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Learn to feed baby while out and about as soon as you feel confident, then you and your little one can escape the house and have adventures together!
Even in the comfort of your own home, feeding your baby can sometimes feel like an epic task. If you're breastfeeding, you need to get comfy and have everything to hand – a glass of water, something to read, the remote control...
You also need to be prepared for those icky moments (believe us, you'll have a few), such as spraying or leaking nipples, posseting (regurgitating their feed) or full-scale projectile vomiting, when the whole feed comes back up. Take the operation outside, and the job gets even more fraught, with the possibility of embarrassment or awkwardness. To new mums, in particular, this can be a disincentive to even leave the house.
Read our guide to boost your confidence, then take baby out to meet their brave new world.
For the sake of your sanity, and your social life, you've got to get out there. Your journey begins with the mother of all baby-change bags. There are loads of them out there. Do your research and get the best one your budget will stretch to. It's worth it.
The baby-change bag needs to be big enough to carry changing mat, nappies, wipes, clean clothes (including a fresh top and bra for you), bottles with expressed milk or formula if you're bottle feeding, muslin squares and wipes – not to mention pockets for all the other essentials, such as purse, keys and phone.
Dress the part
It's kinda obvious, but if you're breastfeeding, you need easy access to your breasts. It's fine when you're at home to simply yank up your top and expose your tummy, but when you're out and about, you probably won't want to do that.
Wear a nursing bra and a nursing top, or one that can be unbuttoned or stretched down to unite hungry baby with nipple quickly. If you want to be private and don't fancy feeding your baby while sitting on a public toilet, you'll also need a shawl or nursing cover.
Tuck nursing pads into your bra, as you never know how long it's going to take to find a suitable place to breastfeed, and once baby starts crying, your boobs will suddenly feel very full and want to do their job. Who knew breasts had ears?
Pass the bottle
If you're bottle feeding you still need to be super-organised – at least with breastfeeding the milk is on tap and at the perfect temperature.
Some babies don't care if their dinner is at 4ºC or 37ºC, but if you have a fussy one, you'll need to carry a vacuum flask with hot water to make up a fresh feed (make sure you test the temperature on your wrist before giving it to baby), or go somewhere with access to a kettle.
Remember your baby's immune system is not as strong as an adult's, so be really careful with hygiene. Sterilise all bottles (see our guide to sterilising babies bottles) and discard any unfinished feed to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying.
By Anna Crane