Breastfeeding when you’re out is convenient, hygienic and the most natural and healthy way for your baby to feed – so be proud of what you’re doing.
Naturally, you might feel a bit self-conscious at first but there are lots of moms out there enjoying the freedom breastfeeding allows. Baby feeding and wellbeing advisor at Philips Avent, Vicki Scott shares her do’s and don’t’s of breastfeeding on-the-go:
- Feel proud of yourself – moms who breastfeed their babies in public are doing a huge amount towards making breastfeeding more popular, visible and back to being the ‘norm’ again
- Practice feeding positions at home first, making it easy to latch your baby on without having to remove layers of clothing or expose more than you would like to! Practice using a shawl or scarf as a cover-up if you like.
- Whether it’s going out for lunch, meeting a friend for coffee or enjoying a little retail therapy, do phone ahead to see what facilities are available for you and your baby. Are there baby-changing, breastfeeding and milk/food warming facilities? Are highchairs available for older babies and toddlers? Make sure any restaurant you are visiting is ‘child-friendly’ so that you can relax and enjoy your meal without having to worry too much about disturbing others.
- Choose a bag that has been designed with a mom in mind. Essential items for your bag will include breast pads, nipple cream (if using) nappies, wipes, nappy sacks, a change of clothes, bibs, milk (if you are bottle feeding), a feeding cup and some snacks for a baby that is weaned (not recommended before six months). Take along a few favourite toys to keep your baby entertained.
- Consider expressing breast milk if you choose not to breastfeed while you are out. Take along the milk in a sterilized bottle and carry it in a specially designed insulated bag with a small cool pack inside to keep it fresh.
- Carry plenty of healthy snacks for your older baby or toddler in an airtight container. Rice cakes, pieces of fruit like apples, grapes and strawberries, sticks of carrot and cucumber, raisins and cubes of cheese all make nutritious snacks which your child will thoroughly enjoy. Ensure that you always carry fresh, drinkable water in an appropriate feeding cup with you, as once your baby is weaned this will be essential.
- Think you should be out and about too early on. It will depend on how quickly you and your baby get to grips with feeding but there’s no rush. Venture out when you feel ready. Time your trips out between feeds at first.
- Forget to make sure you have a drink to hand – take along some water. Breastfeeding is thirsty work.
- Wait until your baby is properly hungry before finding somewhere to feed. Plan a stop a little while before if you can so you’re not frazzled by those cries of hunger!
- Pay too much attention to the news – ignore anything you might read about women being told to stop feeding their babies, or who have negative comments thrown at them. This is much rarer than it seems – most people will be oblivious to the fact you are breastfeeding.
- Feel that you have to breastfeed in a room full of people if you’re not comfortable. It’s increasingly easy now to find somewhere a little more private to feed your baby while you’re out if that’s what you prefer. Many shopping centres, department stores, baby shops and supermarkets have special feeding rooms where you can breastfeed or bottle-feed, and change your baby’s nappy.
Invest in a Phillips Avent manual breast pump for R1058.48, and express, store and feed your breast milk efficiently, with the Philips Avent storage cups (R471.70). Available at Baby City, Toys R Us, Baby Boom, Dis-Chem and Clicks as well Takealot, Loot, Babies R Us and Babies Africa.
Share your tips and get more advice on breastfeeding away from home from other moms by visiting Philips Avent on Facebook.