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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tips for Breastfeeding in Public

Nursing in public is often a big worry for first time moms. Every mom has her own comfort level about nursing in public. My personal philosophy is that a mom has a right to nurse her baby anywhere that she happens to be! While other publications promote non-discreet public nursing as a way to "force" the public into accepting and promoting breastfeeding, I feel that the best way to promote change is to quietly and discreetly nurse our babies everywhere we go! As people realize that women are nursing their babies all over the place they will realize that there is absolutely nothing objectionable about it! At first, public nursing is really hard! . . . but like anything else, the more you do it the easier it becomes! Our patterns are designed to help you sew up a great nursing wardrobe that will help you nurse your baby easily in almost any situation! The photos in our catalog show moms nursing without "nursing bibs" or other accessories because we want to show you how easy it is to nurse discreetly in our clothing. Babies need to see the world . . . and nobody likes to hide under a big blanket! We hope some of these tips help! (Yes, that's me, nursing my baby in a pool while vacationing in Mexico!)

No one likes to feel exposed or embarrassed. Nursing a baby is a natural and beautiful relationship and while no one thinks twice about feeding a baby a bottle in public, the thoughts of nursing publicly often create strong opinions on both sides. As nursing mothers are taking the country by storm, they have created a whole new way to nurse in public without feeling embarrassed or offending others. You can join this quiet revolution.

1. Practice First To Get Comfortable. Discreet nursing is really a learned art. Some babies are natural at it and some need lots of training! Learn to nurse discreetly while walking around and then you will be able to take your baby anywhere! Once you get your nursing clothing made, practice nursing in it until you are really comfortable and confident in your ability to nurse discreetly.The best place to start is in your own home. Family members are good "guinea pigs" to practice on. Nursing your baby is not a disease or a reason to isolate yourself in the back room. If you are worried about offending anyone, tell him or her that you need to feed your baby and give them the opportunity to leave. The trick here is that they leave, not you! Arm yourself with the attitude that nursing is normal and healthy. You wouldn't eat in bathroom or in the back room, so your baby shouldn't either.

2. Nurse Discreetly. Discreet nursing simply means you avoid drawing attention to yourself and/or exposing yourself while breast-feeding. If you can master this art, you will be able to nurse your baby everywhere and no one will ever know what you are doing. This is sometimes a hot topic, because political breast-feeding activists feel that by nursing discreetly, we are catering to the unhealthy views that breasts are sex objects. The problem is that making a public statement with breast-feeding can put you in a vulnerable situation. You'll need to decide where you personally stand on this issue. Most moms feel much more comfortable about keeping things discreet and you will find that others around you will also feel more comfortable.

3. Get The Right Wardrobe. There is no way you will be able to nurse discreetly in a skintight zip up the back dress. If you are going to be a nursing mother, you are going to have to make adjustments to your wardrobe. The easiest solution is to invest in separates -- sweaters, tops, skirts, jeans. Washable clothing is best. If you have few nursing tops, you can try those out as well. Practice with lots of different styles of clothing and find out what you are most comfortable with. Practice nursing in front of a mirror so you can see yourself exactly as others see you. With regular clothing, lift up your top to expose your breast and then once your baby latches on, adjust the fabric to cover as much of your breast as possible. If you are wearing a button top, unbutton the bottom few buttons but leave the top buttons closed. This will help keep you covered. Eye to eye contact with your baby is important, so try not to completely cover up your baby under your clothing or a blanket. With nursing clothing, once your baby latches on, then you can also adjust the fabric to keep you covered. A baby sling is a great accessory for public nursing. With your baby safely in a sling, you can nurse your baby and have your hands free at the same time. The sling can be adjusted to keep you covered and no one will ever suspect that you are nursing your baby.

4. Stay In Tune With Your Baby's Needs And Feed Him As Soon As You Expect He Is Hungry. When in public situations be very aware of your baby's hunger cues. Every baby is different, but if you are observant, you will notice your baby may root, suck on his/her fist and or begin to get fussy. This is a signal to feed him immediately. Putting off your baby by trying to give him a pacifier or a bottle will just make your breast-fed baby miserable and unhappy. It is so much better to feed babies quickly at the first signs of fussiness or hunger. After a baby has tried every way possible to get your attention, they will start crying hysterically as a last resort. A screaming, miserable baby, whether breast-fed or bottle-fed, attracts lots of negative attention and that is just what we are trying to avoid. A confident mother who is in tune with her baby and meets their needs quickly is much more likely to have a successful public nursing experience.

5. Try Nursing Clothing For Ease in Special Situations. Our two casual top patterns, (Nursing Classics #107 and #207, also available Ready-Made) are my personal favorites for public nursing. I made several and took them on a trip to Mexico. I nursed on the plane, on a fishing boat, absolutely everywhere! The double layer construction keeps you covered in back and at the sides while the overlay keeps you covered up front. Vertical nursing openings like those featured in Nursing Classics #101, 102, 106, 108, 109, 110, 201 203, 204, and 205 are also great for public nursing because they have almost no bulk and are easy to adjust for discreet nursing. Lightweight jackets are also a great accessory because they provide extra coverage if you need it. A receiving blanket is a great nursing accessory if you are feeling uncomfortable, but try to avoid a "big blanket over the shoulder" look; Babies like to have eye contact with their moms. If you use a blanket, keep it low. Most people won't even notice you are nursing your baby if you are casual and discreet about it!

6. Find A Good Spot To Feed Your Baby. This is one of the most critical steps to successful public nursing. If you are in a restaurant, mall, airport or any crowded area, try to sit so you have a little privacy. A booth is great as long as there is enough room to maneuver a baby. Sit so that you can see what is going on. On an airplane, they often offer mothers an aisle seat, but for discreet nursing a window seat is best because it offers you at least one private side. If you can't get any privacy, turn your back while you get your baby latched on, then adjust your clothing and turn back around. Look up at people and make eye contact. Talk to them, laugh, have fun. You can do all of this at the same time you are nursing your baby.

7. What If Someone Is Staring At Me? This can really be an uncomfortable situation. The best thing to do is to return their gaze without backing down. This will usually cause them to look away. This won't happen very often and is much more likely to happen if you have a screaming baby. A nursing baby is a quiet baby and usually doesn't attract much attention. Remember, the whole idea of discreet public nursing is to act like nothing is out of the ordinary. Most people will truly have no idea you are nursing your baby. In summary, just remember that nursing your baby is a normal and healthy part of everyday life. Breast-feeding in public doesn't need to make you nervous or uncomfortable. Stay firm in your knowledge that you are doing the very best thing for your baby. If you act confident and self-assured about nursing in public most people will offer you positive support instead of criticism. By applying these few simple tips to your nursing relationship you will find a sense of freedom you never thought possible.

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