This is a question you may be asking yourself if you’re about to have a baby and you’re thinking about breastfeeding. Or maybe you’ve heard other people ask it. Maybe you’re wondering if a new mom even has to breastfeed in public. Maybe it all feels kind of embarrassing. Or awesome and great but awkward and weird. After all, many of our American moms didn’t breastfeed us in the 70s and early 80s. This is a new thing. But an ancient thing. And a natural thing. But a weirdly unfamiliar thing.
I understand all of this. I really do. The learning curve for new parents is tremendous and breastfeeding is the bulk of your first semester in Parenting 101. The fact is, you’ll get better and better at breastfeeding as time goes on and if you have some good support– people supporting your decision to breastfeed, as well as literal support for how it all works. And somewhere along the way you’ll likely find that, yes, you kind of do need to feed in public.
Sure some planning and pumping can make this less likely but babies feed ALL THE TIME and if you’re trying to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation to feed only breastmilk for the first 4-6 months, well, you’re bound to find yourself sitting with some other people one day–in a living room, in a diner, at a state fair, on the subway–and your baby starts fussing to be fed.
When this happens and if you feel at all worried about sating that baby’s hunger in front of other people, I want you to think about this very helpful factual infographic: