Nothing is better for your newborn than mother’s milk. Breastfeeding is a natural, convenient and free way to give your baby the best nutrients it needs in the early days of life. It creates a bond between mother and child as well, and releases the body’s feel-good hormones. And nothing is easier too! When you are on the go – there’s no formula to mix and heat or bottles to fill and carry.
Here are a few essential points to keep in mind that will make your on-the-go breastfeeding experience a good one.
When planning to be out and about, think ahead to ensure you and your baby have everything needed for convenient and comfortable feeding. A nursing cloth is a good tool for ensuring privacy when feeding your baby, and is easy to use. Simply lay over mom’s shoulders and cover baby in a makeshift tent. It will also act as shade if breastfeeding outside on sunny days. Any large scarf or wrap can also serve as a nursing cloth.
Being comfortable and relaxed are key points when nursing on the go. Find a space without too much noise or distraction so you and baby can focus on nursing. In a pinch, sitting in the backseat of your car ensures more room to make baby comfortable. A shady park or quiet corner of a store or restaurant work as well.
Almost everyone understands that breastfeeding is simply how you nourish your baby – but you may encounter a few people who take personal offense. Fortunately, Michigan law is on your side. Your right to breastfeed in public is protected by the Breastfeeding Anti-Discrimination Act, which was passed in 2014. The law states that you can breastfeed your baby in any place that is open to the general public – including stores and restaurants. It also says that you cannot be denied service or access simply because you needed to feed your baby. Businesses are also not allowed to post signs prohibiting nursing. You don’t need to hide in a toilet stall. So ignore any stray looks that may come your way and remember you are doing what is best for your baby.
Keep in mind that you may need to feed yourself too! Bring healthy snacks to keep your own energy up. After all, breastfeeding burns a lot of calories. Pack healthy snacks and drink plenty of water when nursing. Keep all these things at hand in a bag that’s within reach. Taking a few moments to set up your surroundings prior to feeding will make the experience more enjoyable for you and your baby. Other possible items to consider when planning a day out at the beach or park may include: a portable chair, magazine or book, and sunscreen or hat.
If breastfeeding presents challenges but you’re committed to the experience, reach out to a health care provider or the La Leche League for advice and resources. Your Healthy Futures nurse is also a great resource to help you overcome any obstacles.
If you yourself have mixed emotions about breastfeeding, or feel pressure against it from family, friends or society, stay committed to what you believe is right for your child. Talk to your health care provider or Healthy Futures nurse for insight and support. In the most basic terms, your breasts are simply tools for feeding baby, and breastfeeding is your body’s natural ability and response to providing the best possible care for your child.