On-the-Go Breastfeeding Essentials
It's inevitable. At some point you'll find yourself nursing in public. Probably outside. Definitely in plain sight. But don't panic. Breastfeeding on the go doesn't have to be stressful or uncomfortable, and we'll show you how right here.
A Place of Your Own
Your first step is to find some privacy. Try to find a bench, preferably one with back support but any flat surface will do (even steps work in a pinch!). Make sure it’s shaded, as off the beaten path as possible. If you’re coming and going by car, try the front seat. The one place to avoid is public bathrooms; while a stall offers privacy the whole place is teeming with germs. You can do better.
Nursing bras are your number one Must-Have and here’s why: They have ingenious snaps that allow your baby access without turning every feeding session into a strip tease. Try a soft cup for the right blend of flexibility and support. You’ll want to buy three to five bras in total. For bras on a budget, Gilligan & O’Malley (available at Target) has the highest ratings around. Also beloved by new moms, but more of a splurge, is the Elle MacPherson maternity line.
Timing Is Everything
Try to stick to your regular feeding schedule, give or take 30 minutes. If he knows what to expect (food) and when (regularly), your baby will be calmer and easier to deal with while you’re out and about. And trust us, this is something you want. Plan your outing so you’re in a comfortable place by the time you’ll need to feed. (Ditto for naptime, though that’s simpler. A front carrier, stroller or car seat will do.)
Many moms swear by nursing shirts with built-in openings. The great thing about a nursing shirt is privacy. And ease. Privacy and ease: the combination is as good as chocolate and peanut butter. Almost.
A nursing tank top won’t offer as much support as a bra (obviously) but it can transform any regular T-shirt or sweater into a comfortable breastfeeding top. That’s because your back and tummy will always be concealed. They also double as handy jammies.
Feeling funny about barring all in public? A cloth coverup could change everything. Make sure it has a peek-a-boo neckline, like the Balboa Nursing Cover , that allows you to see what’s going on down there without exposing everything anyway. Or turn any blanket into a stay-put shield with the Little Carr Cover Me Strap. (Bonus: this elastic strap can even transform a burp cloth into a bib.)
Sopping Up Spills
Along with diapers, a burp cloth is the other item you won’t want to leave home without. Ever. We like Aden + Anais’ because their kidney bean shape drapes so comfortably over your shoulder but any cloth will do. Even a set of cloth towels or large napkins works too.
Bring an extra outfit for your baby, for the obvious reasons. And while you’re at it, bring an extra shirt for yourself. We don’t want to weigh you down with extra gear but after the milk goes down, it’s likely to come up again and if you never spend a day in a milk-soaked shirt, you’ll thank us, for the obvious reasons.
A Wet One
Don’t forget the wipes. They’re not just for diaper changes. Think of wipes as a damp sponge on the go, ready to wipe down a car seat, stroller, or any number of places that your baby is bound to spit up, drool, or otherwise leak.
Nursing pads, whether they’re washable or disposable, are particularly important in the early days of nursing. You’re bound to leak a little in-between feedings and especially right before. While milk rings on your shirt are annoying at home, they’re mortifying in public. So just pop in a couple of fresh pads when you’re done feeding and don’t worry.
Another snag during the first weeks of breastfeeding can be nipple soreness. But you don’t have to suffer when you’re away from home. Either pack medicated pads (we like Soothies) or bring your tube of nipple cream and reapply after each feeding. Note, we DO suggest going into the bathroom for this.
Sound like a lot of gear? Yeah, we thought so. But the good news is that diaper bags are getting sleeker by the second. We’ve found these design-worthy bags to prove it!
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