Breastfeeding in Public- Your Legal Rights and Tips for Success

Breastfeeding in Public- Your Legal Rights and Tips for Success

Confession: before having kids, I had a pretty douchey attitude toward breastfeeding in public.

I don’t remember it, but my mom vividly recalls me saying something harsh to my sister about covering up while she was feeding her newborn.

 

 

Being a jerk is not beyond me, so I don’t even question whether or not this happened. I trust my mother’s memory more than my own.

 

My sister was pretty good at blowing off my comment. She could care less what anyone thinks, especially me.

 

Now that I’m a breastfeeding mom, I am appalled by my former actions. I probably would have felt really hurt and ashamed if someone had said that to me.

To say that I deeply regret my words is an understatement.

 

After giving birth to my first daughter, it took all of three seconds for my boobs to move to the bottom of the sexual totem pole. My pinky toes now have more sex appeal.

 

During that time I also came to the realization that breastfeeding is really freaking hard! I needed all the support I could get.

If my only option was to cover up, it would have been impossible for me to leave the house. Like, ever.

 

So, while all of us breastfeeding moms aware that breastfeeding is far from sexual, and is actually extremely difficult, the rest of the world is still catching up.

 

Thankfully, the rest of the world has made great strides in recent years.

*This post contains a few photos which are affiliate links. You can read my super anticlimactic disclosure here.

 

 

What Does the Law Say About Breastfeeding in Public?

public breastfeeding laws 

In 2018, it officially became legal to breastfeed in public in all 50 states! Hurray! What took so long?!

 

Seriously, the right to feed a hungry baby should be a no-brainer.

 

While public breastfeeding is legal, each state words their laws about it a little differently.

 

Some states such as Florida state that they “allow a mother to breastfeed in any public or private location,” whereas states such as Iowa only specify “the right to breastfeed in any public place.”

 

What’s the difference between a public location and a private location? Good question.

 

According to Privacy Observer, “What determines whether a given location is public, is whether it is open to the public.”

 

Any privately owned business that is open to the public is considered a public location. It doesn’t matter if the land owner and the person who owns every single share despise breastfeeding without a cover, your rights remain.

 

That means that if Ted, the owner of the burger joint down the street tells you that you have to cover up because you have no right to breastfeed in his private business, you can tell him to shove it.

 

That’s right Ted, shove it.

 

If you were breastfeeding in Ted’s house, that would be another story. But who really wants to hang out at Ted’s house with their baby if he’s going to be like that?

 

Do you want to know exactly what the public breastfeeding laws are in your state? This website will tell you all about it.

 

I’m working on creating state-specific printables right now. That’s right, all 50 of them. It is a labor of love your you, my friends.

 

If you sign up below, I’ll send you the link to download your state printable as soon as they are ready! This should be somewhere between 1-3 weeks from now. It depends on how much work my toddler lets me do every day.

 

 

 

Tips for Breastfeeding in Public

Now that we have established that breastfeeding in public is completely legal, it’s time to learn how.

 

There’s no right or wrong way to breastfeed in public. You are fully within your rights to whip out your boob in front of anyone and everyone, or sneak it out stealthily.

 

The important thing is that you do what is comfortable for you.

 

If you’re like my sister who doesn’t care, go ahead and pull the whole thing out. Honestly, it’s the easiest way to feed a newborn.

 

But if you’re like some of my more modest friends, here are some tips to make breastfeeding in public a little less awkward for people who are only comfortable around dairy-free boobs:

 

  • Practice at home in front of a mirror. While your eyeballs might be full of nipple and areola, chances are high that those around you can’t see anything. Your baby’s head is going to obscure most, if not all of their view. Perfect your practice by getting an idea of what they see with a mirror.

  • Wear clothes designed specifically for breastfeeding. While it’s possible to breastfeed in most clothes, having some designed specifically for breastfeeding can make life a hellova lot easier, especially in the early days when babies aren’t very good at latching. I highly recommend nursing clothes because they are an easy way to breastfeed discreetly without carrying extra gear.

 

  • Use a nursing cover. Nursing covers come in a few different styles. Some loop around the back of your neck with a bendy metal thing to help you see baby’s face (top photo), while others are like a stretchy infinity scarf (bottom photo). Nursing covers can get warm, but they are the easiest way to breastfeed without the off-chance of someone getting a glimpse of skin *gasp*


  • Nurse your baby in a front carrier. Many baby carriers make it easy to breastfeed your baby while wearing them. This is very difficult if not impossible to do with newborns, but it gets increasingly easier as they get older. Most people will never guess that you’re breastfeeding. They’ll assume that your baby is taking a snooze.

