessly

  • Remember you are feeding your baby, and most would much rather a happy fed baby then a screaming starving one. So whip it out and feed on mama! Yanna
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  • Just do it. However and where ever it works for you and your babe. People are much less judgmental (and nosy) than you’d expect. The more you do it the more comfortable you’ll feel about breastfeeding in public.
    .You might find that it’s less stressful and more convenient than packing bottles, keeping milk cold, measuring formula, or having engorged breasts while you’re out too! Amber
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  • My advice would be…everyone’s got breasts-yours are just being more useful at the moment (so joking)… But really I would say, start somewhere that’s less congested with people and slowly work your way to other spots. Like a park where there are other moms or the library during story time. NO need to jump right out there at the local super market or coffee shop right away! Be confident…you’re doing a WONDERFUL thing that some women aren’t able to do. – Courtney
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  • One thing I realized early (thank God) is that people will always judge your decisions or at least you’ll always feel judged so stop caring what people think and just do what you feel is right. It’s a mindset thing where the only thing stopping you or making you feel uncomfortable is your mind. Also, it’s easier for people to question you and make snide remarks when you appear to be lacking confidence in your decision so become a proud mama, keep your eyes locked on your baby’s loving gaze while you nurse and everything else will fade away. – Lily
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  • Just find a quiet spot, use a cover up if you want and feed your baby. If you are afraid of what others think, remember that your baby crying from hunger draws way more attention than quietly going about your business breastfeeding. If you are still unsure remind yourself that it’s no ones business how you decide to feed your hungry baby. – Lauren
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    Breastfeeding essential: Aden + Anais silky soft swaddle baby blanket – multipurpose and super light. Can be used as a cover-up. I have a ton of these. Loooove.

  • My advice is to be confident. I continue to carry on conversation and maintain eye contact all while latching and feeding. Smile at anyone who makes eye contact with you.I’ve had waiters maintain conversation with me all while nursing!
    Oh, and KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
    You are legally allowed to feed your child in public.
    I have personally been lucky in that no one has ever had a negative reaction to me feeding in public, but it’s important to know your rights just in case.  – Christie
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  • I was SO nervous about this! It was really hard for me. I am quite modest, even at home. So for me, the best way to ease into it was to practice at home as IF I were in public. Most often at home, especially when Owen was young, I just went to my son’s room or it was just my husband and me so I was in relaxing clothes.
    But when I was going stir crazy stuck in the house in the winter with a baby who wouldn’t take a bottle, I started practicing at home wearing a nursing bra and tank top with a regular shirt over top.
    Practicing the logistics of how to move my clothing, my son, and to use a cover made me more confident in getting the latch, nursing, and cleaning up afterward while maintaining the modesty that felt comfortable to me. – Leah
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    The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class

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  • I’d guess 90% of people think it’s beautiful and may glance to give you looks of encouragement even though if you’re self conscious, it just feels like judgmental stares.Let go of projecting that out to others because it’s really only 10% are offended and these are the types ALWAYS looking to feel that way so disregard. If it’s offensive their head has another 350° it can spin to.
    – Jaysa
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  • Feed baby when baby is hungry because nothing is more heart-wrenching than seeing your baby cry to no end because you’re not in private. Your job is to protect and provide for baby not strangers around you. Some may judge, give nasty looks, or even comments but tell them to Mind Their Tits and Nurse on! – Courtney
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  • Real life public breastfeeding is much easier than what it looks like online. In real life the people that don’t agree for the most part look away. Occasionally you’ll get the familiar smile from another parent. One that’s reminiscing or one you’ve inspired. They make it worth it. – Sabrina
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  • The law protects you so no one can say anything to you. You have to make a decision to comfortable and conveniently feed your baby or make the people around you comfortable.
    .I’m not going to let my baby be hungry to avoid making someone else uncomfortable. My baby’s comfort comes first and food is a basic human necessity. – Jenn
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  • What helped me feel confident breastfeeding in public was wearing clothes that provided easy access and carried a lightweight nursing cover. – Hannah
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  • When choosing between the comfort of your child and the comfort of strangers. Always choose your child. Strangers can look away but your child can’t stop being hungry. – Margot
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Breastfeeding essential: Super-absorbent organic burp cloths – nursing babies can be a little unpredictable. Keep things nice and clean with these.

