PARENTING TIPS

Breastfeeding on the go

Yes, hello, it’s me, the woman who is often seen breastfeeding in public — and often while on the go! And not just sometimes, but absolutely wherever and whenever the baby wants to be fed. I am not one to sit on a park bench completely covered up while I feed. Sometimes I use a scarf if it is cold or we are in a formal setting  — like during a wedding — but in general I think breastfeeding is and should be the most natural thing in the world, so I don’t feel anxious about doing it in public.

The super casual breastfeeding attitude didn’t happen immediately, it happened out of necessity and with a bit of experience. When my first baby was a newborn, I used to plan a whole day out, but inevitably it would take me ten times longer than I’d planned to get anywhere because of all the breastfeeding ‘pit stops.’

Then one day she began to cry those hungry cries! (The worst!) And as the crying got louder and louder, I became increasingly upset that I couldn’t soothe her. When she looked up at me in her little baby carrier, so super hungry, and so desperate to be fed, how could I refuse? That sweet little hungry babe! So I just decided to slip my breast out of my dress and my nipple into her mouth. And instant relief! calm! happiness! milk induced bliss!… Ahhh. Relief for both of us! It was really the only option, especially since I was on a very busy and slightly grotty, London street, without a picnic bench or place to sit.  What choice did I have?

That was the day I mastered the art of ‘breastfeeding on the go,’ and it was a total game changer for me. It was convenient, comfortable, and most of all, it was so very easy! I could breastfeed while walking, shopping, talking, or commuting on public transport with her in the baby carrier. Multi-tasking the whole time. Which meant I could enjoy feeding more, and also get more accomplished. It was so convenient that we continued this feeding until she was two years old, at which time I was pregnant so avoided carrying the heavy toddler around!

With my second child, I would feed him in the carrier while pushing my eldest in the buggy. We would get so much done, and often as he doze off for a nap, I would get to enjoy some one-on-one time with my daughter.

Often if we are somewhere remote, I will even just hold the baby and feed him in my arms while we are walking, without the need for a sling or carrier.

This idea to breastfeed on the go is by no means a case of ‘a woman should do everything at once,’ but rather the exact opposite. This is a way to make life that much smoother, easier, and to enjoy the joy of feeding while doing other things.

Breastfeeding ‘on the go’, however, isn’t without some moments of comedy. Numerous times I have had a dad friend want to see ‘the new baby’ so they have moved the scarf or shawl aside to realise it wasn’t just a newborn head they were staring at. Um, ‘I am feeding them right now,’ I would say.

A friend of mine with four children told me that the concept of breastfeeding in the carrier had never even occurred to her before I mentioned it, but it had transformed her life! She started doing it right away when the baby was a newborn so everyone gets used to it — her, her back, her milk supply, and her baby. Then she could easily enjoy time with her eldest three while having her hands free, and feeding the little one at the same time. Everyone was a winner. And I love that I was able to teach a mama of four this handy trick!

Feeding on the go is quite simple, but might require an additional helping hand at first (of your partner probably)! Of course you need to make sure the baby is totally secure in the carrier, and slightly adjust it so it is a bit lower than normal (normally you should be able to kiss your babies head, so a little bit lower than that). You want to make sure the baby has proper ways to breath, because safety first, of course!  This video is helpful. And these illustrations shows a range of styles — some I have never tried but like the looks of.

Remember to wear something you can easily unbutton, move around, or pull down. You will become a pro in no time with dressing and breastfeeding and carrier wearing! And don’t wear a playsuit! It makes going to the toilet impossible after the baby has fallen asleep in a milky dream! In colder months, I often wear a cardi or coat over the carrier and a scarf around my neck and upper chest so that it keeps things warmer too when your top is unbuttoned. But we have lots of great nursing clothing suggestions too.

Supposedly not everyone can breastfeed in a carrier even if they are happy to feed in public. Another friend of mine says she is unable to breastfeed in the carrier because her breasts are too big and it’s too uncomfortable.  I suppose it might also depend on the size of your torso, and maybe even your carrier (some are easier to adjust than others).

I would love to hear your thoughts about breastfeeding ‘on the go.’ Have you ever tried it? And what do you think of breastfeeding in public? Or while multi-tasking and walking, talking, shopping, etc?

Good luck however or wherever you feed your baby!

Lara x

And a few other interesting breastfeeding posts to shed light on different scenarios… Tandem Breastfeeding,  Breastfeeding in Public, and also a helpful post about being on the go… Travelling Mamas without the Papas.


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Comments (2)

Jen
May 22, 2018

Thanks for this, Lara! I just spent a day traveling by air yesterday—and though I wasn’t using a carrier, I felt free to nurse my 9-month old in public in relatively conservative regions of the US. I used to feel I should cover myself more when feeding in public, not for myself, but so that I didn’t make those around me uncomfortable. But, I realized in the process, I was making my baby (hot & sweaty) and myself uncomfortable! So, I’ve since let go of that silliness and embraced the fact that breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world—and it’s important to exemplify this for others. Thanks again for your post!


Elise
May 22, 2018

Brilliant!!! I’ve never breastfeed in a carrier but plenty in public. I wish I had known about this earlier – my little one is just over 2 and I am trying to limit feeding to home time now (for my own sanity more than anything).


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