How to Handle Uncomfortable Situations while breastfeeding in public

 

Just because breastfeeding in public is legal in all 50 states, it doesn’t mean that everyone knows it. A lot of people aren’t aware of the new laws in place to protect nursing mothers.

 

This means that it is entirely possible to run into uncomfortable situations.

 

Hopefully that never happens to you, but if it does, here are some tips to handle the situation:

 

  • Try to remain calm and turn your body away from the offender.

  • If you feel unsafe, don’t hesitate to call the police.

  • Whip out your handy dandy copy of your state’s breastfeeding laws. Sign up to get yours soon-ish.

  • Ask to speak to a manager.

  • File a complaint with the business. This can be done on the spot or at a later date when things have calmed down.

  • Report them to the Better Business Bureau.

 

If you thrive off of confrontation:

  • Videotape the encounter

  • Post said video to social media. Public awareness is priceless.
  • Stage a nurse-in with your friends because, why not?

 

Well, there you go friends. I hope this helps you breastfeed in public like the boss babe you are.

 

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletters where I will be sending out a link to download your state-specific breastfeeding laws in the next few weeks, and share this with a friend.

 

 

 

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Never Change Another Wet Diaper at Night

Never Change Another Wet Diaper at Night

Changing diapers in the middle of the night is the WORST. Okay, so maybe colic is the worst, but you get my point.

 

Not only are you doing it in a blurry haze with one eye open, but you are desperately trying to keep your baby asleep at the same time.

 

One wrong move and you might be up for two hours.

 

Fortunately for all of us, I picked up a tip from seasoned mothers. It is currently saving me hours of sleep and at least one set of piss-soaked pajamas right now.

 

This post contains an affiliate link. My disclosure policy is super anticlimactic, but feel free to read it here.

 

Here’s the hack:

  • Buy diapers one size larger than baby wears
  • Place them snugly enough on baby so that the leg holes seal. This is very important.
  • Cover bum, crevices, and everything in between with a thick layer of diaper ointment. A&D ointment works amazingly.

 

And wala! No more wet diapers to change at night, and no baby rash.

 

Enjoy your extra sleep, and change baby’s diaper in the morning as usual.

 

Pay it forward by sharing this with another sleep deprived mom, and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to receive more quick hacks!

 

 

 

 

Disclaimers:

  • Only works with disposable diapers (to my knowledge)

  • Only do this for wet diapers. You should always change a poop. But I didn’t need to tell you that.

Review of Windi the gaspasser: will it really help your gassy baby?

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Review of Windi the Gaspasser: Will it Really Help Your Gassy Baby?

Review of Windi the Gaspasser: Will it Really Help Your Gassy Baby?

“Where is the butt whistle?!” my husband shouted over the frantic screams of our baby.

“In the bathroom next to the sink!” I yelled back.

 

We were both hitting our limit, and our baby was too. Like a trauma survivor, I was getting flashbacks of our eldest daughter’s infancy.

 

The panic, the racing thoughts, the hopelessness; it all came flooding back. Every fiber in my body was screaming, “Run! Leave this house and don’t come back!”

 

Then suddenly, silence. The “butt whistle” had worked.

 

From that moment, I was hooked.

 

TRAPPED GAS = A PAIN IN THE GUT

 

Babies are prone to a lot of abdominal pain. Between having an underdeveloped digestive system and swallowing air while eating, all babies experience trapped gas. For some babies it is mildly uncomfortable, but for others it is excruciating.

 

Babies who experience extreme gas pain scream A LOT.

 

This screaming leads to swallowing more air, which in turn makes the pain worse. It’s a vicious cycle.

Once you get on this merry go round from hell, it’s hard to get off.

 

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY BABY HAS TRAPPED GAS?

 

If you are anything like my husband and I, 80% of the time you have no idea what your baby’s cries mean.

 

That’s okay. Don’t listen to the people who tell you that you will just know. They forgot what it’s like to have a newborn. Bless their hearts. Just try not to give them the finger.

 

Understanding your baby’s cries takes time and will be a new journey with each child, but it gets a little quicker and easier with each one.

