13 Best Tips For Breastfeeding in Public for Successful Moms

Breastfeeding is beautiful and natural. Discover your rights and learn 13 most helpful tips for breastfeeding in public with confidence and comfort.

Tips For Breastfeeding in Public
Photo: breastfeedinginsheffield.co.uk

Breastfeeding your baby is a natural and beautiful way to nourish them and strengthen your bond. However, the thought of breastfeeding in public can sometimes feel daunting, especially with any negative societal views or lack of experience. But fret not, mama! The good news is that you have the legal right and the power to breastfeed anywhere in the United States anytime, as long as it’s not against the rules of a private business, thanks to federal and state laws protecting breastfeeding mothers. This article provides 11 helpful tips to make your public breastfeeding experience more comfortable and confident.

1. Know Your Rights

It’s empowering to be familiar with your legal rights. The U.S. Public Health Service Act (PHS Act) prohibits discrimination against breastfeeding mothers in any public or private place that allows the general public. This applies to restaurants, stores, parks, offices, and even public transportation.

While some states have additional laws specific to breastfeeding, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have legislation supporting mothers’ right to breastfeed publicly. Read more here: www.ncsl.org/health/breastfeeding-state-laws

Tips For Breastfeeding in Public - Nursing pads
Nursing pads | Photo: thebump.com

2. Be Prepared

Packing the right essentials makes all the difference. Consider carrying:

  • Nursing pads: To absorb any leaks, especially during the early breastfeeding days.
  • Nursing cover (optional): If you prefer additional privacy, a breathable cover can be helpful. Choose one that allows easy access for your baby and good airflow.
  • Comfortable clothing: Opt for tops with with easy access for breastfeeding, like loose-fitting shirts or dresses with nursing flaps.
  • Diaper bag essentials: Don’t forget diapers, wipes, a changing pad, and a burp cloth.
  • Snacks and water: Breastfeeding can make you thirsty and hungry, so pack some healthy snacks and a water bottle.
  • Entertainment (optional): A book, magazine, or phone can be handy for longer nursing sessions.

3. Find Your Comfort Spot

Choose a location where you feel comfortable and relaxed. Look for a quiet corner in a restaurant, a park bench under a tree, or even a designated nursing room if available. Many public places offer comfortable nursing rooms, equipped with changing tables and chairs, especially in shopping malls, airports, and government buildings. Don’t be afraid to ask an employee for suggestions if you need help finding a suitable spot.

4. Practice Makes Perfect

Before venturing out, practice breastfeeding in different positions at home. This will help you find what works best for you and your baby, and build your confidence. The cradle hold, cross-cradle hold, and football hold are popular choices, but you can adjust them based on your comfort and discretion. Consider practicing in front of a mirror to become comfortable with how you look while breastfeeding.

Tips For Breastfeeding in Public - Use of a Nursing Cover
Photo: kristenhewitt.me

5. Embrace the Use of a Nursing Cover (if desired)

While not everyone feels the need for a nursing cover, it can offer additional privacy and comfort. Choose a breathable and lightweight fabric that allows for easy eye contact with your baby and proper latching. Remember, a nursing cover is entirely optional, and you should feel empowered to breastfeed without one if you prefer.

6. Ignore Negative Comments

It’s unfortunate that even though it’s perfectly legal and natural, some people might still make negative comments about breastfeeding in public. Try to remember that their negativity is a reflection of their own biases and not a reflection of you or your motherhood. Focus on your baby and their needs, and don’t let negativity deter you.

7. Embrace the Support System

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your partner, family, and friends for support and encouragement. Talk to experienced breastfeeding moms, lactation consultants, or your pediatrician for guidance and reassurance. Joining a local breastfeeding support group can also connect you with a community of understanding individuals.

8. Connect with Other Moms

Knowing that you’re not alone can be a great source of strength. Join online breastfeeding support groups, attend local breastfeeding meetups, or connect with other moms who breastfeed in public. Sharing experiences and encouragement can boost your confidence and build a supportive community.

9. Be Patient

Breastfeeding in public might take some practice and getting used to. Don’t get discouraged if your baby doesn’t latch perfectly right away, or if you feel awkward at first. Take a deep breath, relax, and try again.

You May Read: 9 Effective Breastfeeding Positions For Older Babies

Tips For Breastfeeding in Public
Photo: thebump.com

10. Be Prepared for the Unexpected

Leaking can happen, so be prepared with nursing pads. If you experience discomfort or need assistance, don’t hesitate to excuse yourself and find a more private space. Remember, your baby’s well-being and your comfort are top priorities.

11. Trust Your Instincts

You are the best advocate for yourself and your baby. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, politely assert yourself and move to a different location. You are not obligated to engage in unwanted conversations or explanations.

12. Educate Yourself and Others

If you encounter someone who is unfamiliar with breastfeeding laws or rights, politely inform them. Having educational resources on hand, such as a printout of your state’s breastfeeding law, can help address their concerns and contribute to a more understanding environment. You can also suggest they research the U.S. Public Health Service Act and relevant state laws to learn more.

13. Remember, You are Not Alone

There are countless other mothers out there who have breastfed in public, and many more who will continue to do so. If you feel overwhelmed or discouraged, remember that you are part of a supportive community. Reach out for help, connect with other mothers, and share your experiences.

Bonus Tip: If you’re looking for additional resources, consider checking out the websites of La Leche League International (LLL) or the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee. They offer valuable information, support groups, and educational materials for breastfeeding mothers.

Breastfeeding. Know your rights.
Breastfeeding. Know your rights.
Photo: lmarelli.blogspot.com


  • Carry a resource card: Consider printing a small card with information about breastfeeding laws in your state or the National Women’s Health and Breastfeeding Helpline number (1-800-994-9662).
  • Normalize breastfeeding: By openly and confidently breastfeeding in public, you contribute to creating a more accepting and supportive environment for all breastfeeding mothers.
  • Use Breastfeeding Apps or Resources: Take advantage of breastfeeding apps or online resources that offer tips, advice, and support for breastfeeding mothers. These resources can provide valuable information on breastfeeding techniques, troubleshooting common challenges, and connecting with other breastfeeding mothers.

Celebrate Your Success

Breastfeeding in public can be a challenging yet empowering experience. Celebrate your small victories and acknowledge the courage it takes to nourish your baby confidently, regardless of the setting.


In conclusion, breastfeeding in public is a natural and legally protected right for mothers in the United States. By having best tips for breastfeeding in public and knowing your rights, finding support, dressing for comfort, and practicing confidence, you can breastfeed your baby wherever and whenever necessary with ease. Embrace the beauty of breastfeeding and empower yourself to feed your baby with pride and confidence, knowing that you are providing them with the best nutrition and nurturing possible.

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