Breastfeeding in public

It’s Breastfeeding Awareness Week this week. So, rather than blog about Gaza, or finding a creche for next year, or the role of trust in parenting (and life generally), or inconsistent baby sleep advice, I’ll do another breastfeeding blog and leave those topics waiting in the wings. 

Bubs isn’t great at breastfeeding in public. Even breastfeeding at home with a guest round can be a bit much. He gets distracted. I like to think he assumes that he can always eat later, but there’s something else interesting going on now. And now that he’s a bigger baby, his grizzles don’t always mean that he wants to feed – so I might offer him the breast, thinking he’s probably hungry, and he’ll refuse. Then also he does this adorable thing where he comes off after a few suckles just to smile and coo. Cute when we’re at home. But when we’re out, it’s awkward. 

This means that breastfeeding in public now proceeds like this:

1) Is he hungry? Hmm, hope he’s hungry so I don’t flash everyone for nothing. I’m pretty sure he is.

2) Where can I sit to feed him? Found a chair, phew. 

3) Ok, ok, ok, I know you want to eat, I’m just lifting my top up and uncliping my bra and trying to hold your wriggly self, calm down.

4) He’s not going for it, is he just distracted or is he not hungry?

5) Ok, he’s latched.

6) And… now he’s off and grinning at me. Hey little one, you’re super cute, but mummy just needs to quickly try and cover up exposed nipple/catch leaking milk in breastpad rather than dripping everywhere.  

7) And now he’s trying to get on again, quick, uncover the boob so he can have more food.

8) Ok, nobody make any sudden noises for the next five to ten minutes!

A few weeks back, I was feeding him in a chair outside a clothing shop dressing room (you know the ones, the “waiting for my friend who is trying on an outfit” chairs). I was feeling chuffed at having successfully completed steps 1 through 7, and was sitting there stroking his head and enjoying the moment while he guzzled. It wasn’t a spot I’d used before, but I was pleased because it was really discrete and quiet, and the chair was comfortable, and surely no-one would mind because I was so out of the way. Just as this thought was going through my head, one of the staff walked past and said “isn’t there somewhere better you could do that?”