Nursing In Public – Keep Britain Breastfeeding Week

keepbritainbreastfeedinglogo2013Today the blogs participating in the Scavenger Hunt will be talking about Positive Nursing In Public Experiences & Funny Breastfeeding Memories.

As a Muslim woman that always covers in public, feeding in public or while out and about was not something that came too easily for me initially. I did find it quite daunting and I never once fed my first two babies outside of the house. With my second baby, I was out a lot as the older one had toddler groups, so I used to always bring bottles for him and soon enough that was the end of the breastfeeding! (I will be writing more about these experiences on Friday).

With my 3rd child I decided I have to do things a bit differently, so I just fed him everywhere. As I had that bit more experience I had more confidence with feeding and was able to do this, but for me the main factor making it easy to feed outside the house was having suitable clothes. I always managed to feed without ever showing anything.

Now that my child is a bit older I don’t tend to feed him outside anymore as he is close to two years now so needs feeding less and is more able to wait, but I used to find abayahs which are made specially for breastfeeding or if I couldn’t find it, i just took some plain ones to a tailor and had a zip put in. The combination of long hijab, and a zip from the neck of the abayah downwards, means that you can feed without showing anything at all and is quite easy. I always found the zip easier than the wrap opening type of abayahs, although I did use both.

It’s not always easy to find the breastfeeding friendly abayahs, but here are a few I have found available at the moment for any Muslim sisters looking!

aab breastfeeding abayah abaya jilbab

Samsara Abaya from Aab

wrap breastfeeding abayah abaya

Faux Wrap Abaya from Shukr

breast feeding abayah from inayah collections abaya jilbab

Rose Tint Abaya from Inayah Collection

After I started feeding my youngest out and about, I got a lot more confidence with it and was able to feed him anywhere without anyone ever noticing. I sometimes had to feed him in restaurants, in the town hall, on the tube or bus or in the park, but I always felt confident that I am covered and it was all fine. I think this did help me to continue with breastfeeding for longer, as I am out of the house a lot and to just feed him anywhere allowed me to continue with breastfeeding on demand and fully establish that, without mixing in bottles at an early age.

Of course there are other clothing options too but with things like maxi dresses I found it a bit more difficult because with hijab you tend to need a top underneath and then that’s another extra layer to deal with and complicate things! I found the same with the nursing covers, that personally as I have so much fabric all over me in the first place, an extra cover actually hindered me more than helped but I do know some women found it gave them a lot more confidence and reassurance that they will be fully covered, so they prefer to use it. So I would say it is definitely worth trying one on and seeing how it goes, if you can borrow from someone to try it out before committing to buying one, then I would do that first.

I have sometimes had people presuming that Muslim women because we do cover up, must not breastfeed and that we would never breastfeed outside the house. The misconception  is that because of how much we cover we won’t be able to, but although it can be difficult or daunting at first, many of us still do feed outside. Breastfeeding is actually mentioned in our religion and is a rewarded act for us. There are a lot of narrations about this for anyone who is interested. It is actually recommended in Quran that we can feed for two years, the same as the WHO recommendations so plenty of women in our community do that!

Mothers shall suckle their children for two full years, – that for such as desire to complete the suckling

 وَالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلاَدَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ كَامِلَيْنِ لِــمَنْ أَرَادَ أَن يُتِمَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ

It also goes to show, that breastfeeding outside can be done discretely and definitely not a case of having to show off your skin if you are not comfortable, as many like me are doing it without showing anything. Most of the time people would not even know you are feeding, so once you get used to it you wouldn’t have to feel self concious.

Even in the house among family and friends, I am not really one to whip everything out and feed. I have previously tested out a BreastVest and this is a product which helps you to feel more confident when feeding in front of others, as it ensures your stomach will be fully covered if lifting your top, so you do not ever have to show any more than necessary. I have one to give away here on the blog in conjunction with Keep Britain Breastfeeding week and BreastVest also have a 25% discount running using the code BSH25 on their website (expiring 23/06/2013)

Here is today’s Rafflecopter for the main prize draw.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As usual with the Scavenger Hunt we are linking to other participating bloggers so today I would like to share the following blogs with you:

Life with Pink Princesses

Simply Hayley

Diary of a First Child

The Princess Poet’s Life Adventures

Circus Queen

And one company: Snoob the makers of a handy breastfeeding scarf, which makes it easier to feed in public. I have never tried this but like the look of it, as it doesn’t look at all bulky, and would be really convenient.

breastfeeding nursing abayahs

36 thoughts on “Nursing In Public – Keep Britain Breastfeeding Week”

  1. I’d never even considered that NIP may impact on mums culturally so this was an eye opener. Well done for overcoming obstacles, I’m sure many others will find confidence in your example 🙂

  2. my eldest always produced funny moments when out in public, usually including the word ‘boobies’ very loudly lol

  3. I am a Muslim revert and although I don’t yet wear hijab, I do cover up so always use a nursing cove/shawl and breast vest so that I can nurse wherever I go without showing anything. As you say, many people don’t even notice. When I lived in Egypt and Dubai I admired the discreet nursing specially adapted abayas offered.

