Getting the November warm and cosy is great, but we British breastfeeding mums can’t stay indoors forever! Especially if you and your family love the great outdoors.
You may be like me, and throw on your wellies and waterproofs at any opportunity. Or, you may have to be crow-barred out of your home by your well-meaning friends and family. Whichever type of mum you are, though, there’s no way you can completely avoid the Great British Sunday Walk.
The question is, how do we fit in breastfeeding if we’re out tramping the hills for hours?
Don’t worry, I’d love to share my tips for breastfeeding ‘al fresco’ with other breastfeeding British mums.
Kit and Kaboodle
Chances are you already have a fair bit of kit to support your first, second or fifth foray into motherhood. But if you haven’t invested in a wearable breast pump, now’s your chance. Why is it so beneficial for winter walks? Because it means we can stick to our breastfeeding and expressing schedule wherever we are.
The direct benefit is that we can express milk before we set out on our stomps and bottle feed your baby breast milk on the go—it’s still breastfeeding! This works especially well if you know that your walking route hasn’t got many comfy places to take a break and breastfeed directly.
And some of us breastfeeding mummies like to use these opportunities to share the feeding duties with our family members. If your baby is getting your breast milk from someone close, it can act as a bonding experience for all the family.
Cold but Comfortable
Winter walks around the UK are rarely balmy. But even if your nose and cheeks are glowing with cold it doesn’t have to mean you or your breastfed baby have to be uncomfortable. That’s why I’d always recommend packing a portable breast pump into your carry case or rucksack.
This way, if your breasts start to feel full, you can express on the go. Momcozy’s M5 breast pump is super lightweight at only 230g, runs a virtually silent motor and fits neatly into this supportive pumping bra.
What’s even better, is this pump encourages milk production through its revolutionary ‘baby mouth’ action which allows for a horizontal angle causing less discomfort and encouraging speedy expressing! Providing you wear loose clothing, no one else will even realise you’re pumping. This means we get to stay comfortable and focus on our friends and family.
Location, Location, Location!
Choosing the right walking route for you and your baby can make all the difference if you want to breastfeed while on your walk.
You may already be familiar with walks that have plenty of places to get a little comfy. This may not always look the same, though, depending on where you live in the UK.
Here are some ideas for the best breastfeeding-friendly walk locations in whichever part of Britain you may be:
Rough and Ready Rural Routes
I’m a rural dweller, so my local footpaths rarely have handy benches for me to take a pew to breastfeed. Is that a problem? Not really. I have a mental map of the sturdiest fallen trees, mossy banks and seashore boulders that suit my breastfeeding needs. And if I know a route is going to be tricky to take a breastfeeding break, I take a bottle of expressed breast milk just in case.
Canal Tow Paths
If you live in a more urban area, canal towpaths are a great option for breastfeeding British mums. The canal network in the UK is extensive and because the paths alongside the canals once needed to accommodate horses, they are usually wide enough for our buggies. Many towpaths have benches at regular intervals too.
Paths For All in Scotland
Whether you’re taking the high road or the low road, if you live in Scotland there’s a brilliant community group called Paths For All.
The initiative was set up to encourage more people to walk including those who have requirements such as those with mobility needs. Their online page also has a ‘Buggy Walk’ field which is great for mums and dads.
Keep Abreast of the Best City Routes
You don’t need to have mud under your feet to enjoy a lovely walk. If you’re a city dweller, it might be worth contacting your local council for information about breastfeeding-friendly walking routes.
If all city councils took a leaf out of Newport, Wales’, book, it would be so much easier for breastfeeding mothers.
Newport City Council is encouraging venues around the city to sign up as ‘Breastfeeding Welcome’. They have a growing public list on the council’s website to share these locations with breastfeeding mums. So if you need a pit stop on your walk, you can grab a seat, and a warm drink and breastfeed your baby in a supportive atmosphere.
Your local city council may have a similar scheme, and if not, perhaps you could advocate for one to encourage more breastfeeding mums to take walks around our historic hometowns or cities.
Breastfeeding Friendly Accessories
Most British breastfeeding mums are prepared for anything. So having the things that will help you breastfeed a little more comfortably when you’re out for a walk can make all the difference to your baby's feed.
I like to bring my nursing pillow along on longer winter walks. No, I don’t bring it on the walk—I leave it in the car! This way, at the beginning or end of my walk, I can sit comfortably in my car or a café to breastfeed. It gives a little added layer of warmth for my little one and a bit more support to me. It also provides a little additional barrier for more discreet nursing in public.
Winter walks don’t need to interfere with our breastfeeding routines. Getting out and about can be a welcome change of scene for many mums who might find their homes a little isolating during their maternity leave.
Being out in nature with our babies can be a great way to incorporate exercise into our daily routines, introduce our babies to the world and get a much-needed breath of fresh air.
So wrap up warm, get your wellies on, bundle up the little’n and get your stomp on!