Breastfeeding in Public

If you are breastfeeding your baby and they are hungry when you’re out and about, you probably already know that your baby will not wait for you to get home before they are fed. However, for some mothers, the idea of breastfeeding in public can be daunting. Here are some tips that can help you with nursing in public in complete confidence, making it easier and less stressful.

Deciding to breastfeed

It is absolutely your decision whether you choose to breastfeed in public, and it’s good to know that it’s a government priority to support you too. Remember:

  • It’s your decision to breastfeed

  • You cannot always be at home to breastfeed

  • You are doing the right thing for your hungry baby

  • It’s quicker and easier to breastfeed on the go

If you are undecided about breastfeeding in public, you may find it helpful to talk to other mums about their experiences and get some feedback and tips from them on how they approached feeding their baby in public.

In summary

You do not have to breastfeed in public if you do not want to. If you do decide to, it’s helpful to know that the law is on your side and your rights as a breastfeeding mum are protected under UK law. Feeding your hungry baby is your priority. Try asking other breastfeeding mums for their advice if you would like extra feedback, tips or support.

 

Below are some handy tips for nursing in public to get you started.

Where can I start breastfeeding in public

You can breastfeed anywhere in public, as long as it is a safe place for you and your baby to be. But if you are not quite sure where to start, look for Breastfeeding Friendly and BOOBS Approved places: these are two of many campaigns to support businesses in welcoming breastfeeding mothers in the UK. Many large public places, such as airports, are providing mother and baby rooms as well as welcoming nursing mothers in their public areas.

Suitable clothes to wear

Comfortable clothing which allows easy access is a must for the breastfeeding mother on the go. There is a great choice of breastfeeding clothing available, should you wish to treat yourself, but something that goes down worn under something that goes up, like a loose vest and t-shirt combo, works excellently. A nursing bra may also help, or your favourite cardigan. Go with what you feel happiest wearing.

Being prepared

The great thing about breastfeeding is that you really don’t need a lot of extra stuff to take with you; you can literally just go. However, you may feel the need for a blanket or nursing cover, depending on the location, weather or time of year. You don’t have to cover up, but if breastfeeding discreetly in public makes you feel better, this is also completely okay. You may need breast pads for your milk flow, and a drink for you – or even something to read!

Considering other people

You may feel cautious about other people and their opinions, but really, most people won’t even notice you. The majority of the UK public support breastfeeding in public, and more and more businesses are showing their support by displaying notices showing that they welcome breastfeeding mothers and by setting aside spaces for you to go. Put yourself and the needs of your baby first and you will find that the few people who may actually notice you will more than likely be supportive and kind.

Know your rights

To put your mind at rest and help to support your feeding decisions, it is helpful to know first of all what your rights are as a mother breastfeeding in public. In the UK, the law, and more specifically, the Equality Act 2010, supports breastfeeding mothers and states that it is sex discrimination to treat a breastfeeding mother unfavourably. This includes breastfeeding in public spaces, restaurants and businesses and public transport.

In summary

You can breastfeed in public in any safe place. Enjoy the freedom of feeding on the go, but don’t forget little extras to make you feel comfortable breastfeeding in public. Wear clothes with easy access and take a blanket or a nursing cover if needed. Look for cafes and public places that actively support breastfeeding; this will give you confidence in those first few weeks. Know that it is your right to breastfeed in public, you are encouraged to do so and protected by UK law.

 

FAQS AT A GLANCE

No, you don’t have to cover up, but if it makes you feel more comfortable, of course you can.

Actually, it isn’t frowned upon. There have been a few rare cases of public disapproval that have got in the press, but the majority of the UK public support breastfeeding in public.

Yes you can, as long as it is safe for you and baby to do so. This includes cafes, restaurants, waiting rooms and lots of other public places.

How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS). You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.