when did you first nurse your baby in public? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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my baby is just over 2 weeks old and we're not quite stir crazy yet, but getting there! it's getting very nice and springy outside, and i'm feeling the urge to get outside and go do something fun. however, we have a pretty challenging breastfeeding relationship still... she was in the NICU for over a week and we've been off bottles and EBF for about 5 days now. i'm nervous about being able to breastfeed her when not at home and able to strip down and walk around, take breaks, scream with frustration (hah... not really, but she does drive me crazy pretty frequently). so for now i'm limited to quick runs to the grocery store as she's feeding every 2 hours or less pretty consistently.

how old were your babies when you first tried feeding them outside the home? was it harder or easier than you thought it would be? any tips for making it a little less stressful? i'm not the type to go sit in a washroom to breastfeed, but i don't want to flash a ton of boob, and i don't want people to think i'm a crappy mom when it takes my LO 15 min to latch on and get settled. should i just put my latte drinking plans on hold for now?
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#2 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 04:26 PM
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That's a good question. I remember going to a breastfeeding clinic in the hospital 5 days after my baby was born, and I breastfed her there. It was always easier to get a good latch and position in the clinic, the problem was achieving the same at home. Then I realized that breastfeeding in the car was easier than my couch at home, and I did that a few times in the first weeks, so if I was out in public, I might just go to my car.

I recall that I felt like breastfeeding in public in the first 3 months or so felt hard, so I did try to push it off when I was out in a way I wouldn't have at home. I always used a lot of pillows and both hands in the early days, and if the positioning wasn't good, it was hard to do. Plus I was very nervous about the whole latching her on process. My tendency was to go into a corner, turn toward a wall to get her latched on, but if it just wasn't working, I'd go sit in the car where I felt more comfortable.

I went to a long dress rehearsal for my choir when my daughter was about a month old, and I brought my sling and for the first time was able to breastfeed her in it, but then it was another couple of months before I could get it to work well again. I went out with a friend once when my daughter was around 4 months old and sat in a high-backed booth in a restaurant on off peak hours, and I breastfed in the sling while placing my order and eating. And then she came off the breast and I just held her in the sling, and I remember the whole thing felt very seamless.

Ultimately, my first daughter became a side lying nurser and I got very adept at side lying nursing in public, which is kind of funny.
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#3 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 04:27 PM
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Can you start by going to a quiet park or playground and nursing there until you become more comfortable with nursing in public? For me getting out is worth the world seeing my boob and fresh air helps so much with my mental health especially when the sun is shinning!

My ds2 is 5 weeks now and we have nursed in the bookstore, starbucks etc. Just wear a lose shirt that you can pull up easily and can be draped over most of your exposed breast. Tunics are not helpful, learned my lesson the hard way on that one... One plus to nursing outdoors, I find my baby is far more alert nursing in the fresh air, at home he just falls asleep in minutes so we find ourselves in the backyard an awful lot lately.
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#4 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 04:29 PM
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Hmmm - I think at her 1 week appointment, so 7 days old at the hospital, and then again at about 10 days old at a Christmas dinner (on the 22nd Jan!). And since then, too, of course. I do have a nursing cover thingy but I hate putting her under there - she doesn't like being covered up with anything. So I always just ask the people around me if they mind if I nurse, and I've only ever had enthusiastic "oh no, of course not!" answers

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#5 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 04:30 PM
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1) Assuming you are concerned at all about "flashing" - which I don't assume you are because you don't have to be - practice in front of a mirror beforehand. You can quickly see any adjustments you might need, but I think you'll mostly find how surprisingly easy it is to do without showing anything.

2) You can get a nursing top, but you can also choose shirts you already have. I liked wearing a regular stretchy top or tank top or something with a button-up shirt over it (which I often left unbuttoned, like a jacket of sorts). The shirt gave me extra privacy, my whole side was "protected" and I could even sort of hold the shirt in front of the baby while latching (though I didn't bother to continue holding the shirt after the latch).

3) Above all, relax

The first time I NIP'd was at a park. Very low pressure but it was still a first. It was a little harder at first because latching on took effort and coordination. After a while there was nothing to it.

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#6 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 04:37 PM
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With my oldest, it was quite awhile. We also had a challenging start and had to wean off supplements. I had raw, bleeding nipples, he screamed at the breast, I couldn't nurse without a pillow, etc. For the first 6 weeks or so, if we were in public I usually bottle fed - or had dh bottle feed while I snuck off and pumped, since we were supplementing anyway. We weaned off the bottle by around 6 weeks, and for the next six weeks or so I just tried to be at home when he needed to eat, or at least near enough to the car that I could take him there. It wasn't about being self conscious - it was just a whole freaking production. Like you said - crying (both of us!), need to pretty much take my whole top off, etc. It was about 3 month in that we finally both got good enough to do it on the go (but until he was 6 months or so, I brough the my Brest Friend pillow everywhere we went!). With my younger two, I NIP'd from the time we left the hospital. My youngest was preterm and way smaller than we planned on, so on the way home from the hospital, we stopped at target to buy him some clothes and diapers that fit - and I nursed him there. My dd was born 5 days before my b-day, and I know we had a family dinner out to celebrate my birthday, and I nursed at that.
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#7 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 04:51 PM
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This weekend! And my babe is 5 months. I swore i would never do it, because DS is soo hard to get latched on (and stay latched!).

