Breastfeeding my firstborn (6 years ago) to breastfeeding my third child were two totally different experiences for me. Perhaps it was being a new first time mother going through the emotions of the unknown, being conscious and worried about everything you do, or perhaps breastfeeding today is more open and widely spoken about than it was six years ago (I’m making it sound as though I’m living in the 1900s!). When out and about with my firstborn, as soon as I heard the sounds of my baby crying hungry for some milk, I would immediately find a quiet place, a corner of a cafe or restaurant or even behind closed curtains in fitting rooms, and feed my little one. I only really felt comfortable breastfeeding when I was in the comfort of my own home where I could just take my time, not worry about who was around and just let my breasts hang out! Maybe it's my personality that made me more reserved and shy about feeding in public - I like to keep certain personal things private and as natural as breastfeeding your baby is and should be, for me, it was a private matter and something I would only do in front of my immediate family and closest of friends. I was always much more conscious of what I looked like when breastfeeding. Being conscious of appearance whilst breastfeeding was not about me being vain about my physical appearance, it was more worrying about whether I was breastfeeding my child properly, would I be judged if I wasn't holding him in the correct position, whether I was flashing my post baby stomach to the public or worse, my boob! I am far from those yummy mummy type of women who look effortlessly immaculate (even with a newborn baby),.I was probably edging more towards the zombie faced, sleep deprived, panda eyed look, that people didn’t even try to pretend and say ‘you look well’ to me!
Fast forward a few years, third time round, breastfeeding was a totally different experience. I was much more comfortable about feeding out and about, in front of large groups of people, I would just whip 'em out, so to speak! Perhaps the fact that having two older kids to look after meant I didn’t have time to get comfortable (literally) and therefore didn’t have time to even worry about what I looked like. I remember being on holiday in the middle of street markets and restaurants in the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur and baby no.3 was crying out for a feed, nowhere to go, nowhere to sit so I lowered him in my carrier, whipped my breastfeeding cover over us and pulled down my top to feed. This is feeding on the go! It was easy! Why did I not do this before? If you are relaxed and confident, breastfeeding on the go is so much easier and much more sociable than sitting in a quiet room, sometimes for hours waiting for your baby to finish.
Although I am all for breastfeeding your baby in public, I personally, am not one to just pull my top down and feed my baby. So if any of you are like me, here are a few hints and tips for breastfeeding on the go.
Tip no.1 - breastfeeding cover
Personally, I like to be covered up or be a little more discreet (unlike Alice!) so my first tip for anyone who doesn’t like to display to the world that you are breastfeeding your child, is to purchase a breastfeeding cover. Click here to shop Onco's recommendation.
Tip no.2 - one up and one down
There are many nursing vests and tops on the market but I personally don’t think it’s necessary. All you need are a couple of string vests underneath your normal tops and jumpers and when you are ready to feed, you pull your outer top up and pull your vest down from the top and under your boob. This also helps to cover up and keep your stomach and back areas warm. In addition, wearing button up shirts, tops, dresses or front zip clothing are also quick and easy clothing for breastfeeding on the go.
Tip no.3 - feeding in a sling/carrier
Adjust position of baby and sling so that baby’s head is level with your breast and voila! There are some slings and carriers that are designed for nursing so you can always hunt for these but I think most slings/carriers work. Click here to shop Onco's recommendation.
Tip no.4 - be relaxed and confident
Most people will not notice you are even breastfeeding if you are relaxed and confident. Carry on with what you are doing, whether it’s in conversation, eating or reading, enjoy as these precious moments do not last long and before you know it, it's all over.