Nursing a toddler is more challenging than breastfeeding a newborn.

Discreet Nursing of a Toddler in Public

by Eliza Martinez

Nursing an infant discreetly in public isn't too hard. After all, your little one doesn't move around much and is so tiny that you can tuck him away while you breastfeed. Fast forward to the toddler years, and nursing has likely turned into an acrobatic endeavor each time you sit down to feed your child. Chances are you'll probably find yourself in public with a hungry toddler from time to time, so it pays off to practice discreetly feeding him.


When your child was a newborn, she was small enough to nurse while standing up or sitting in the car. Now that she's a toddler and weighs significantly more, you'll need a comfortable place to sit down and nurse her in public. Look for a park bench, a chair in the dressing room at the store or even the pharmacy chairs at the grocery store. At a friend or family member's house, seek out an armchair or couch out of the middle of the action. Before getting started, find a comfortable position that you can stay in while your toddler nurses.


There's nothing discreet about lifting your shirt and letting your toddler nurse anywhere and everywhere. Bring along a small blanket or nursing cover that you can lay over your chest and your toddler's head while he breastfeeds. Keep a special one for this purpose in your diaper bag or purse so you're never caught without coverage when your toddler wants to nurse in a public place. Cover yourself before opening your shirt so that no one gets a peek at your breast, which can be awkward and uncomfortable. In a pinch, use your sweater or jacket to cover up.

Your Clothes

There's nothing more difficult than trying to finagle your toddler to your breast discreetly when you're wearing a hoodie with a t-shirt underneath or sundress without an opening at the top. If the chances are good that you'll have to nurse your toddler in public, choose your wardrobe to make it easy without giving the world a peep show. Wear a shirt, sweatshirt or dress that buttons, snaps or zips in the front so you can open it and breastfeed without having to remove clothing. Wear a nursing bra or one that clasps in the front so you can give your toddler easy access to your breast.

Set Limits

You don't want to deprive your toddler of breast milk if she's hungry in public. However, you can set limits to keep her from making it so obvious to everyone around you. Tell your toddler that she can't lift your shirt, she must ask to nurse first. Keep her from kicking her legs, wiggling around and yanking the blankets off your chest. Let your toddler know that if she can't nurse discreetly, she'll have to wait until you return home for her meal.

About the Author

Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.

Photo Credits

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