Out and about
Some mothers can feed happily enough when family or friends are around but feel awkward when they are in a public place; others find it's the other way round.
In the hospital
Most mums need some practical help with starting breastfeeding, not least because breastfeeding is completely new to them and they're tired after the delivery. The midwife will help you position your baby properly so that he can attach well. The first few attempts may be tricky, but it will get easier as you get more experienced. Some babies take longer to get the hang of breastfeeding than others but most of them with stores of fat and fluid that will keep them going for several days.
Most women don't get the technique straight away, so when you are learning to feed in the hospital you can pull the curtains round your bed for extra privacy if you want to.
Depending on how your family feels about breastfeeding you may find it more difficult to feed in front of them.
If this is the case, there are a few things you can do to make things easier:
- Let family and friends know before the birth that you will be breastfeeding.
- Ask your family to visit this website and read for themselves about the benefits for you and your baby
- Talk to them about how much you want to do this for your baby
- Dispel any misconceptions they may have about breastfeeding using our Mythbuster
- Explain that although it may seem strange at first, once you get the hang of breastfeeding you will be able to do it very discreetly
Attitudes are changing and in Scotland you have the legal right to feed your baby wherever you may be. Shops and cafes should offer no objection and you can feel confident that you are entitled to breastfeed. Many businesses and public places now have supportive breastfeeding policies.
Once you feel confident, you can breastfeed so that others are not even aware of it. You don't need to unbutton your top and expose your whole breast to feed your baby. If you wear something that lifts up from the waist like a t-shirt or a jumper, rather than a shirt or blouse with buttons, you can breastfeed without any breast showing at all. Remember that your confidence is likely to grow as you and your baby get more used to breastfeeding. Also, your baby's feeds will become less frequent, so you can plan to go out between feeds.
If you really don’t feel comfortable you can always express your milk for your baby and feed using a bottle or cup.
You can also consider buying a sling for your baby, which allows you to carry your baby around close to you, keeps your hands free and allows you to breastfeed almost invisibly.