But... the nursing room was in the ladies bathroom, and smelled like a fart. I was able to do it without any fuss... and so much easier than taking and pumping a bottle!

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#8 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 04:55 PM
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FYI when you're shopping at the mall or Wal-Mart you don't go to the restroom, you ask the dressing room ladies if you can nurse in there. They're always happy to let you. I mean for anyone who prefers privacy. My boy was never discrete.
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#9 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 05:01 PM
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I *think* I nused DS1 at just a couple days old when we were out shopping for a rocking chair (we got home from the hospital and my dad promptly announced that I/we needed a proper rocking chair, so we went and drove all over amish country looking for one when DS was just a 3-5 days old.

DS2 probably when he was just about 2 or 3 days old... I never really cooped myself up with him. And he was just SUCH a pro at nursing from day one it was amazing, really (I even nursed him laying down the first night in the hospital!!)
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#10 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 05:12 PM
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I started NIPing in "safe" places (car, dressing room, my parent's house) pretty early on. DD needed a nipple sheild to get a good latch for about the first 2 mo. of her life, so I needed a little privacy to get it properly "installed" before nursing. I think DD was about 5 mo. before I nursed in front of non-family members at a restaurant. Just take it slow and do whatever you are most comfortable with!

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#11 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 05:20 PM
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I honestly don't remember with DS...he was in the NICU for 3 weeks and just started BFing a couple days before he was discharged (he got EBM before that). I'm going to guess that he was about 2 months old when I first NIP'd and I was in a dr's office, but I had nursed in front of family from early on.

With DD, she was a whopping 5 days old...we were at my brother's wedding

I like the convenience of nursing tops/tanks...especially at first when you have to latch them on and it takes a little more time. It's easier later when they auto-latch as soon as they get in the general vicinity of the boob

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#12 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 05:35 PM
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Didn't read all of the responses, but my DD was about 2 weeks (public meaning not at home or relatives house, car, etc.).

Do you have a local BF support group? That is a great place to try. Also, I BFd at church (not in BF room, etc) and at a coffee shop initially. I used my nursing cover at the beginning.

The funny thing is that I just went for it back then, but now that DD is 9mos, its a bit harder. LOL

Best wishes.

Me and DH, parents to:

DD1 (06/09), Twin DD2 and DS1 (born 3/12- 6 weeks early due to IUGR)

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#13 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 07:07 PM
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In the waiting room at the CMN's office @ my 6 week pp visit.

It was awkward and I was nervous, but overall it was uneventful and it gave me courage to keep going and nip-ing

Kristy, wife to Josh proud mama to Katie: since 3/08 and Emma since 8/12.

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#14 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 07:20 PM
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Within a couple days of birth. I would go stir crazy staying home of any length of time...I like to go go go ...

~Marie: Mom to DS(17), DS(16), DD(14), DD(10), DD(8) & someone new on the way.
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#15 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 07:27 PM
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My son was about a month old. We took a walk through town and I sat cross legged on the grass in a busy park in the middle of town and nursed and it was wonderful.

It took me a month to leave the house after my son was born. Otherwise I am sure it would have happened sooner.


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#16 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 07:36 PM
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My husband took me to dinner when my oldest dd was 2 weeks old, (she's now 34 yo) and I nursed her while I ate. But then I was really lucky because she didn't have a problem latching on, and I was totally comfortable with nursing in public.

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#17 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 08:04 PM
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I first nursed in public at church a week after my daughter was born. Not sure when the first time outside of church was, but definitely within the first month. Thinking back, I was pretty bad at it! LOL She's 10.5 months now, and I still feed her pretty much anywhere, and without a cover.

I'm in Oklahoma (a pretty conservative place), so I expected a lot of grief over it. I mean, I've got a copy of the state law on public breastfeeding in my wallet. But I haven't had any. No one has said a word, and the worst I've ever gotten is a sideways glance.

All that to say, I agree with others. Relax and focus on the only person who matters in these situations -- your baby.

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#18 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 10:17 PM
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NIP is way easier than I thought it would be.

I think of breastfeeding as an intimate moment relationship between my child and myself. I do not think about the "outside world" when I'm bfing. I do not let others' reactions or opinions come in the middle of that. I am providing nourishment for my child, not harming her or trying to make a flashy display of private parts. Ironically, the only person that has openly expressed negativity about my NIP is the baby's father, but that is due to his lack of experience being around a nursing mother. It is something he has to overcome, not something I need to change to make him comfortable. This is my first time bfing as my other children were my foster children and I was not legally allowed to bf them.

