Nursing in Public


 Now that you are feeling comfortable with breastfeeding, it is time to venture out of the house.  Babies get hungry frequently in the early months and it is expected that you will need to feed him or her in a place other than home.  Besides, you have a life and you will and should get out to socialize and participate in activities.  Being able to nurse your baby anywhere, anytime, aids in meeting your long-term breastfeeding goals.

Breastfeeding in public can be intimidating for a new mom.  You are concerned that everyone is looking, you are afraid to expose your breast while latching your baby on.  Fortunately, there are ways to nurse your baby in public with confidence.  

Tips for Nursing in Public


  • Know your rights.  By British Columbia law you are legally allowed to breastfeed you baby/child anywhere, anytime.  
  • Practice at home:  in front of a mirror:  How much can you see?
  •  Breastfeed in front of people you feel comfortable with at their home or in yours  eg; family, friends of both sexes.
  • Dress for ease of access.  Wear a two piece outfit with a top that you can pull up, no dresses.  Tops that are roomy work well to cover better.  Belly bands for pregnancy work to cover your lower half.  Cover your top with a sweater or jacket, this extra layer can help to hide anything.   Find breastfeeding bras that you can do up and undo with one hand.  A sports bra can be pulled up, but make sure it is not too tight when pulled up.  Too much pressure over one area of the breast may decrease drainage from that area. 
  • Use a sling or wrap.  With some experience you can even walk around and breastfeed.
  • Pick your spot: away from busy areas will help you feel more comfortable.  In a restaurant, choose a booth and sit inside.  If at a table, choose against the wall and face away from the room- not in the center of the room.
  • Consider a cover:  If this helps you feel more comfortable at first, then try it.  However, as the baby gets older, it is often more difficult, as they pull it off. 
  • Take your first trip with experienced breastfeeding friend/s.  There is comfort and support in numbers. 

Once you feel comfortable breastfeeding in public you will relax and find that the looks you get are often smiles from other women.   This is where the convenience of breastfeeding is noticeable. Remember that when you breastfeed in public you are educating those around you to make breastfeeding in public the norm and you will make it easier for other mothers. 

Local Progress

 Breastfeeding advocates have done a good job of promoting breastfeeding and we have good support in the hospital and community, but breastfeeding in public is the next promotion.   The goal of this promotion is to normalize public breastfeeding.  Women should be able to feel comfortable breastfeeding anywhere, anytime. 

 Life sized cut outs
BMIK has produced three life sized cutouts of mothers breastfeeding.  They each carry a sign that states; 

   “When breastfeeding in public is the norm, you won’t be noticed. “

 The plan is to place these around town to educate the public and help to normalize the activity. Keep your eye out for one of these. 

Baby Friendly businesses
BMIK has compiled a list of local business that are breastfeeding and child friendly.  These are available on the Breastfeeding Friendly Map ​ 

What you can do

  • Breastfeed in public.  The more women that do this, the more it will become the norm, and you won’t be noticed.
  • Support any mother you see breastfeeding in public with a smile or a BMIK card (available from BMIK).
  • Attend the Breastfeeding Challenge held each October.