 

In addition to screaming their little lungs out, some telltale signs of trapped gas are:

  • Hiccups
  • Farting
  • Bloated belly
  • Belching
  • Arching back
  • Excessive spitting up
  • The need to be constantly pacified (which looks a lot like hunger)

 

With our oldest daughter, we were quick to assume that every cry meant she was hungry. Nope.

 

Worst. Assumption. Ever.

 

Never do what we did. We paid for it with our sanity and a 6 month vomit bath.

via GIPHY

When your baby is gassy but you continue to feed them, it makes things exponentially worse. More trapped air from eating + less room = TONS of vomit. And even more screaming.

 

So please, for the love of all that is good and holy, don’t keep shoving food down your child’s throat.

 

2 BABIES, 2 VERY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES

 

With my oldest, Emmie, we were at a loss for how to silence her screaming.

 

In addition to using my boob as a pacifier (again, this was a terrible idea), we used a combination of gripe water, gas drops, the 5 S’s, peppermint water, belly massage, and cycling her legs.

 

Gripe water was by far the most effective. But she still screamed like a banshee on a daily basis.

 

After the months of screaming that we endured with Emmie, my husband and I were both terrified to have another infant.

 

So when Petra was born and hit her first fussy phase, I mustered all of my courage to use a rectal catheter called Windi the Gaspasser.

 

My friend Kate had given me a box before Emmie was born, but I was too afraid to use them. I tried once for five seconds before freaking out and stashing them in a dark corner of the house.

 

Biggest mistake of my life.

After using Windi the Gaspasser on Petra, it became clear that most of the screaming we endured with Emmie could have been avoided.

via GIPHY

All of the signs were there: inconsolable screaming, arching back, spitting up like crazy, hiccups, farting, bloated belly, everything.

 

It kills me to know that we could have done something so simple to take away her pain, but we didn’t.

 

 

How to Use the Windi

 

To use the Windi, first massage your baby’s stomach in a downward motion, or bicycle their legs. Then simply lube the tip of the Windi, lift your baby’s legs, and insert it into their booty.

 

The Windi has a built-in stopper, so it’s impossible to put it in too far.

 

Within a few moments, gas and/or fecal matter will shoot out the open end of the tube, instantly relieving your baby’s pain.

 

If nothing happens, remove the Windi and continue belly massage before trying again.

 

 

LIFE CHANGING

To say that Windi the Gaspasser has changed our lives is an understatement. We went through two nights of Petra being as cranky as Emmie was before nipping our problem in the bud.

 

Those were our only rough nights with her. Since then she has been as chill as an October breeze.

 

 

 

 

I use the Windi on Petra 1-2 times/day. If she is getting unusually cranky in the afternoon, the problem is almost always gas.

 

I also use it before her last feeding of the night. We have noticed that when Petra has trapped gas, she tends to spit up a lot of milk.

 

So around 6:30 every night, I help Petra clear her little tummy with the Windi, bathe her, and give her her last feed of the night.

 

With all of the excess gas out of her belly, she is able to get a full feed and sleep for a long stretch of time.

WINDI HACK

The only downside of the Windi is that it gets really messy. I am amazed by how much poop can shoot out of that little tube.

 

It appears that the gas and fecal matter are sometimes combined. So if you want to get the trapped gas out, the poop is going to come with it.

 

The mess can difficult to manage when your baby is squirming and trying to play.

 

After getting kicked with a few foot-fulls of poop, I decided to try using the Windi over the sink.

 

Game changer.

 

After rubbing Petra’s belly and bicycling her legs, I hold her over the bathroom sink using my left arm, and with my right hand I insert the Windi into her bum.

 

If you are doing this with a girl, be super careful. Always use a mirror so that you can see what you are doing.

After the Windi is inserted, I am able to continue rubbing her belly with my left thumb, and bicycling her legs with my right hand.

 

I have noticed that the more Petra relaxes, the easier it is to get gas out. So I usually talk to her and make funny faces in the mirror, which gets her laughing and farting all the more.

 

When we are all done, I simply rinse out the sink, spray it down, and wipe any excess poo off of her bum. Whala!

 

Happy baby, happy life.

 

Have you ever used Windi the Gaspasser? What was your experience like? Comment below!

