When you’re expecting your first baby you often have some really firm ideas about what you are and are not going to do with your baby.  You may not be sure how you feel about some things.  Feeding your baby in public is one of those topics that can polarise people.  So, let’s look at the facts.

Babies are born with small tummies and exclusively breastfed babies digest their perfect food efficiently, so it moves through their gut quite quickly.  This all adds up to small babies needing to be fed fairly frequently.  Older babies can also go through periods where they need to feed more frequently than usual.  These situations, in themselves, are not an issue until you find yourself out in public with a baby who is showing all the signs of needing a feed.  What do you do?

The answer to this is as individual as each mother/baby pair.  Some people feel very comfortable attending to their baby’s breastfeeding requirements when ever and where ever the baby needs.  So, for these people, it’s a simple matter of finding a comfortable position for themselves and their baby and getting on with it.  Remember, you are allowed to feed your baby anywhere!  There are very few exceptions to this rule.

Other people are more concerned about feeding in public.  They may feel exposed or vulnerable feeding their baby in a public place.  For these people a quite corner of a café, a feeding room at a shop or in the passenger seat of the car can be a safe private place for them to meet their baby’s needs.  Some people choose to attach their baby and cover them with a wrap or baby-feeding cape.  This works for some people, and not for others – particularly as the baby gets older and wants to see what is happening around them.  Some mothers find that newer styles of breastfeeding-friendly clothing make them feel less exposed when they do need to feed in public, or that by sitting in front of a mirror and feeding their baby, they may be able to tell that actually, not a lot of skin or breast is visible when a baby is attached.

Or, like a lot of people, you may find you are a mixture of both.  You may feel comfortable feeding in public in certain situations and in front of certain people, and with other people and locations you may feel that you would like to cover yourself or your feeding baby.

No matter what your feelings on feeding in public, the most important thing is to do what works for you and your baby.  Feeding your baby when they need it is much easier when you feel comfortable.  You are more likely to get a quick let-down and be able to enjoy those lovely hormones, released with each feed, that make you feel like everything is going to be OK.


(Above photo by Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot)


  1. Debbie Brown

    I felt fine feeding in public and I was very lucky to have only good experiences with this. It did however get a little difficult when my baby was older, only because he was a bit of a sticky beak and wanted to look at anything and anyone passing by. This is when I found myself looking for feeding rooms or very quiet corners where I could keep stimulation to a minimum which allowed bub to focus on what he was supposed to be doing!

  2. Stacey Revie

    I agree, Debbie. I only had positive feeding experiences feeding my babies when I was out and about. In one cafe, an older lady approached me and I was expecting the worst. She told me how much she had enjoyed feeding her babies and asked if she could get me a glass of water!

    You’re right, as well, with babies becoming distractible when they reach about 4 months or so. Some mums can interpret this as breast refusal, or the baby wanting to wean when it can, in fact, be a normal part of a baby’s development. Finding a quiet place to feed can be a life saver. We’re so lucky now to have better feeding facilities in so many places.

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