Nursing in Public – NIP

  • 1
  • August 4, 2016
Britt Fohrman's photo breastfeeding
Congratulations on the arrival of your baby!  You’re breastfeeding and it’s going well (and if it’s not, please call an International Board Certified Lactation Consultation!).  But you haven’t left the house yet, and that seems like a scary prospect.  What if your baby wants to eat while you’re away from your comfy bed/chair/pillows?  Well, I’m here to tell you that you can nurse your baby wherever you are, with some tips for Nursing in Public (NIP) with confidence!


Talk to other new moms about NIP – if you haven’t found a weekly moms’ group yet, there are lots of local Facebook groups where you can ask questions and get the support you need (for NIP and any other issues you want to discuss).  One great local group is Bay Area Breastfeeding Support:

The law is on your side

Did you know that, in California, you have the right to breastfeed your baby in any public space without being hassled?  That’s right, it’s YOUR RIGHT!  So you can confidently tell anyone who bothers you this awesome fact.  And if someone does harass you, you can report them to the Nursing In Public Hotline:  855-NIP-FREE.

What to wear?

Whatever you’re going to wear, make sure you practice nursing in it at home.  You might find that perfect outfit isn’t quite so perfect when the time comes to nurse.  I recommend wearing two layers: The first layer is a tank that’s easy to pull down and bring out your breast and the top layer is a shirt you can easily pull up to expose your tank.  This way, your belly is covered and just your breast is exposed – and it won’t be exposed for very long once your baby is latched and feeding.    

                image00         Tank and Shirt Combo                         


You can also have a scarf or small nursing cover to be even more discreet.  I’m not a fan of those giant nursing covers – they’re not very discreet and most babies don’t like being under them – and you don’t want a fight when you’re trying to discretely breastfeed!  Also, get used to babywearing (; it makes it so much easier when you’re out and about.  Breastfeeding while babywearing can be hard to figure out at first, but, just like everything about being a new mom, practice, practice, practice!


I also recommend practicing with a couple of different positions at home that might work well for breastfeeding while sitting upright at a café.  You’ll have to use the arms of a chair or get used to nursing with no support with such positions as the traditional Cradle or Cross-cradle holds.  The Koala hold can also be a great choice for nursing upright in public:


You could also turn so your baby faces the wall, which not only keeps your breasts away from others’ eyes, but will hopefully help keep your baby from becoming too distracted!

What if my nipple slips out?  

You will probably be the only one to notice!  And how you act, even if you don’t feel it on the inside, really does make a difference:  Act confident, act like you and your nursing baby belong there.  And if you do have a “nip-slip,” you’ll have a good story to share with your moms’ group!

Here are some other great online resources:

With a little bit of practice, you too will be able to confidently NIP.  So get out there, Mama, and enjoy!

Happy Milk Lactation Support        Page

Ellen H. Schwerin, MPH, IBCLC, RLC  ·  Board Certified Lactation Consultant · Phone (510) 730-2154 · Fax (253) 830-0722




Ellen H. Schwerin, MPH, IBCLC is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, the gold standard in advanced practice lactation care.  She has degree in Human Biology from Stanford University and a Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from UC-Berkeley.  Her lactation education includes graduating from the UC-San Diego Lactation Consultant Program and a 7-month internship with the Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Outpatient Lactation Clinic.  In 2012, Ellen founded Happy Milk Lactation Support so that she could see moms and babies where they need it the most – in their own homes!  She has always loved helping women when they need it the most in a calm and non-judgmental way, and stays up-to-date with the most current in evidence-based lactation research and practice.  Ellen loves spending time in Berkeley with her husband, 9 year old son, three cats, and a good book or Netflix movie.

Leave a Reply

Want to read more? Browse our blog library! Click Here