    • Connect with breastfeeding groups and start breastfeeding in front of people you feel safe around. – Saundra
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    • Understand that if you are nervous, it’s probably not going to be comfortable the first time. It may never be something you feel totally comfortable with. Push through and take care of your baby.
      Remind yourself that your first priority is that baby, and understand that your baby’s needs may not always align with what society thinks you should be doing. Giving myself that reminder was the push for me to feed my baby regardless of the company. – Audrey
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    • It’s not easy when you are being judged by words or stares. Remember that you do this for your baby. And by normalizing breastfeeding we can help keep our daughters from experiencing the same struggles. – Janutka
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    • It’s not your business to convince anyone, to argue with them, to prove your point. The law backs you, so smile and feed your baby. Luckily I’ve never got into a fight with someone who asked me to feed my child in the toilet. I said, “No, that’s disgusting. I need a safe, clean place to sit down. Thank you.” Remember that a gentle answer turns away wrath, stay calm and polite.
      – Marie

      Breastfeeding essential: Ultra soft nursing tank top – comfortable and helps make breastfeeding in public super easy and discreet for your own comfort.

    • Lots of people won’t notice, especially if you don’t use a cover. And of the few people who can’t help staring, most are just interested, not upset. Also, start nursing in public as early as possible, because while people might be bothered by you nursing a three year old in public, everyone understands that newborns just need to be fed all the time. – Freida
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    • Just do it. Would you rather your baby starve because someone else might feel uncomfortable? – Dela
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    • Find some fellow breastfeeding mums and all bf together in public… A bf club! Or else invest in some breastfeeding covers or scarves until you are more comfortable. I found that helped, especially in places you knew people would judge you. – Rachel
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    • Figure out how to breastfeed without flashing your boobs! If you can hold your baby in front of your breast while you unclip you will minimize flesh exposure. Not that there’s anything wrong with boobs – it’s just that many of us like to keep them private!
      And remember that there are not very many nasty people out there so you probably won’t meet one. Feed that baby, mama! – Sheena
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    • To not make your decisions on what you are doing for your child based on others opinions or judgment. That in order to keep your sanity you don’t need to put others needs/opinions first. You are the best mom for your baby doing the absolute best for them. If you they’re hungry. Feed them! No matter where you are. – Lindsey
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      Breastfeeding essential: Disposable nursing pads – stay dry with these super discreet, leak-proof, and waterproof breast pads!

    • Set up a makeshift nursing station in the car, use your stroller to create an additional layer of privacy, or check the facilities for a mother’s lounge. Whatever you do, don’t give up on breastfeeding in public out of fear or anxiety! Erin
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    • You WILL get that voice inside your head telling you this is a bad idea for whatever reason. Tell it to shut up. That voice is the biggest hater of all, and if you can put THAT in its place, you can put ANYONE in their place (thought you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that you probably won’t have to. Jalina
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    • Find a nursing mom friend and do it together. The first time I nursed in public was with two mom friends at a local mall. – Erin
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    • Feed your baby! Do whatever makes you comfortable! Want to cover up? Great. Your baby hates to be under a cover? Great. You are more comfortable giving bottles out in public? Great. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should feed your baby. Feed your baby and do it with confidence! Nicole
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    • Like anything that makes you nervous, the more you do it, the more comfortable you will get. It’s like exposure therapy (pardon the pun). If you want, find a cover that works well for you and practice at home.
      Also if you’re super nervous get a supportive mom friend to come with you the first time you breastfeed in public, whether you’re at the park or a coffee shop. Once you’re comfortable with the support of a friend, you could try when you’re on your own with babe.Suchot
      .

      Breastfeeding essential: Organic Nipple Butter – cracked, sore, worn-out nipples are not fun at all. Give your nipples some TLC with this. 

    • After giving birth in a room full of doctors and nurses and interns and NICU teams, nursing in a diner in front of the red hat ladies seems like no big deal (and definitely more modest!). At the end of the day, breast feeding in public is a personal choice – that person being you: not the gawkers, not the naysayers, and not the legislators.
      If you feel comfortable showing a little boob to get your baby fed, then do it!
      I nurse in public without a cover often, especially on our walks through the park. #squirrelsdontjudge The two shirt method has been my go to while out and about. I also use the diaper bag as a pillow to give us a little extra support. – Jena
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    • There is such a negative stigma surrounding public breastfeeding. We need to be more assertive about making our selfless act a normal course of action. Breastfeeding is a natural part of life, but we have allowed society to dictate that it’s shameful.
      Personally, I did not care who was around when I nursed my child. I have the right to feed my child and a public restroom does not work for me. There is strength in numbers.
      We, as women, are more powerful than those who have associated breastfeeding as a sexual act rather than a normal part of life. Nursing covers, nursing shirts, or receiving blankets are an option…but a fearless attitude is all you need. – Jenelle
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    • I drove myself crazy sitting at home because I didn’t want to go anywhere in case I needed to feed my child. Yesterday I had enough and decided after 3 months I would go out to dinner and to the grocery store with my husband.
      I brought my nursing cover and ended up walking through Costco feeding baby. I may have felt a little awkward but I just didn’t make eye contact with anyone and it felt so freeing being able to actually go out! – Amanda
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    • If you act like it’s no big deal, the less people will notice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been nursing and people have tried to see my son.
      I’ve had to stop them before they distract him and get a full show. Two shirt method or nursing shirt all the way. – Jasmine
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    • My daughter was born premature and getting a good latch was very difficult for a long time. There was no way that I could do it under a cover and I did not want to stay cooped up in my house.
      Also, I plan on breastfeeding for the first year and hope to have 3-4 kids. I couldn’t imagine hiding myself in a bathroom for 3-4 years of my life to feed my baby. When baby is hungry, I feed her. It helps to wear clothes out that are easy and comfortable to nurse in. I got more comfortable nursing in public each time. – Fiona
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      Breastfeeding essential: My Brest Friend Original Nursing Posture Pillow – practice proper positioning in comfort and style with this popular nursing pillow

