by Blessed Ummi
From our conversations with mothers, it seems that many are still hesitant or shy to breastfeed in public. If you would like to try, here are some tips you can follow to, insyaaAllah, help ease your worries about breastfeeding outside the home.
1. Plan your route
Planning is important. Think about your “exit” strategy should baby start crying in hunger. You wouldn’t want to be caught in a crowd with an inconsolable baby and forced to feed baby in front of a bunch of strangers especially when you’re not mentally prepared. It is also understandable that some ladies are just shy and while they don’t mind breastfeeding outside the home, they are certainly not about to feed their babies in front of others, especially when men are around.Thus, plan plan plan. Does the place you are going to have a nursing room around (e.g. shopping centres, government buildings like ICA, etc. Click here for a list of nursing rooms in Singapore)? You would also be surprised at how some places are more than happy to provide you a room – it helps to just ASK! If it is a friend’s or relative’s home, informing in advance about the possibility of you needing a room or space to breastfeed or pump might help to lessen the questions.
Also remember to find a place which is really, really safe from the evil eyes of those who are ill-intentioned. If you are sitting in a public place, ensure that no one can see you from higher levels. If you feel uncomfortable at any point in time, LEAVE. If you are fortunate to have someone with you, like hubby or sister, get them to shade you from prying eyes.
2. Invest in a nursing cover with subtle patterns
A nursing cover can be a saviour especially during moments when you have no choice but to feed in public. From our experience of trying breastfeeding covers of various sizes and breastfeeding ponchos, each comes with its own limitations and helpfulness. Some breastfeeding covers with wider cloth size really helps to provide more coverage especially if you are nursing an older baby.
Some babies are also bothered by the designs of the nursing cover. While patterned covers are supposed to help “engage” baby while he or she nurse, some babies become totally disoriented. Imagine having a piece of cloth with whimsical design plastered over your face. Not fun at all! We have also discovered a line of nursing covers by Modestyle Nursing that includes a second piece of metal (apart from the main one at the neckline) that helps keep the cover away from baby’s sweaty face. This gives baby more fresh air and mothers more room to look at baby without having to struggle with a nursing cover.
Getting a subtly patterned nursing cover also lessens the attention on you. You will find people not noticing what you are doing simply because your nursing cover is not eye-catching. While it is definitely nice to have a beautiful nursing cover, consider how much attention you’re comfortable with.
If you are not sure whether baby will accept the nursing cover, try it at home first where baby’s cries will not scream alarm. Baby also needs to get used to the nursing cover and see it as a part of the breastfeeding routine, instead of having to try something new especially when he or she is uncomfortable outside and sweating hot.
3. Get a breastfeeding-friendly top that you are comfortable with
It might seem funny but you should actually practice before going out. With any new top that you buy, practicing nursing on-the-go at home can actually help pre-empt you for what’s to come. If you are new to breastfeeding, this helps you to choose which type of nursing access is best for your during rushed moments. In our previous post, we recommended the top three nursing access best for active ummis.You may find what worked at home may not actually work for you outside. You may become nervous when you are away from home, trying to calm a fussy baby and all alone, while fumbling with that zip that seemed to work wonderfully when you were in your room.
Also, check the aftermath of breastfeeding on your tops. Does the dripping of milk stain your top? Certain materials do leave a stain on the cloth and you might want to consider wearing a longer length tudung or shawl if you feel this might happen. Some mothers also don a darker shade of cloth when they go out to avoid embarrassing situations like this.
4. Pack your diaper bags in an organised manner
Having to dig through a packed bag in the middle of a crowded place to nurse a hungry baby is not the best place to be in the world. Place your essentials in locations of your bag where it is easily accessible. Nursing covers should be the last thing that goes into your bag before you zip it up so that it is the first thing you see when you open it. Some bags come with external compartments so it might help to place the cover there as well.
If you need wet wipes or tissue during your feeding session, place them on the outside too. These are especially useful when babies spit up (and cause you to smell like milk all day long, so wet tissues are best!) It may also help to bring an extra shawl or tudung that needs no extra ironing, or even an extra top especially in the first few months where babies may spit up plenty. You wouldn’t want to turn up at a party or wedding event smelling of sour milk LOL!
This is also the reason why many of our apparels are stretchy as these require no ironing at all and can be placed in the bag and ready to use when needed.
We hope these tips will help you to triump the weekend that has arrived!
Have a breastfeeding-friendly tip? Be generous and share it with others here! Or alternatively, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Blessed Ummi team
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