Prisons, public transport and foreign lands – public nursing PLUS win a Breastvest!

I don’t really remember the first time I fed the Wee Man in public. Well, the first time I breastfed him in public, anyway.

I have very clear memories of walking down the local high street when he was a few days old, with him screaming like it was the end of the world and me frantically trying to sort out a bottle of milk for him, ending up sitting on the pavement and feeling like I was about to burst into tears myself whilst curious passers by stopped and stared at the spectacle of a crazed looking woman and extremely red faced howling baby hanging around in the middle of the street.

That’s because we were combination feeding due to all the problems I had establishing breastfeeding initially, and I was expressing milk and topping up with fomula, both of which were fed to him via bottles. I’m sure at that point, being an inexperienced mum I’d have had almost as much trouble trying to get him latched on in public, had the breastfeeding been more established then, but I do remember thinking that at least if I had been breastfeeding I could have just whipped out a boob and at least tried to pacify him without quite so much screaming…

I’m sure there were occasions once I was breastfeeding a bit more where I did feel a little uncomfortable or embarrassed in the early days – but the Wee Man and I went out to various baby groups, visited other mums and babies at each others houses, and eventually the whole feeding in public issue faded to being a complete non-issue for me. And now it just seems like something second nature that you do, and I don’t give it a second thought really.

Plus, once the breastfeeding WAS established, we had tried so long and so hard that I think I was basically just proud that we’d finally achieved it and I didn’t care who saw us!

But there have been a few strange moments along the way…

…the first being when the Wee Man was about three months old and had just learned that the world was a very interesting place. I have a forceful letdown, he had a habit of pulling off the breast to have a good look round, and one day whilst we were sitting in the Snow Centre cafe he combined my letdown with his pulling away, resulting in my milk spurting about three metres across the room.

At which point I drooped down into the cushions and hid my face whilst I listened to a few confused customers wondering ‘whats that and where did it come from…’

I also had occasion to feed the Wee Man in Wormwood Scrubs. Which is fine, except there were about fifty male prisoners in the room, all of whom hadn’t seen a real live boob for quite some time. As I prepared to feed the Wee Man I suddenly became aware of quite a lot of eyes on us. And, out of consideration mainly to the person I was visiting who was clearly getting a bit embarassed, that’s about one of the only times I’ve covered up with a muslin whilst breastfeeding.

And finally, with Bubby D we had an experience which really showed the contrasts in public opinion, whilst we were on holiday in Madrid. Visiting a large department store, it became clear that Bubby D was after a feed so we sat ourselves down in the cafe and I proceeded to go for it – at which point, one of the tables opposite gasped loudly and started speaking angrily and loudly in Spanish, sending barbed looks in our direction. At the same time, the table next to them started beaming in delight, gesturing and crying out in happy tones, nodding and smiling at Bubby D. Then the two tables started glaring and gesturing at each other…and although I don’t understand much Spanish, it was pretty clear what was going on from the various body language on display! Eventually, the angry table stood up stiffly and left, the happy table sent us more happy smiles, and Bubby D continued blissfully with her feed, totally unaware of the uproar she had caused.

But in general whilst out and about I’ve experienced only positive reactions. Old ladies on buses nod and smile. Businessmen on the tube have on occasion seemed perhaps a little perturbed but either just concentrate fiercly on their iPad or just remove themselves to another carriage without a fuss. Small children walk up to me inquisitively and question what I’m doing whilst their parents generally blush slightly, and then smile as I explain in simple terms that I’m giving milk to my baby and I’m happy to let them watch if they’d like to. And most of the time, people don’t even realise that I’m feeding at all!

In fact, I think most mothers are very fuss-free and not obvious at all when it comes to breastfeeding out and about, which is perhaps one of the reasons why people don’t realise it’s going on as much as it does. I’ve always worn clothing that was easy to feed in, making breastfeeding very discreet and meaning that I’ve felt no real need to cover up at all as there is nothing on show. I own many Breastvests, and I’ve found them invaluble as they meant I could layer my normal clothes over the top and pull them up to feed while still covering my post-baby stomach and staying warm (I get cold easily so that’s a big plus for me!). They’ve been particularly good for work too once I returned and needed to wear smart clothes that were still accessible for pumping.

And there’s great news, because if you’d like to try out a Breastvest yourself then you could win one by entering my competition below (plus, if you can’t wait you can use discount code BSH25 at the checkout when you buy one from and you’ll get 25% off!) :

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don’t forget to enter to win over £1000 of goodies in the Grand Prize too – there’s a Breastvest on offer there as well 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Lots of other lovely bloggers have been writing about breastfeeding too this week, and here are some of my favourites from today:

Respectable Breast Spectacle – who talks about what happens when you get chickens and breastfeeding confused…

Pea Musings – a great post about feeling the fear and doing it anyway

Life, Love and Living with Boys shares some funny tales of public nursing…anyone got any idea what ‘the sausage side’ is?

The Mummy Adventure who writes about the benefits of breastfeeding support groups

and The Brick Castle who highlights how important having support can be

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