 

 

 

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Preventing Postpartum Depression with a Second Child

Preventing Postpartum Depression with a Second Child

In a world where we compare everyone’s Facebook highlights to our lowest moments, is it any wonder why we are ashamed to talk about postpartum depression?

If it is supposed to be the happiest time of our lives, why do we find ourselves crying into cold coffee?

Is it possible to love and resent a baby at the same time? Or am I just the worst mom in the world?

If you have ever experienced the hell of postpartum depression (which you probably have if you are reading this), you are likely scared to death of having another child. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want one.

Now that your first babe is growing up, you have experienced light at the end of the tunnel. You know that another child would bring immense love and joy into your family.

But still, the terror of those beginning days makes you think that giving birth to a toddler would be better than living with a newborn.

Well, you are in luck my friend. It is possible to be free from postpartum depression and truly enjoy motherhood after childbirth, even if you had PPD the first time.

*This post contains affiliate links.

Let’s Get Started!

Grab a pen and paper right now. Or open a Google Doc. Seriously. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.

If you don’t do it now, you never will. So suck it up buttercup. You will need to write down:

  1. The major contributing factors to your PPD with your first child
  2. Ways that you can be proactive about preventing them this time around

While every woman’s situation is unique, some of the most frequent contributors to PPD are:

    • History of depression (even higher risk if you got off of your medication)
    • Relationship problems with spouse or significant other
    • Lack of self care
    • Chronic sleep deprivation
    • Trouble breastfeeding
  • Medical complications (for you or baby)

The more proactive you can be, the better your chances of avoiding postpartum depression. There is no magic pill (unfortunately), but there is a lot that you can learn from your last experience.

Let’s look at ways to be proactive about each one of these potential triggers.

History of Depression

According to the Mayo Clinic, having a history of depression, especially during or after a previous pregnancy, puts you at higher risk for postpartum depression.

If you are currently taking an antidepressant, it is critical to weigh the risks and benefits of staying on your medication, or switching to an alternative if needed.

Generally speaking, SSRI’s such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Celexa are considered very low-risk to take during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Outside of these three, it gets a little more complicated. You can read more about which medications are safe here. But of course, you should always consult your doctor before making any decisions.

If you are unable to continue your medication, make sure that you remain closely monitored by your physician.

Alternative forms of therapy such as counseling, yoga, and meditation can also be extremely beneficial to maintaining your wellbeing, especially if you are unable to continue your medication.

Action Step: Before getting pregnant again (or as soon as possible if you are already pregnant), schedule a visit with your doctor or mental health care provider to discuss your risks and make a plan.

Relationship Problems

I don’t think it’s possible to go through postpartum depression and come out without relationship problems.

To avoid unnecessary stress (and a potential breakup), work through problems in your relationship before getting pregnant.

If you are already pregnant, girrrl, you and your partner better get on that asap. ← That was me by the way. Pregnant and still traumatized from the last infant.

Action Step: Play it safe. Start counseling now, and schedule follow up appointments for after your baby is born. I highly recommend both individual and couples counseling.

Lack of Self Care

Finding time for self care may be one of the biggest struggles that mothers will encounter, especially when they have two or more children to balance.

The guilt complex runs deep when you are busy meeting the needs of a new baby while your first little love is competing for your time and attention.

But the truth is, self care is critical. If you are in a bad place mentally and emotionally, it won’t be possible to be the best version of yourself for your children. You can’t pour water out of an empty cup.

Just twenty minutes of time taking care of yourself can greatly increase your capacity to be emotionally available to your children.

What gives you life? What relaxes you?

Here are some ideas:

  • Going to a movie
  • Grabbing coffee with a friend
  • Going for a walk
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Reading a book
  • Getting a massage
  • A bottle of wine

    When it comes to self care, if you wait for the right time, it will never happen. You need to schedule it in like you would an appointment, or something else will always take precedence.

    Action Step: Find something small to do every day, and something larger to look forward to every week.

    You can probably swing the small daily self care routine by yourself, but fitting in the larger weekly one will require that someone else (partner, parent, babysitter) watch the kids.

    Whatever you choose, find a way to make it work for you (even if it means forcing your husband to take care of both children).

    Chronic Sleep Deprivation

    Sleep deprivation, especially for extended periods of time, is enough to make anyone go bat-shiz-crazy. And you know what else? It’s really bad for your health too.

    It’s hard to sleep when a certain someone won’t go to sleep though.

