Help – I’ve never nursed in front of family before! – Holiday Breastfeeding Question #2

To celebrate the holidays, we’re posting the top holiday breastfeeding questions from the Breastfeed Chicago Facebook group and answers from our experts. Here is question number two!

Nursing in Front of Family

For many breastfeeding parents, the holiday season is the first time navigating nursing in front of family or friends. This can make some people feel nervous. You might worry about showing skin or about reactions from others when you breastfeed in front of them. Every family has a different dynamic–do what you feel most comfortable doing!

“Being prepared and thinking ahead” are key to a comfortable holiday for you and baby according to Melissa Block, Certified Lactation Counselor, Breastfeeding USA Peer Counselor, and moderator of the Breastfeed Chicago Facebook group. “Know what your plan will be when it’s time for baby to eat,” Block said, “whether that’s nursing right then on the couch next to your uncle, or relocating.”  

Block recommends wearing an outfit that you are comfortable nursing in. The two-shirt method is a great set-up if your goal is show minimal skin around your stomach or breast:

If you haven’t nursed in front of people before, Block shared a great idea: practice ahead of time in front of a mirror!

“You’ll be surprised how little skin is actually visible,” she said. Wrap-style dresses are often easy to navigate when nursing, whereas high-necked dresses can be difficult to nurse in because you’ll end up pulling them all the way up or all the way down.

If you’re worried about unwelcome comments, Block’s advice to come prepared continues. “Have some polite one-liners prepared ahead of time” in case you are questioned or told to nurse elsewhere. When all else fails, “just start a completely unrelated conversation like ‘how good was dinner tonight!’” Block recommends. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with nursing upstairs away from the noise. “It’s a good opportunity for some quiet time away from crowds, whether you prefer privacy or not,” she said.

Here’s our handy guide with some sample responses to unwelcome comments.


Next Question: “I just had a glass of wine. Can I nurse my baby?”

All Holiday Breastfeeding Questions

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