Breastfeeding – getting out and about

A few weeks after the birth it’s important for you to start getting out and about with your new baby.

Breastfeeding in public

Breastfeeding is the perfect way to feed your baby when you’re out. Breast milk is free, fresh and requires no preparation. It’s your right to feed your baby anywhere, any time and any place.

Some mums might be shy, but breastfeeding is part of everyday life – it’s not something that should be hidden away. Here are some tips if you feel a little uncomfortable.

  • Be relaxed.
  • Get the support of friends and whānau. Ask them to sit with you in a café or on a bench in a shopping mall while you feed your baby.
  • Be comfortable. Before you start, make sure that you have somewhere to sit that is comfortable and has back support.
  • Practise before you go out. Try breastfeeding your baby in front of a friend or the mirror to practise your technique and see what works best for you.
  • Wear the right clothing. Wear a breastfeeding or nursing bra that can be undone with one hand. Tops that are easy to pull down or push up can also help. If you want more privacy while you’re breastfeeding you can cover up using a large wrap, muslin, shawl or blanket draped around your shoulders. You could also try a baby sling or baby carrier. Make sure that your clothes are easily adjusted so that you can feed your baby without having to take the sling off.

Going out without your baby

Sometimes you will be away from your baby. This may be because you are returning to work or simply because you are going out with your partner. You can express breast milk so that your baby can feed while you are out. The Kidshealth website has more about expressing and storing breast milk.

Drinking alcohol

Alcohol passes through your breast milk to your baby, so you should avoid it while you are breastfeeding. Drinking alcohol can also lower your milk supply and it might make your baby irritable, unsettled or sleepy and not able to feed well. If you do have a few drinks, make sure that you avoid breastfeeding for at least a couple of hours afterwards. You could use expressed milk instead.

If you choose to drink, make sure that your baby has someone looking after them who is alert to their needs and free from alcohol or drugs.

Related websites

Breastfeeding NZ – YouTube channel and Facebook page
Breastfeeding information and videos. The YouTube channel contains the Breastfeeding. Naturally. video (as 7 separate chapters); these are also available with captions and in New Zealand Sign Language. The Facebook page is for anyone and everyone who is breastfeeding or interested in breastfeeding. Find out more, share your stories and get support from other members.

Breastfeeding – Kidshealth
Information and short videos about breastfeeding. Each section has a short video followed by key messages in English and 9 other languages.

Breastfeeding your baby – HealthEd (Health Promotion Agency and Ministry of Health)
Clear, simple suggestions about the nursing relationship, why breast milk is a baby’s best food, different ways to hold the baby during breastfeeding, how to ensure the baby is on the breast in the best way, frequency of feeds, breast care and further help. Available in English, simplified Chinese, Korean, Māori, Samoan and Tongan.

La Leche League
The New Zealand website of La Leche League, an international organisation that promotes breastfeeding.

Eating for healthy breastfeeding women – HealthEd (Health Promotion Agency and Ministry of Health)
Food information for breastfeeding women. Includes nutrition, healthy food for mother and baby, dietary variety, drinking plenty of fluids, foods low in fat, salt and sugar, healthy weight, losing weight gained during pregnancy, daily activity or exercise, taking time out, alcohol, and being smokefree.

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