Breastfeeding in public can be daunting for many new mothers. There’s social stigma and fear of flashing the flesh working against our maternal mission to meet our baby’s every need, no matter the time or place. The fact is, in winter, we’re adorned with sweaters, scarves, and layers that make discrete nursing in public possible. As the weather warms, however, we often find ourselves with fewer pieces of fabric with which to cover ourselves and our baby.
Overcoming warm weather breastfeeding challenges is simple but it takes patience, practice, and the courage to do what’s right for you and your baby, regardless of what others may think.
BREASTFEEDING IS HOT WORK!
I don’t know if it’s a physiological thing, perhaps an increased metabolism (although my waistline says otherwise), or simply holding my baby close for hours and hours every day, but I sweat when I breastfeed. I feel as though my body temperature increases by ten degrees or so as I sit and nurse my baby—and I have the body odor to prove it thanks to swearing off toxic antiperspirants for the health of my baby.
To deal with the heat and perspiration during nursing, I tend to dress lighter than I otherwise would. I’m not going to want to nurse my baby, knowing it makes me swelter if I’m dressed too warmly. My message here is to wear what’s comfortable for you. A nursing tank with a t-shirt on top is an easy way to layer enough for discretion while nursing without loading your torso up with unnecessary fabrics that just add to your discomfort.
Read Related: Faux Pas-Free Nursing: Feeding Your Little One in Style
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
If you’re feeling as though a nip-slip might ruin you (and trust me, it won’t, but I understand wanting to stay covered), practice nursing in front of a mirror. Watch yourself as you slip your breast out from your shirt and move your baby to latch onto your nipple. Did you catch a glimpse of a little too much? Try again. With practice, you and your baby will get faster and more efficient so less skin is visible. Having trouble with the mirror? Ask your partner or a trusted friend to watch you and give you a description of what they can see.
JUST DO IT!
If your baby is hungry and it’s not convenient or comfortable to cover yourself and your baby, just don’t! Meet your baby’s needs as they arise and keep yourself as comfortable as you can. Breastfeeding is not easy in and of itself, so feeling as though you should take extra steps just to keep other people around you from feeling uncomfortable about your exposed skin is not going to help you on your nursing journey. Be proud to be providing such nourishment for your child and feel empowered to do so. If I happen to see you, I promise to give you a warm smile of approval and many other women (and men!) are quick to do the same.