Feeding out & about

You can breastfeeding almost anywhere. If you wear fairly loose clothing you can feed your baby without worrying that you are showing your breasts. You may feel a little uncomfortable at first but soon you will feel more confident. Most people won’t even notice you are breastfeeding – try practicing in front of a mirror at home.

A mum has a right to feed her baby wherever she wishes, but feeding outside the home can cause some anxiety even if you have perfected the art at home. Practice is the key to discreetly feeding in public without feeling embarrassed or offending others. A great way to get used to feeding around other people is to go to a local breastfeeding group where you will find other breastfeeding mums.  If you go out and about at first with other breastfeeding mothers from your group, you may also feel more confident.

No one should ever ask you to stop breastfeeding in public.

The Equality Act was introduced into law in 2010 and it is now illegal to try and stop mothers breastfeeding their babies in public places. It is important to remeber that the vast majority of people dont mind (or even notice) when a mother is feeding her baby. However, if you do come across someone who tries to stop you, or asks you to move, it is worth thinking about making a complaint, as this person is acting illegally.

If you do feel nervous it may be reassuring to know that most mothers find with a bit of practice, they can feed discreetly. After feeding in front of others a few times, may mothers start to feel much less anxious.

Some cafes, shops and restaurants make special allowances for breastfeeding mothers by acheving BFI (Breastfeeding Friendly Initative) status. This means they are able to provide a private room and other types of support for breastfeeding mothers. You can find your nearest place with BFI status using our handy map tool.

Tips for feeding out and about:

  • Plan ahead. Before you go out, it can help to think about where you will feel comfortable breastfeeding when your baby gets hungry.
  • Wear loose comfortable clothing that can be easily moved up or down. For example a top that can be lifted up, rather than having buttons. A nursing or soft non-underwired bra can be easily pulled up or down when you want to feed your baby.
  • Drape a blanket, clothing or scarf over you and your baby – this will give you some privacy if you are feeling nervous.
  • Practice in front of a mirror
  • Try it first in front of other mums at a group
  • Go out with another breastfeeding mum, close friend or family member
  • Relax – people may be more supportive than you think
  • Don’t feel that you should sit in a public toilet to breastfeed. You wouldn’t eat in there, so don’t feel that your baby should.
  • Keep a drink close by