Any nursing mum will have had to tackle breastfeeding in public at some point and now mothers rights are protected by law whatever the child’s age… but, as a mum I can assure you that it’s a lot more complicated finding a “breastfeeding-friendly” spot than it would seem. While I was nursing M and E, most places fell into one of 3 categories:
1) Friendly and buzzing little spots but with so much activity in the background that Baby M just kept darting her head around throughout the feed, leaving the lady at the table next to me wondering why the back of her neck was wet and why I was hollering in pain.
2) Otherwise child-friendly cafes and canteens with tables and chairs bolted to the floor (who steals tables and chairs??) so there wasn’t actually any room for my new-found enormous (it’s all relative!) bosom, let alone baby, between myself and the table.
3) Pubs that had not yet entered the Gastropub era, with slightly dodgy folk giving me the eye when I readjusted my breastpads.
Every now and then, though, I would stumble across a quiet little gem of a place with comfy seats, baby changing, and enough room to park the buggy beside the table so I could have a healthy lunch while the baby napped after her feed. Many of the gastropubs and trendy cafes also tend to have leather seats – perfect for letting the baby stretch out a bit, and more importantly, easily wiped down!
The other important factor to consider when choosing somewhere to go with a breastfed baby is Baby Time Warp. This is the well known phenomenon where lunch with another mummy friend takes 5 hours and by the end of the day you still haven’t accomplished the one job you promised yourself you’d do. By ‘job’ I mean posting a stamped letter in the postbox 100 metres away. If you find somewhere that’s quiet during the day, you and your new mummy friends can linger for hours feeding, burping, changing, napping (baby, not you – that’s usually frowned upon in restaurants), comparing notes, and going through the whole cycle again without feeling under pressure to pay the bill and go home.
If you’re a new mum in London, read these recommendations for Breastfeeding-friendly places in London. Please help us grow the list of breastfeeding friendly places across the UK by adding your comments below and by adding new places to the database.