Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

Discreet Nursing Tips

on March 24, 2014


  • Wear easily accessible clothing. It’s more discreet to unbutton the bottom buttons of a blouse than the top.


  • Practice nursing discreetly even when you don’t need to – at home so you become adept at breastfeeding in public.


  • Nurse before you go out. As a new mom, you may not realize you don’t need to wait for the baby to signal hunger, you can offer to fill up his tank before his out-of-fuel light comes on.


  • Nurse at the first sign of hunger.  If you wait, hoping the baby will change his mind, you may find the baby grows increasingly upset.  Soon all eyes will be looking at the screaming baby and it will be much harder to be inconspicuous!

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  • It’s not necessary to use a blanket to cover what you are doing — it’s like wearing a banner that says “BREASTFEEDING HAPPENING HERE!!!”  Nobody but a nursing mom wears a blanket over one shoulder.  Also, babies often yank at the banner blanket and leave you in a very indiscreet wrestling match.   A blanket can be used under and around the baby to cover your bare belly, or pulled up to screen the baby’s face, because this is more “normal-looking.” Generally, though, wearing the right clothing should be enough cover. See the first tip.


  • You don’t need to ask anyone’s permission or announce what you are about to do.  They may then imagine that a breast is about to pop out into broad daylight and be scared to look at you.  If you simply start nursing your baby, they might not even notice.


  • Simply proceed to nurse as if it were the most normal thing in the world — which of course, it is.  Your matter-of fact attitude in this normal situation will put others at ease.  You will have educated someone who never knew nursing was so natural and easy.  Teaching something so important, without saying a word, makes you a hero!


  • If you find yourself in a situation where all eyes seem to be upon you in spite of nursing at the first sign of hunger, try distraction while you get the baby latched on.  Discreetly unhook your bra and then point and say “Look! there’s Elvis!” or “Isn’t that Tom Cruise?” or “What a lovely painting/sunset/rooster!” or whatever you can think of to cause people to turn and look in the other direction for a few seconds so that the baby can latch.

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  • Sometimes my husband and I have used the ‘barrier’ method: In church, I’d sit at the end of the row, and my husband would simply lean forward, blocking people’s view while I latched.  You can step behind a door or a clothing rack, or get your friend to stand in front of you at the mall.  I once tried this using my three-year-old at a crowded track meet.  I asked her to stand in front of me for a second while I got the baby latched.  She jumped up in front of me and threw her arms out to the side like a scarecrow and yelled, “NOBODY LOOK AT MY MOM!!! SHE’S NURSING!”


  • Please, if you wear nursing pads, keep them hidden inside your shirt.  At a restaurant, a friend once put hers on her bread-and-butter plate while she fed the baby.  She was discreet, but …….


  • You don’t need to burp your baby.  I’m convinced burping is a bottle-feeding invention that does little more than give you something to do while the bubble comes up on its own.  Do other mammals burp their young?  Do humans have exceedingly gaseous milk?  Just hold the baby upright and, as we learned in science, hot air rises.


  • Nursing in a swimsuit is one time when you can cover up if you like — not with a blanket, but with a towel.  Why? Because it is normal to wear a towel at the beach!  The trick is to wear the towel the ‘normal’ way — over your shoulders.  Then you can pull out your breast from the top of your swimsuit, because the towel draped over your shoulders covers your exposed breast.

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by Sheila, La Leche League Canada


If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader.  In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking  or Internationally






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