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How-To: Nurse (Discreetly) at a Restaurant

Alexis Barad of Brunch with My Baby shows new mamas the ropes of nursing in public.

How-To: Nurse (Discreetly) at a Restaurant

Taking your baby out to a restaurant is like carrying a ticking time bomb, unless you have the kind of baby whose nursing schedule is so regular you can time it to the minute (in which case, I recommend keeping that fact to yourself). Your food could have just arrived on the table and Boom! -- the wailing, crying and screaming begins. So what’s a mama to do when she wants to nurse her baby and eat a panini too?

Here are some helpful tips for nursing a baby in a restaurant without losing your cool.

Always carry a swaddle blanket in your diaper bag.

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I never liked to feel too encumbered by “stuff” when we were out and about, so instead of bringing a nursing cover, I carried a multipurpose swaddle blanket. Swaddle blankets are so much more than a swaddling tool; they can act as a stroller sun shield, clean up a milky mess, and act as a burp cloth (among many other things). But my favorite way to use a swaddle blanket was to drape it across my chest so that it kind of looked like a toga, and nurse my baby underneath. An extra long swaddle blanket can pretty much stay in place with the weight of the fabric hanging down your back alone, but to be safe, tuck one of the corners into your bra strap or secure it under the back of your shirt. Sometimes I even tied it around my neck like a really big mama bib. If you go for one of the more high-end swaddle blankets by aden + anais, the pretty prints and luxurious texture of the fabric make nursing feel almost fancy.

Dress for undress.

If you’re nursing, it is not a great idea to go out to eat wearing a short dress with no buttons or zipper (I learned that the hard way). Because, what happens when baby gets hungry and you can’t access the milk bar without having to lift your dress up and exposing your underthings? You are much better off wearing anything -- ANYTHING -- with buttons: a button-down shirt dress with a skinny belt and a pair of flats, for example, or a chambray button-down over pants, with riding boots (and bright red lipstick). Another option? Oversize cardigans that you can cover your baby with like a mama bird with her wing.

Pick your table wisely.

Are you timid about whipping out the girls in public? Then maybe al fresco dining isn’t for you right now. Personally, after having a baby, I didn’t really care that much who saw any part of me, but when I was out with my more discreet nursing friends, eating outside was just way more awkward. If possible, choose a table inside, in a corner or against a wall. When you need to nurse, you can turn towards the wall, and use your back as cover. Your waiter might get a peep when refilling your iced tea, but consider that part of his tip.

Wear a pretty nursing bra.

If you are going out in public, and you know that your underthings will be on display, consider investing in a “going out” nursing bra -- one that hides milk stains more or less (the darker the better) and is pretty without drawing attention to itself (i.e. no leopard print). Don’t go overboard (nursing bras are expensive!) but invest in one bra that makes you feel good, so if it gets exposed, you can feel more confident.

Try not to overthink it.

You might think that when you are nursing publicly, there are neon arrow signs pointing to you, alerting everyone around you that you are currently sitting partially naked at a restaurant. But think about it: hundreds of nursing women have been eating meals out of the house for generations. Can you remember seeing these nursing mothers when you were catching up with girlfriends over frittatas and mimosas? Probably not. But they were there. People tend to be too caught up in their own thing to notice much else. And if people give you the stink eye for nursing, I recommend looking them straight in the eye and asking them if they’re thirsty.

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    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

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    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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