If you’re like most new moms, feeding your baby on the go makes you a little nervous. It’s not always easy to breastfeed comfortably or to calmly prepare a bottle of formula when your baby is screaming in a public place. And when solids are part of your baby’s daily diet and you have to juggle jars, containers, spoons, and bibs — what’s the best way to manage?
Here’s a guide to help you survive those outings from day one through the first year — along with practical products to make eating out easier.
Breastfeeding in Public
Prying eyes, leaking breasts, and a hungry baby who can’t wait for you to find just the right place for feeding: Nursing your child in public can be nerve-racking at first.
What helps: Nursing bras with cups you can unhook with one hand.
You might be surprised at how much fumbling it takes to get your bra unhooked and your baby latched on when you’re not sitting in your favorite nursing spot at home. A bra with cups that you can maneuver with one hand will help you avoid those awkward moments. Nursing tops. Like maternity clothing, nursing-wear has gotten very stylish. You can find tops, dresses, and sweaters that look like regular clothes but have discreet openings near your breasts so your baby can get to his lunch while you stay covered up.
A lightweight blanketlike drape that attaches around your neck with a snap or Velcro provides privacy and stays put — even if your baby tugs on it while nursing.
A breast pump.
If you get into the habit of pumping and storing breast milk, you’ll always have the option of bottle-feeding your baby. That comes in handy when you’re headed somewhere (such as a wedding) where breastfeeding might feel awkward or be inconvenient. You can store pumped breast milk at room temperature (no more than 77 degrees Fahrenheit, 25 degrees Celsius) for up to four hours, in a cooler with refreezable ice packs for up to 24 hours, and in a refrigerator for up to 72 hours (three days). (To heat it, just run the bottle under hot water or use a portable bottle warmer.)
A car-adapter for a breast pump.
The most effective breast pumps are electric, so if you’re traveling by car and won’t have access to electricity, buy an adapter that allows you to plug your pump into the car. (You can also use a manual pump, but they’re not as efficient as the electric ones.)
Inflatable breastfeeding pillow.
Breastfeeding can be a ticket to back pain if you don’t have proper support. Look for an inflatable breastfeeding pillow that tucks into your diaper bag — it will position your baby correctly and reduce strain on your back and arms so you can nurse comfortably wherever you go.
Tip: For more discreet breastfeeding in public, wear a blouse that buttons down the front and unbutton it from the bottom so your breasts stay covered.