When my baby was only a week old, I had to take/pick up DD from school daily. I can't remember when exactly, but it was within those first few weeks, waiting in the school parking lot (where I'm also a teacher). I had my boppy for the car and my nursing cover. It is soooo nice and easy to nurse in the car with the boppy, much easier than nursing at home with my boppy even.

I think I nursed next at the perinatologist's office because I had to go back there a week and two weeks after my baby's birth. I know I pulled over and nursed in the CVS parking lot once on the way to the first peri's appt.

I also had to take baby into the pediatrician a week after birth and nursed in the exam room, but no one else was there until the dr walked in so I don't know if that counts as NIP.

Then I had to get an oil change, I put that off until baby was at least a month, but not yet two months and I nursed with a cover in the dealership waiting area.

I also nursed in the work room at my school because I took her to show her off to my co-workers and I forgot that she hadn't eaten in a while and of course she got fussy, so I just sat down with my nursing cover and nursed in front of my principal.

I never ask if anyone minds, no one ever asks if I mind if they eat in public. I just feed my baby. I do not require permission to feed my child. I'm not very open about it, but I'm not one to hide in a bathroom either. I do try to find a quieter, less populated area, sit where boob that I will nurse on is away from the crowd, use a nursing cover. I love nursing in the car and try to do that before entering a store/doctor's office etc.

I wouldn't be as comfortable nursing in public without my nursing cover. I also love having an extra boppy for the car and I wear tanks under my top shirt. I don't wear nursing bras or nursing tanks, just regular ones and they have worked wonderfully. Sometimes once we're situated, I pull my shirt all the way over my boob and use my hand to cover the rest of my boob and then pull the nursing cover away so that baby doesn't get too hot. Luckily, baby was born in the winter (still not too cold), but I think I should be very experienced with NIP by the time our 100 degree temps hit, because there is no way I'm using a nursing cover then.
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#19 of 22 Old 03-09-2010, 11:00 PM
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2 days old at a restaurant- the day we left the hospital.
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#20 of 22 Old 03-10-2010, 01:08 AM
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samann, i'm in oklahoma too and i've gotten some rudeness. i just keep on nip

as far as when i nip, dd1 was just a few days old the first time and i was 18. it was stressful, but we made it through. i didn't nurse her for long. dd2 was nip all the time because you can't stay home with an active toddler and being out means nip! i nip her at walmart @ 2 days old. my son was ep, so no nip. dd3 i nip at 3 days old. dd4 was in the nicu for 17 days and we were right at flu seeason when she came home. she didn't nurse until she was about 4 wks old and we didn't nip until she was 6 wks at my pp ob visit. she was a difficult latcher, but i paid attention and got her on there before she was in a panic.

good luck!

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#21 of 22 Old 03-10-2010, 10:30 AM
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depends by what you mean by public; DS was 2 or 3 days old at his bili check and I had to nurse him right after to calm him down. We were in a private office, but in front of his ped. I had on a nursing top, but I have found, with as big of hooters as I've got, being discrete is really not possible without a cover. so I just kind of popped it out there

the first time really in public was just around 2 weeks though - we had to make an emergency run to the car dealership to fix DH's toyota, and I nursed there, with a cover. I just feel more comfortable with one, than without. I have only seen one person here nurse without one, with boob just plopped out there. Nothing wrong with it, and if I lost or misplaced my cover, that would be me! We have since NIP just about everywhere, the mall, sam's (this was the MOST uncomfortable! those cold metal benches are awful!) stores, restaurants, the car - I hate nursing in the car. I'd rather go in somewhere and find a comfy chair.

I'll admit, those first few weeks, I was pumping anyway to draw out my nipples and relieve some engorgement (which might have led to a slight oversupply, but I am not good at manual expression) so we took bottles of expressed milk with us everywhere. Now, DS only gets bottles when I'm not available, and when we've tried recently to do give a bottle of expressed milk, he is not happy about it! LOL I don't mind though!

Just relax, and focus on the baby and smile at people. betcha they'll smile back!

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#22 of 22 Old 03-10-2010, 03:53 PM
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Same here as PP, if the hospital counts! We had to take DS in for his bili levels to be checked as well at 3 days old, and I nursed him while they did the heel prick, poor little guy.

The first time really out in public, was the grocery store when he was about 2 weeks old. I was wearing him in his wrap, but I still didnt have the trick of nursing him like that, so I had to take him out, and hold him to nurse, making it very obvious. No one gave us a second glance, and I felt like super-mom!

I have NIP all over the place since then, and each time, I feel so proud of myself for it.

Funny side note, DH was visably uncomfortable that first time at the hospital. He didn't say anything, but he didn't need to either, I could *see* how upset he was that the (male) Dr saw my breast. I just ignored it. Fast forward to now, and DH is almost vehemently protective about my right to NIP anywhere! Yeah DH!!

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