Many of our customers tell us that they feel quite vulnerable when they're breastfeeding or pumping in public. Especially if you're still getting used to breastfeeding, or if you're having troubles with attaching your baby, or you're pumping when you're out and about it can be really hard. Particularly when you're in a busy public space, feeling as though everyone is watching! Take heart though, most people, although they don't say anything, are supportive of breastfeeding women and are probably wishing they could help you. You also have the legal right to breastfeed anywhere (with or without a cover).
What are Breastfeeding Covers?
Breastfeeding covers are specially designed apron style covers made to provide privacy to nursing mothers. They normally include boning at the top, so you can see your baby as they are breastfeeding and to provide airflow. The nursing covers also have an adjustable strap around the neck so you can get it to the right length, and a large piece of fabric to cover your chest and tummy.
Breastfeeding in Public can be Daunting at First
If you're uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, pumping your milk, or if you're not confident about your attachment or positioning it can be helpful to have extra fabric available to cover any bits that are feeling exposed.
This is where Breastfeeding Covers, Nursing Wraps & Breastfeeding Infinity Scarves and help! The best nursing covers will help you feel more comfortable when you're out and about can make all the difference to your confidence.
Being relaxed while breastfeeding helps your milk flow and your baby calm
You may find that after the first few months you're more confident breastfeeding in public without a cover at all (woo hoo!). However you choose to breastfeed, make sure you listen to your own needs over anyone else's advice because being relaxed is the most important thing.
Taking a deep breath, relaxing your shoulders and enjoying the moment will help your let down so your milk will flow more easily and your baby will likely be calmer too. If you are confident breastfeeding in public you are more likely to breastfeed for longer, and not feel like you're stuck within a 100m radius of home!
Which Style of Nursing Cover is Best for Me?
Each style of Nursing Cover, Breastfeeding Wrap or Scarf is used in a slightly different way. The style of breastfeeding cover you choose is dependent on how much cover you want, and how structured you'd like it to be.
Here are some of the most popular styles, from the most structured to least structured breastfeeding cover or wrap:
A structured breastfeeding cover includes boning in the neckline that creates a rigid, adjustable neckline so you can watch your baby when you're breastfeeding and to provide better ventilation for bubs.
The strap that goes around your neck is often also adjustable, so that you can loosen it off for more space around your neckline, or tighten it up to prevent accidental exposure!
Structured breastfeeding aprons provide the most coverage and is great for new mums who might be feeling shy about breastfeeding in public, or mums with large breasts who may be feeling exposed or having trouble with attaching.
The larger coverage of the apron can help you to build up your confidence, while giving you the space you need to lift layers, and get your baby attached while you're both still learning how to breastfeed.
There are a range of breastfeeding aprons or covers available on the market, and you can choose from a range of styles and fabrics, from normal cotton through to lightweight muslin. If you live in a warmer climate you might like to stick to lightweight muslin so your baby doesn't overheat while breastfeeding, like this muslin nursing cover (pictured on the right).
2. Mani Breastfeeding Covers
This unique breastfeeding cover is designed to allow you to breastfeeding through the cover so your baby isn't covered underneath fabric. Anyone with a baby who doesn't like being covered will appreciate the clever design of these styles.
Designed by an Australian Mum, these covers allow you to wear any top or dress, and still feel covered, whether you're having to lift up from the waist, or down from the neckline. Many babies will pull traditional breastfeeding covers off, or be unable to breastfeeding while covered, or have a tendency to overheat if you're in a hot climate.
These Mani breastfeeding covers solve these problems by providing a layer of fabric that you place over your front, with an easy breastfeeding access layer across the chest. Baby isn't covered, but you are.
The Mani Covers are available in two everyday styles, designed to fold up into a small package to keep in your bag. They are made in a discrete black, lightweight cotton fabric, so you can breastfeed baby, and burp baby afterwards while protecting your clothes from any milk leakage or spit up. Then fold it up and throw it back in your bag ready for next time. Easy to wash and wear.
There is also a Ruffle Wrap version in a satin fabric to match with your evening wear!
Check out this clever new design here.
Another popular style for mums are Infinity Scarves or Nursing Scarves. These are a single loop of fabric that can be worn in multiple ways as a stylish accessory, or unfolded and looped across your body to use as a breastfeeding cover.
They don't have any structure, however the coverage is still quite good, as half your body is effectively covered up. The best thing about these scarves is they are stylish to wear anyway, and have so many different uses. You'll probably keep wearing your infinity scarf long after you've finished breastfeeding.
Infinity Scarves are available in many different fabrics and sizes, but most breastfeeding scarves are made with a stretchy cotton jersey or bamboo jersey. If you want something lightweight that you can wear through summer, look out for the bamboo muslin styles that are the lightest available on the market.
This bamboo waterfall wrap is one of our most versatile tops that can be used during pregnancy, breastfeeding and afterwards. We love it because it can be worn in so many different ways.
Featuring a button on the end of the waterfall drape on both sides that can be buttoned to the other side to create a breastfeeding cover, this wrap can also be worn as a lightweight cardigan, a draped top or combined with a waist belt for a completely different look.
We recommend this versatile top for your hospital bag because it can be worn in so many ways!
"I adore my waterfall wrap cardigan. The bamboo fabric is so beautifully soft and it falls so nicely. The wrap feature is great for wrapping over my shoulder on a chilly day or wrapping up my four month old baby for a cuddle. I wear it with my jeans for a casual daytime look, or over a dress for night time occasions. I wear the wrap almost every day, and now dread washing day, because it means I can't wear my wrap for a while until it dries!" -Natalie.
Plus, if you want some inspiration on how to wear your Sangha Waterfall wrap, check out this video from Mothers en Vogue
5. Bestselling Bamboo Wrap
This popular and versatile breastfeeding cover is loved by our customers, with incredibly soft bamboo fabric and coconut shell buttons down one side.
"Very glamorous wrap. I love to wear it as a shawl to dress up a singlet and it just happens to be a bonus that it can be used as a wrap to discreetly feed. Much nicer than "nursing capes" on the market" - Kristy
Mothers en Vogue have also released a video with a heap of new ways and ideas to wear this wrap. Check it out:
If bamboo isn't your thing, the bestselling Bamboo Wrap is now also available in Luxe Linen version. Made with super soft linen on the outer, and fully lined with soft cotton jersey, this wrap is a little thicker and warmer. Perfect for colder weather and breastfeeding in style! Check this wrap out here.
That's it! Head on over to our Facebook Page to join in the conversation and share your tips for breastfeeding in public or to let us know what your favourite breastfeeding covers are! To find out about our exclusive special offers and sales make sure you join our Milk and Love community!
About the author
Corryn is a lover of coffee, hugs and sunshine. Mum of 3 and founder of Milk and Love, Corryn loves chatting to new mums and pregnant mums. She has extensive breastfeeding experience, and is an advocate for gentle parenting, cosleeping and looking after Mum's mental health. Read more about Corryn here.