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    • My LO gets too sweaty under covers and blankets so I only wear a nursing tank under my shirt/sweatshirt so we’ve got a nice little situation where I can sneak up my top but the rest of my body is still covered and most of the time you can’t even tell she’s nursing.
      Sometimes if I’m feeling like people are eyeing me I’ll use a blanket over us to get set up and then remove it once she’s latched.
      Truly the thing that worked for me was getting the first nursing in public session out of the way. Once you do the first you’ll have more confidence! – Hillary
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    • A few actual nursing tops are very helpful. We don’t cover as it made it a lot more difficult in the beginning, so having shirts that are designed to not show much helped a lot.
      Also, you just have to do it. The more you try and the more comfortable you are in general with breast feeding, the easier it gets. – Solange
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    • When LO was smaller I just needed a place to sit and I would prop one leg on top of the other to support his top half. Covers just add a lot of hassle. Now that he is heavier, a cover is impossible to use without my nursing pillow.
      I need both eyes and hands on him to keep him from flopping around. in public I wear two shirts (one being stretchy enough to pull down) and a nursing bra.
      It still feels very awkward because I have short arms and a huge baby but we make it work. if you have a spitter bring a blanket for your lap or arm. – Sara
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    • My advice is to know your state’s laws regarding breastfeeding in public so if someone were to approach you, you can inform them of your rights and stand your ground. Also, always have a cover and/or swaddle blanket with you to cover up.
      Do not worry about what other people may think; you would be surprised how most people won’t think anything of you nursing in public! Always remember that you are doing what you need to do to ensure your baby is fed and healthy; your little one is your priority! – Melissa
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    • It’s 100% legal in all 50 US states to breastfeed in public 😊💕 I’m a pretty modest person in general, but when it comes to feeding my baby I am NOT going to a nasty public restroom, I don’t want to sit on the commode to pee let alone sit there to feed my son.
      I’ll tie a muslin wrap around my neck and cover me and the baby wherever we are. I’ve never gotten any dirty looks, but I’m also not paying attention to passerbyers… I’m either paying attention to the baby or multitasking on my phone. Breast feeding is hard and what we are doing is so good for our babies! You are a good momma! – Rachel
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    • Sometimes I even joke that I’m just giving my baby “a little snack.” And the on lookers will just laugh. If you act approachable and confident it goes smoothly. (I also use the 2 shirt method to minimize skin showing). – India
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    • Just focus on your baby. Don’t pay too much attention to the people around you. Do people’s opinions really matter? To me, no. What matters most to me is making sure my kids is fed in a timely manner. Just whip out the boob and feed.
      A crying baby draws a lot more attention than a nursing one anyway so mama, just do it! – Sierra
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What’s been your experience with breastfeeding in public?
Comment below!

Comments

  1. Maria@everydaymomsquad.com says

    Love this! It’s awkward at first, but after awhile you just think screw it. I care what my baby thinks, more than anyone else. They can look and judge all they want, I won’t ever see them again and I could care less about them.

  2. Anna says

    Breastfeeding in public is hard especially you have those hawk who will try to find reason to call you out for breastfeeding your child in public. Which for my is so irritating and annoying because they can’t mind their own business. I’ve seen people breast feed in public using a big cover that locked around their neck and fall down enough to cover the baby.. this is such a great post. Passing this to people I know who breastfeed.

  3. Kirsta says

    I always used the 2 shirt method. Although there were times I am sure I flashed people because my daughter had a lot of struggles with breastfeeding. Including having to use a supplemental nursing system. I still had to do it in public and never did it in a bathroom thank god!

  4. Chelsea says

    This is so great! By my second baby, I had zero problems with nursing in public. I even stopped using a cover because I felt like it brought more attention to the fact I was nursing. I’m so happy to see other awesome mamas incouraging each other!

  5. Shannah says

    I love this! Such a wonderful article for new moms to read! It is a scary thing to do at first and with all these words of wisdom from moms that have been there and done that is awesome!

  6. Mar says

    This is such a great article. With my first, I wouldn’t have been caught dead doing it in public. Now with my second, I don’t care, I’ll whip it out anywhere!

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