Breastfeeding Older Babies in Public

A few months ago I wrote a triumphant post about the joys of comfortably feeding baby on the go.  “It’s easy!” I proclaimed with glee.  “Why do people sequester themselves in private when you can just toss a blanket over baby’s head and continue socializing?”

Funny how much I forgot from my first baby!  Now that Jovi is almost one year old, she utterly refuses to be covered while feeding.  Even when I can arrange my shirt so that I’m not flashing the world, she stops regularly to look around and provide a milky smile for all to see, leaving me a bit exposed.  As this painting proves, distracted babies have been pulling off the breast to smile at onlookers for hundreds of years!

So do I breastfeed in public now?  Nope!  She rarely gets a good meal when she’s preoccupied with her surroundings and it’s hard for me to relax when she’s constantly flopping around to make sure she doesn’t miss anything.  Have you found any tricks for breastfeeding older babies?  Do tell!


  1. There was a time when my baby (I think he was around 12 months or so at the time) when he refused to settle down and nurse (even if he really wanted to/needed to) if there were distractions. So I sought the quiet corners, the dressing rooms when we were out in public, so he could quickly explore and see that there was nothing really interesting about, and we could nurse and then get on with our day.

    Now he’s back to “I want to nurse!!” and he doesn’t care as much what’s going on around him.

    It’s just a phase, I think!

  2. I just tried to nurse my 9-month-old at the park yesterday, b/c I Forgot to nurse before leaving the house, and she wouldn’t nurse at all — just kept popping on and off to look at the surroundings. My babies are like this from 4 months on. I have to nurse them in a quiet, preferably dark room at home. But I have found, if the baby is truly desperate to be fed, they will eat in public without popping off, b/c they are so hungry. Not fun to get to that point, as we all know. I never cover up, even little babies — but they don’t pop off as much.

  3. I just feed my 13 month old in the ergo carrier. Sometimes he is in there already but if he is not I would just put him in htere and put the hood up. It doesn’t matter if pops off or not bc all booby shots are blocked from anyone seeing.

    I have been doing this since he was born so he is use to it. I can bf in public and feel comfortable and confident without anyone knowing.

    Although really quite places may be tough for that loud eating stage which I think my son is over now.

  4. I second the Ergo advice! This worked splendidly for us and I loved it because I could keep on walking at the same time. And seriously, no one had any idea what was going on in there.

    (I have, however, heard from a few of my more generously endowed friends that the carrier didn’t match baby’s mouth with booby up quite as nicely as it did for me…so I guess the effectiveness could depend on the relative size of the child and the boob in question!)

  5. I am so happy it is not me and my baby. He is 7 months now and hates being covered. Sometimes I can put my cover on (ex. Hooter Hider) and make sure so put my arms on the outside to hold down the fabric, so he cannot move it. This does not always work and he has realized if he wiggles enough he can get the cover off of him.

  6. A blanket over the shoulder covering baby’s head seems to work well.

  7. I am still breastfeeding in public (he’s almost 18 months) but I don’t use a cover. I am usually pretty quick about pulling my shirt down when he pops off. I also think that if anybody sees anything – they are staring too hard and it is their own fault! Now that he’s 18 months, I can usually hold him off until we can get to a quieter or more private location, but I really feel like if people don’t want to see anything, they shouldn’t watch me breastfeed 🙂

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