Bearing in mind that it's the most natural way of feeding your baby there's no doubt that breastfeeding can also be bloody difficult. Not only can there be issues about milk supply (either not enough or too much) but some babies struggle to latch on properly at first and older babies can also get distracted and find everything else more interesting no matter how hungry they are.
I was incredibly lucky with Little Miss C as I had plenty of milk, she fed very quickly and when she was hungry not much else distracted her. I'm also lucky living in St Albans as there are literally hundreds of mums and babies and most cafes you go into there's usually someone in there breastfeeding a baby.
I was intrigued therefore when a couple of weeks after having Master C I received an email from the Bibs and Stuff press office asking if I was interested in reviewing a Bebe au Lait Nursing Cover. At first I wasn't too sure as to be honest I didn't see them as necessary. But then I thought about it some more. In those first few weeks after Master C's birth I spent a lot of time up north visiting my Dad in hospital. Master C was tiny at the time and feeding very regularly, not something that concerned me much, but when you're sat on a hospital ward with lots of other ill people around you getting a boob out to feed doesn't always feel that appropriate if you know what I mean. I was doing my usual job of tying muslins into my bra straps to provide a bit of discretion, but that can cause problems as a fussy baby can get hot and flustered under there and it's also hard to maintain eye contact with them.
The basic design of the nursing cover is quite simple – it's like a big apron that you put over your head and then feed baby under it. The neck strap is adjustable making it easy to get it set up right for you and your baby. What differentiates this from a normal apron is that the neckline part (the top of the apron if you continue the analogy) is rigid so that it stands proud from your body. This enables you to look down when feeding and see your baby. Eye contact can be maintained and it makes it easier to latch them on if you're having problems. By allowing air flow that also help the baby not to overheat whilst feeding.
There are a couple of nice extra touches as well as a choice of fabrics in different patterns and colours. The bottom corners of the cover have a towel backing, meaning that they are absorbent and can be used to mop up any spills. The corners also have handy pockets meaning that you can store breast pads or a dummy in them whilst feeding – much easier than having to hunt around for them in a handbag once you're finished.
At first I found the cover a bit of a faff to use – it certainly takes some practice to get used to it, and it can be extremely stressful if you're trying to do this whilst juggling a hungry screaming baby. Once in place Master C was quite happy under there and it was really useful to be able to see him whilst feeding. The corner pockets were also handy. What was a bit strange though is the times I was using it I was doing so as I wanted to be more discreet than usual (a very posh restaurant where there were no other kids and also infront of all Mr C's new work colleagues) yet it seemed to attract more attention as it was something that people had not seen before. In the restaurant I even had people saying what a shame they thought it was that I was covering up. I am guessing though that this was a result of being in a city where there are so many children though and not necessarily a standard response. In somewhere not so baby friendly I don't think I would feel so confident feeding out of the house and as a result I can see the cover being incredibly useful.
Now that Master C is getting older he is very interested in everything going on around him and gets very easily distracted when I'm trying to feed him and we're not at home. The cover is particularly useful in scenarios like that although he is also now capable of trying to grab hold of it and pull it out of the way.
Overall I think the Bebe au Lait Nursing Cover is an excellent solution if you want to cover up whilst feeding. It's beautifully designed, with an attractive choice of fabrics and the rigid neckline and handy pockets make it very practical. If I'm totally honest I've found that I don't use it at all when in and around St Albans as it's just unnecessary, but when elsewhere I do carry it with me to use if I want to cover up. The RRP is £27.50 which at first seems like a lot, but if you are someone who wants to cover up when feeding then you'll easily be prepared to pay that for something that works well like this.
Disclaimer: I was sent a Bebe au Lait Nursing Cover to review by Bibs and Stuff. All views are my own.