    Getting your baby to sleep is easier said than done. The books make it sound simple, but if you have ever had a baby that won’t sleep, you KNOW it’s not that easy.

    Before you burn Babywise or your Dr Sears book and send me hate mail, consider this: maybe the approach that you tried with your first child wasn’t a good fit.

    With my first daughter we were sold out on co-sleeping (We followed Dr Sears. Personally, I still despise the man. But that’s just me).

    It was the worst thing we ever could have done.

    Emmie woke up to nurse every 1-2 hours at night and could rarely nap more than 15 minutes for her first six months of life. Then we sleep trained her using the cry-it-out (CIO) method and BOOM! A few days later she was sleeping through the night!

    Did I drink a lot of wine with tear stained cheeks those first few nights of sleep training? You bet I did. Was it worth it? Absolutely!

    I went from being so sleep deprived and depressed that I wanted to run away from my own family, to being happy and fulfilled. Emmie went from screaming all the time with red circles under her eyes to being a really fun-loving baby.

    There’s nothing wrong with co-sleeping. It was a godsend for one of my girlfriends (she ended up loving my nemesis, Dr. Sears). It just wasn’t a good fit for me and my baby.

    So try a few different approaches if you need. Find what works for your child and your family.

    If nothing works, swap nights with your partner. After all, you’re working every day too. It doesn’t matter if you get dressed and leave the house for work, or you are a SAHM who doesn’t have time to change out of pajamas. Childcare IS work. If you’re not doing it, you have to pay someone else to.

    Action Step: Read up on a variety of approaches to infant sleep, then try them out! When you sign up for my FREE email course, Baby Prep 101, I cover popular approaches as well as delegating household duties (and more!).

    Trouble Breastfeeding

    Ahh, breastfeeding. Nothing ruins a good night of sleep like a crying baby struggling to latch onto an engorged boob.

    The truth is, breastfeeding can be effing hard. Babies have one job: to eat. And a lot of them suck at it (no pun intended).

    Most breastfeeding mothers and babies will encounter several obstacles on their journey. From mastitis to tongue ties and everything in between, you never know which hand will be dealt to you. And each baby is a new adventure.

    To stay ahead of the game, it’s good to gather resources ahead of time. You don’t want to be scrambling to find a lactation consultant after you have already hit your breaking point.

    Action Step: Ask your hospital about breastfeeding support resources, and contact La Leche League to find a lactation consultant near you.

    Medical Complications

    It’s easy to become weighed down from complications such as hemorrhages, preeclampsia, placenta previa, infantile colic, or the vast array that premature babies are subject to. It’s hard to do much on the prevention side, but there are still measures that you can take.

    Action Steps:

    If you had medical complications that were traumatic or delayed healing, have an in depth discussion with your doctor or midwife to discuss potential preventative measures that can be taken this time around.

    If your last baby had colic, stock up on Gripe Water, consider altering your diet (if you plan to breastfeed), buy some noise canceling headphones, and make a butt load of freezer meals.

    If you are at risk of preterm labor, begin to mentally prepare now. It’s going to be hard.

    If you will be working, find out how much time you can take off. Arrange childcare for your older child so you are able to spend time in the NICU. Discuss how you and your partner will divide time between home and the hospital.

    If nobody has offered yet, ask a close friend to start a meal train for you and make freezer meals. If or when your baby is in the NICU, connect with other NICU moms for support, either in person or online.

    Wrapping Up

    Although there is no way to guarantee that you won’t experience postpartum depression again, there are a lot of things you can do to greatly increase your chances.

    By far, the most critical of the steps listed above are meeting with your doctor, and continued monitoring after your baby is born.

    On a personal note, instituting several of these action steps have played a major role in helping me prevent postpartum depression with my second daughter.

    I’m only three weeks postpartum at the time of writing this, so I’m not out of the danger zone yet, but so far things have been completely different than my last postpartum experience.

    Update: I made it four months without any PPD spells. Woot woot!

     

    We had one reeealllly bad day with uncontrollable crying and visions of ditching my family.

     

    But I’m going to be honest- I had stopped taking my own damn advice.

     

    Why do I always over-extend myself?

     

    As soon as I started taking care of myself, things went right back on track.

    What’s your story? Have you ever experienced postpartum depression? If so, have you ever gone on to have more children without suffering from it?

    Comment below or shoot me an email at Jade@MommyMatters.co.