Breastfeeding in Public: Know Your Rights

Tips for nursing in public

While every woman has the right to nurse her baby if the child is hungry or needs comfort, there are ways to make the process easier and less controversial in public. Below are tips from real moms just like you.

Woman breastfeeding

Nursing tops: Nursing tops are designed to help women feed their babies easily, while being discreet. Women can also layer a tank top with a button-up shirt or wear a V-neck shirt. “It’s no fun buying a temporary wardrobe (those nursing shirts are expensive!), but when I think about the fact that I’m also buying myself a little piece of mind, I consider it a worthy investment.”–Audrey

Know your rights: Look up your state laws about breastfeeding in public on the website for the National Conference of State Legislature. Some states have specific laws that protect a woman’s right to breastfeed in public. “Should an employee of an establishment give you trouble anyway, ask to see the manager and ask them to inform you of the company’s official policy on breastfeeding.”– Alisha

Find a private place: Some moms suggest asking for a corner booth or table in the back if you know you will need to nurse while at a restaurant.

Use a cover: Some moms suggest you try to breastfeed discreetly, and using a cover can help you feel more comfortable. Some women do not need to use a cover while nursing in public and find that they can do well without it. However, a cover may be useful during the early weeks when you are still learning to latch your baby on, or when your older baby becomes easily distracted while nursing.

Be confident: Breastfeeding your child is more than just providing nourishment, as many babies use nursing for comfort, as well. “Just be confident in what you’re doing””you’re within your legal rights, but even beyond that, you’re feeding and soothing your child, and there’s nothing better than that.” –Christina

While some women may feel uneasy about nursing in public, most of the stories about breastfeeding in public are positive. Remember that you are taking care of your child and that is what matters most. As Alisha puts it, “At the end of the day, it is not about them and what they want””but about the decisions you have made as a parent and the needs of your child.”

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