The World Health Organization recommends early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age and continued breastfeeding, with the introduction of solid food, for two years or beyond.
Breastfeeding has many well-documented benefits for both mothers and babies including: bonding and attachment; protecting mom against breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis; and protecting babe against ear infections, respiratory infection and diarrhea.
Breastfeeding also promotes babies’ tooth, jaw and brain development and provides optimal nutrition while saving money.
Breastfeeding shouldn’t prevent moms and babies from getting out and enjoying all the activities everyone else is doing. New babies breastfeed a lot so its important to be able to breastfeed comfortably even when away from home. If you are comfortable feeding your little one anywhere that is great. If you are feeling a little shy here are some tips to help you out.
The following tips will help make breastfeeding away from home more comfortable:
- Breastfeeding in public is legal and protected by the Human Rights Commission.
- Practice at home in front of a mirror. If you are concerned about showing some skin, experiment with different clothes and different positions. Baby will cover much of your skin.
- Choose clothing you feel comfortable in. Loose t-shirts can be lifted and baby can be snuggled into the side. Button-down shirts can be unbuttoned from the bottom. Wearing a cardigan or jacket over a tank top or t-shirt covers more skin. Belly bands used during pregnancy can be used to cover the tummy.
- Try feeding in a sling or wrap. With practice most moms and babes can do this.
- Choose a bra that is easy to use. Practice snapping or unclipping the bra with one hand.
- Pick a spot that is comfortable and less visible to the public.
- Plan a response if someone asks you to nurse in a different place. If there has been a complaint, suggest that the person finds a place to sit where they can’t see you nursing.
- Smile. Breastfeeding is important for you and your child. Smiling at people who are looking at you often will make things more comfortable for both of you.
Lactation consultants and public health nurses are available at Public Health Centres across Interior Health to assist mothers and infants during the breastfeeding years. Contact your local Public Health Centre for more information.
Author: Diane Cameron is a Public Health Nurse with Interior Health