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When out and about remember

  • You don't have to ask to breastfeed. You can breastfeed anywhere you and your baby want or need to.
  • Make it easier for yourself by wearing trousers or a skirt with a jumper, sweatshirt or T-shirt that can be pulled up from the waist. If possible wear a maternity bra that can be opened from the front with one hand. 
  • Feed early. Don't wait until your baby gets too hungry or distressed, that way you'll both be more relaxed and feeding will go more smoothly.

Breastfeeding offers comfort as well as food, that's why breastfed babies are generally more easily settled.

To help build your confidence:

  • If you feel unsure about breastfeeding outside home bring your partner or a friend along for support until you become more confident.
  • You may want to choose a seat in a quiet corner where you can turn your back to the room, or could consider putting a shawl or baby blanket over your shoulder and baby.
  • Find out if there are any restaurants, shopping centres, hotels or other places in your area that particularly welcome breastfeeding mothers.
  • If you would prefer more privacy, ask if the venue has a private feeding room (not a toilet) available for your use.

Breastfeeding in public can mean breastfeeding in front of a relative or friend in your own home, or in a public place, such as a cafe or shopping centre.

During your baby’s early days, you may prefer to breastfeed only where you feel most comfortable. But, as you get more used to doing it, you’re likely to feel more confident about breastfeeding in front of other people when you're out and about.

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

Plan ahead. Before you go out, it can help to think about where you will feel comfortable breastfeeding when your baby gets hungry. Ask breastfeeding friends or your health visitor if they know of a spot, such as a cafe, that they’ve found to be breastfeeding-friendly.

Clothes and bra. What you wear when you’re breastfeeding is a matter of personal taste and what you feel comfortable in. For example, some mums like to wear loose tops that can be lifted up. Others, who prefer to keep their tummy covered, wear two stretchy tops so that the top layer can be lifted up and the bottom layer can be pulled down. A soft non-underwired bra can be easily pulled up or down when you want to feed your baby.

Baby slings, scarves and cloths. Some baby slings are designed in such a way that you can breastfeed while your baby is still in the sling. Ask your health visitor for more information. Some mums feel more comfortable laying a scarf or muslin cloth over their chest while they’re breastfeeding.

Take someone with you. Sometimes, it helps to go with a friend who has an older baby and can take you to places that she already knows would be comfortable for you to sit and feed. Or go with someone else, such as your mum, partner, sister or friend so that there's always someone to talk to.

Avoid the loos. Don’t feel that you should sit in a public toilet to breastfeed. You wouldn’t eat in there, so don’t feel that your baby should.

Know your rights. You shouldn’t ever be made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public. In fact, the Equality Act 2010 has made it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place such as a cafe, shop or public transport.

Breastfeeding is convenient when you are out and about with your baby. You can shop and meet friends with your breastfeeding baby. There is very little to organise for trips, just bring a nappy change.

Since breastfeeding often looks like just cuddling a baby most people don't notice it. Wearing a top that lifts to let your baby feed will help you to feed discretely. Some mothers like to drape a scarf over their shoulder while feeding.

You are entitled to breastfeed in public places and you don't have to ask. Some places may offer a private area if you would like this, but you do not have to use it.

Your baby can look for food or comfort anywhere and at anytime. Feel free to offer your baby a breastfeed whenever and wherever he or she needs it.