What kinds of images come to your mind when you think of breastfeeding in public? We often think primarily of the stories about moms who were breastfeeding in public and someone, usually a stranger, asked them to cover up. This can cause feelings of anxiety about how to breastfeed in public for moms who have not done it before.
First, let’s talk about what your rights are as a breastfeeding mom in Colorado, and how to be comfortable with breastfeeding outside of your home, free to feed your baby when he or she is hungry without worry of being embarrassed or harassed.
Colorado breastfeeding law 25-6-302 states quite clearly: “A mother may breastfeed in any place she has a right to be.”
Now you know that as long as you are allowed to be there, you can breastfeed! It’s pretty straightforward! The law protects and supports you as a breastfeeding mom.
Should you cover up while breastfeeding?
“Should” is a strong word. In short, if it helps you feel more comfortable to breastfeed in public, then, yes! If you or your baby struggle with covers or dislike them, then don’t bother! It is not your responsibility to make sure others around you are comfortable when your baby is eating.There are many, many different kinds of covers that you can buy or make yourself.
My favorite breastfeeding accessory was the nursing tank. I could un-snap from the top, pull baby in close, and latch him on without anyone noticing. My belly was completely covered. It was nice not having to lift up my shirt or pull my breast out above my shirt. This was the most discreet way that I found to do it. It gave me the confidence to breastfeed anywhere that I needed to, including the store, church, or at someone else’s house.
But what if someone confronts you while you’re breastfeeding?
Be reassured that most of the time, no one will even notice you are breastfeeding in public. It is rare that someone is asked to stop breastfeeding by a stranger. The media would show otherwise, but don’t pay attention to that! The stories you see on Facebook, etc, will give you undue fear and anxiety. Be confident that you can feed your baby and meet his or her basic needs in peace.
What should you do in the unlikely event that someone does say something to you? First and foremost, try to stay calm. You are representing breastfeeding moms everywhere and you have an opportunity to set a good example and be non-inflammatory. You could even role-play what you might say with your partner or a friend ahead of time.
State to the stranger that you are protected by law to freely breastfeed. Let them know that you are meeting your baby’s basic need and that you have every right to do so. Then look deeply into your sweet baby’s eyes and think about how much you love them and love being able to sustain them 100% from your own body! Amazing, right?
In summary, the best people to talk to about breastfeeding in public are the moms who have already done it successfully. Get ideas from them about how they do it. You might be surprised by what you hear. Most of them are probably going to tell you that they quickly learned how to feed the baby while out-and-about with little to no problems. ❤️