This may feel a bit ‘off topic’ from my usual family photography and videography posts. So, why am I writing it?
As well as a Mother who has breastfed both her children, I have also spent a good few years supporting other Parents on their feeding journey’s as a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter.
A volunteering role I take great pride in after the Charity ‘FAB’ (Families and Babies) supported me at the beginning.
I get it. I felt exactly the same! I think it’s a combination of it all feeling SO new and all the horror stories in the news that makes it feel so daunting.
So, I wanted to share my experience and some advice and top tips to help you feel that little bit more confident!
Top Tips To Help You Feel Confident Feeding Your Baby In Public.
We’ve all heard the stories and seen the headlines about Mothers being made to feel like they’re doing something shameful by feeding their baby in a public place.
It’s no wonder new mothers begin worrying about how they’ll cope with that before their baby is even here.
As a breastfeeding mother and trained breastfeeding peer supporter I not only remember what that first public breastfeed felt like (and the anxiety and over preparations for it) but also what it’s been like for lots of mothers.
And do you know what…?
No-one tries to make you feel crap or complains about you. In fact, some of us have even had compliments and free refreshments!!
But that doesn’t mean that first feed out and about with your newborn won’t feel daunting.
Here Are My Top 5 Tips For Feeling Confident Breastfeeding In Public
Tip 1, Find Your Local Breastfeeding Support Group!
Meeting up with other Mums in person is great. It may feel daunting going on your own at first but I promise you, when you find the right group you’ll LOVE going there to use it as a sounding board for all the parenting niggles and worries you may have (even the non breastfeeding ones!).
It’s the ideal place to start as it’ll be full of people who’ll be there to help you feel safe and supported and offer words of encouragement and reassurance.
FAB have a list of all their breastfeeding support groups on this page HERE.
Tip 2, A Date With A Supportive Friend
Plan a date with a supportive family member, friend or partner. Or like below, your supportive dog!
Someone who’s confidently feeding themselves and get the worries or simply someone who can help you feel confident.
Knowing you have someone by your side as you attempt this milestone can help you feel supported and you can concentrate on nailing that latch whilst they ensure your food is cut up so you can eat with one hand 🙂
Tip 3, Choose A Breastfeeding Friendly Place!
Yes, that does exist.
The charity I work for (Families and Babies Lancashire) even have their own initiative that businesses sign up to where they agree to support and encourage breastfeeding Mothers.
You can find that list of businesses and places on their website (the list for West Lancashire is HERE ) OR give them a call or check their social media to see if they mention being breastfeeding friendly for some reassurance.
Tip 4, Practice Brings Confidence Feeding Out And About
Feed at home in front of a mirror.
Looking down at your beautiful baby feeding away, it can feel like you’re showing off lots of skin and some people can feel a bit self conscious.
Yes, there are things on the market like breastfeeding covers that claim to help you feed discreetly but I’d save your money (and the stress of trying to get it on when baby is getting upset for a feed!).
If you get dressed in something you plan to wear out and about, sit and feed your baby in front of a mirror.
You’ll spot that once they’re latched on that actually, they’re covering everything anyway!
Nothing to see here!
It’s a nice way to bring some reassurance that you’re not ‘flashing’ any unsuspecting strangers.
Tip 5, Breastfeeding Knowledge Is Power.
Know your rights!
Did you know that as a breastfeeding mother you are protecting by law to feed you baby anywhere you like?
The Equality Act states that it is sex discrimination to treat a woman unfavourably if she is breastfeeding (you can read more on that on the NHS Start For Life website)
No-one can ask you to move or leave if they feel ‘weird’ about it’
That’s totally on them, not you.
Please don’t accept anyone’s suggestion to feed in the disabled toilet.
Firstly, that’s a facility for someone who’s disabled to use so you’re taking that away from someone who may need it.
Secondly, they should be asking anyone that complains to eat their lunch in the loo…or to leave as its against the law to ask you to feed elsewhere 😉
Bonus Tip, Document Your Journey.
It may feel all consuming and a bit messy in those early days of having a newborn. I get that.
Having someone photograph you before you feel ‘ready’ and confident can be a bit daunting.
I totally get those feelings. I also remember how sad I felt when our breastfeeding journey ended after 4 years and I only had a handful of photos!
These moments are fleeting and all the challenges pass by like seasons. Before we know it, they’ve had their last feed and we didn’t feel prepared.
Natural Breastfeeding Moments To Photograph
I love documenting breastfeeding journeys for Mothers in a more natural and honest way because I know what it feels like to not have those moments.
To not be reminded of the special breastfeeding snuggles amist all the challenges we faced.
Having it captured in this more candid way gives you a real moment to look back on and reflect. To feel proud of your achievements. And for getting through it together!
The odd selfie (or ‘Brelfie’ as they can be known) is wonderful but I bet no-one thinks to take one of you when you’re not aware. A photo that will capture that relaxed, natural moment of you both.
Being a Mum and the family ‘picture taker’, I know what it’s like so let me document your breastfeeding journey so far so you have this memory to keep and treasure forever…