Public breastfeeding. This is a tricky one because there is a lot going on and it can be rather intimidating. One has to consider and attempt to control several factors:
1. Flashing your boob in front of total strangers, who, like a car accident, can’t help but stare
2. Open jacket, unbutton shirt/drop shoulder strap, lift/slide bra, remove breast pad, plug on baby
3. Baby is screaming hysterically and squirming like an oily worm being electrocuted.
4. Once latched, attempt to cover with blanket/shawl
5. Baby un-latches and starts squirming or dives backwards and starts stretching like a crazed Tazmanian Devil. You are simultaneously trying to tip him forward for a burping while covering up your left breast and re-buttoning your shirt, each with one hand.
After many many attempts, here are my tips for public breastfeeding
1. Stay calm. As impossible as this sounds, go about the motions systematically without panic, hyperventilation or bringing on a heat rash. I got into such a tizz in Camden market I was trying to get Jack onto my boob before securing the nipple guard (he can’t latch without it) or having a muslin within reach and placed under his face to stop dribble into my top.
2. Practice at home so you get used to the steps to take. Ideally in front of a mirror to see where any ‘gaps’ are. I was breastfeeding in Nando’s thinking I had all angles covered until my husband returned from shopping to say every dude coming out the men’s bathroom was getting a full side-boob view.
3. Choose tables in the corner or where there is no-one sitting behind you. Also, booth tables are good because they offer more coverage and tend to be ‘deeper’ Here’s me in the corner haha
4. Get your partner/friend to help. They can hold up a shawl to give you coverage or pass you things while you flap around. It’s all about practice and building confidence for when you are alone.
5. Practice in parks where no one is anywhere near you. Sit on a blanket, relax and take your time. I built my confidence this way on Hampstead Heath.
6. Do it in your car – more privacy and it’s peaceful
Look, if you don’t care you don’t care and I envy you. I watched a lady on the over-land train whip out her boob and take a few minutes to latch her baby. While she did look harassed as her baby screamed, you could tell she didn’t give a rats ass about the other passengers, and I admired her for that.