  4. I don’t really have a funny breastfeeding story as I’ve been lucky to never have had any comments or mishaps (yet!) while feeding in public. I just wanted to say thank you for writing this, it was something that came up in a conversation with my OH the other day so I will be passing this link to him 🙂

  5. I don’t have any funny NIP stories but I’m proud to say that after 2 years of not nursing my boys in public I have now begun to. In the last 8 weeks I have NIP on a steam train, zoo safari truck and a buttercup meadow. I always wear a vest to cover my twin skin!

  6. I don’t have a story as I’m not a mummy yet (September :D) but I LOVE the jilbabs you linked to, the pink is so pretty!

  7. Thanks for sharing, this is really interesting! I’ve never been that bothered about showing skin, but I used to not be confident enough to take my SNS out. Not sure I have any funny stories, but one of the funny places I’ve fed is on a narrow gauge railway train in the Lake District!
    Ruth’s all sorts recently posted…Grass – #SnapHappyBritMumsMy Profile

  8. I squirted everywhere in my ex bosses lounge all over her sofa as Izzy was too busy looking everywhere as new place

  9. I find my pashmina scarf a life saver whilst out an about in public as I’m not one to just ‘wap one out ;)’ but I have found it invaluable with a fussy 4 month old that wants to be so nosy they whip their heads around every 5-10 minutes and can cause some serious niplash as it so light and and has just the right thickness to be able to see through it in order to latch said nosey child but it is thick enough that anyone glancing at you wouldn’t be able to tell, I was in a costa coffee once and had an elderly man notice I was holding my son as he could see his feet under the scarf so came peering over my shoulder and said ‘oh is he sleeping’ sufficed to say he got a little shock and mumbled a rushed apology before telling me he had to be somewhere and shuffling off! I was extremely amused! 😀

  10. Sat on a bench discreetly feeding Izzy and an old couple sat next to us. They didn’t realize what I was doing until izzy did a huge burp on way back up

  11. As someone who found it difficult to feed my first daughter in public due to low confidence and her tongue tie, I found this article really interesting. I now have a 3 week old baby and am slowly gaining the confidence to feed on public with her as she is a much better feeder. A breast feeding butterfly helped at first too as I felt that I was a bit more covered up.

  12. really interesting to read how culture can play a part in the way you breastfeed and the choices you make, thanks for sharing
    I did get some funny looks and whispered comments as I wandered across the corridor between buildings at the Trafford centre feeding my son recently…. but was ready to advise anyone who had an issue that the statues that are in the area were showing more boob than me!

  13. I love hearing how women get over problems to do with BF’ing. I have had problems finding suitable clothes that do not show off bit of body.

  14. It’s easier to nurse in public in a sling so you don’t have to stop what you’re doing and sit down. Also as they’re upright it can reduce reflux. Visit a local sling meet/library for advice.

  15. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I’ve only fed my daughter once in public as we only tend to go out for short walks just after she’s fed at home. I managed to cover up using a muslin cloth as we were on a bench on a very busy canal towpath, no one batted an eyelid apart from a couple of young boys but I think that was just the curiosity of youth!

  16. No funny stories here as I only lasted 4 months with DS due some rather nasty comments and lack of support from the in laws, but this time, I’m doing things my way, so hopefully I’ll have some funny moments to share next year!

  17. No real funny stories here, though I have had people come up to me and ask about baby without even realising they were feeding at all.

  18. I fed my DD in the waiting area of a garage a few days ago whilst waiting for my car to be fixed, 3 mechanics were standing right in front of me behind the counter. i don’t think any of them noticed 🙂

  19. Mine was when i was feeding my LO outside and i started spraying everywhere when she unlatched i was so shocked and surprised to see my boob spraying that much!

  20. I have breast fed both of my girls but I couldn’t bring myself to feed in public I planned my outings around feeds or would feed them in a toilet. Its just me and my confidence that prevents me from doing it and the ignorance of other people maybe. But good on those that do!

  21. What a helpful informative post!

    My funny story shortened somewhat involved battling oversupply and overactive letdown, a baby going through a growth spurt thus feeding in sling and some guys from the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints knocking on the door at a bad moment. Needless to say daughter came off as she couldn’t handle the flow and sprayed milk everywhere.

  22. my little one became unlatched once and i started spraying everywhere,so glad there was no one there to see as it was funny yet awkward!


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