The best breastfeeding covers for new mammas

Two mothers breastfeeding their babies

by Sophie Knight |
Updated on

When you are new to breastfeeding in public, it can be nerve-racking. You can always start at friendly places that will give you the comfort and the confidence you need to do it with peace, such as at your local café or a breastfeeding group. If you want to be more discreet while breastfeeding, you can use breastfeeding covers for more coverage and privacy.

Why buy a breastfeeding cover?

Most of the maternity tops in the market are breastfeeding-friendly, but if you want to keep using your old wardrobe, these covers will be an excellent addition to your daily life.

They're quite simple - they literally cover you and your baby while you breastfeed, acting as a shield to give you privacy if you so wish.

You might not know that there is more than one type of breastfeeding cover:

Shawl: the most common one is just a large piece of fabric that you can easily DIY with any muslin.

Poncho: this will cover not only your front but also your back becoming the right solution for colder days.

Scarf: as the name says, it can be worn around the neck when you’re not nursing.

Apron: it isn’t designed to be worn as regular clothing pieces as it looks like aprons that tie around your neck and drape over the baby.

Are breastfeeding covers safe to use?

Yes - specifically designed breastfeeding covers are safe for you and your baby to use; although, always make sure your baby has plenty of room to breathe, and that air can circulate underneath the cover.

You also want to make sure you are comfortable while feeding, and that you don't overheat either. Breastfeeding is hot business and wearing a cover can make you feel warm, so always make sure you are happy however you're feeding. Never feel any pressure to cover up - it is your choice and your decision on how and where to feed your baby.

If you would like to try a breastfeeding cover, here's our selection of favourites:

Best breastfeeding scarf

Doubling up as as a trendy scarf, this breastfeeding cover is great for nursing and accessorising, so it's one less thing to pack in your changing bag! It has a hidden pocket inside to store your breast pad too, which is super handy.

Pros: You can maintain eye contact with your baby throughout the feed
Cons: Some mums thought the material was too thin

Review: I bought the feeding scarf after watching the video tutorial. It really is easy to use whilst feeding out and about. The scarf made me feel confident to breastfeed in public. The material is good quality - baby doesn't get too hot underneath it - that was my concern with other breastfeeding scarves. I would highly recommend the mama designs scarves.

Best multi-use breastfeeding cover

Made from 70 per cent bamboo muslin and 30 per cent cotton muslin, this breastfeeding cover is natural, cuddle-able and super soft. It's versatile too as it can be used as a burp cloth, swaddle, pram cover and even a teething ring, making it a great present for any parent-to-be.

Pros: Has multiple uses
Cons: Some parents found the two rubber hooks that are attached to it are quite heavy

Review: "Such an excellent product that I wouldn't be without in my changing bag. As a first time mum breast feeding in public was so daunting but this product has helped give me confidence. I'm now 2 months in to the breastfeeding journey and generally only use it if I'm somewhere really busy for a bit of privacy while we feed or just while I get my baby to latch and then I move it out of the way. It then doubles perfectly as a muslin so once my baby has fed I flip it over my shoulder for winding. I've also used it as a comforter and swaddle and to shade my son on a walk when it was particularly windy. It's got so many uses and it's great quality and soft material. Highly recommended!"

Best cotton breastfeeding cover

Made in the UK, this breastfeeding cover gives more coverage than many other brands. It's made from 100 per cent cotton fabric, resulting in a lighter, looser, and more comfortable cover. We love the polka dot design; it has a boned neckline, allowing you to keep eye contact with your baby while they feed.

Pros: Good length at 18 inches
Cons: Neck strap isn't adjustable

Review: "This came in handy while breastfeeding out and about. I wasn't embarrassed about feeding, but whipping your chest out in a waiting room or on the street when you have to lift up your entire top, wasn't something I cared for - cold too! I was more embarrassed about my post-baby tummy than my boobs. This has great coverage, a nice design, and a handy wire that allows you to look down at your baby, and stops them getting a face full of apron. Highly recommended."

Best breastfeeding cover with adjustable strap

This cover is made with 100 per cent premium cotton. The rigid neckline means you can have eye contact with your baby at all times while feeding, and the strap is adjustable so it's easy to find a position that's comfortable. There's also a handy little front pocket - ideal for a lip balm, or your essential purple tube.

Pros: Cotton will keep you and your baby cool
Cons: Some reviews have mentioned that the strap doesn't tighten enough

Review: "Absolutely delighted with this product. Been using blankets and/or muslin cloths but my LO just used to cry because he couldn't see me. I'm also large chested so hated that I couldn't see my LO properly before to make sure he could breathe easily enough. This new cover has sorted all of that for me! It's lovely and lightweight and I can see my LO the whole time - great cover for a great price, very happy!"

Recommended
KeaBabies Cover
Price: $8.96

With over 5,500 reviews on Amazon, this cover is super popular. It's ultra-soft and breathable, allowing free and easy air movement to keep you and your baby relaxed and comfortable. Reviewers loved how it can be used for multiple different uses.

Pros:
Flexible material
Cons:
Some reviewers wished it was more stretchy

Review: "I dont often write reviews but this product is amazing.. I bought it as a nursing cover (which it is fantastic for) but I didn't expect to use it in so many other ways! As in photo I use it to protect from cold wind at the beach. Its handy to guide from glare of sun. Useful to keep settled on a nap or avoid distraction when trying to get baby to sleep. For nursing it's so handy, you can rummage about underneath without fear of flashing and it's much easier to take on and off than lots of other nursing covers - although I tend to just wear it round my neck as a scarf when out. Very soft. Handy wee bag. As you can see from the length of my review... I really can't recommend it enough. I'm buying another!"

Best breastfeeding apron

A one-size-fits-all apron, easy to roll up and carry with you wherever you go. It features two pockets, to pop in your phone and other stuff, and the strap is adjustable. It's machine washable and comes with a little bag to store it nicely away too.

Pros: Can be used as a buggy sunshade or blanket too
Cons: Some customers felt this cover-up drew more attention to them breastfeeding compared to without it

Review: "Since purchasing the nursing cover I have been using this a lot for over 6 months without any issues. The style of the cover gives me great privacy and it is easy to put on/remove especially when holding my little one. Can adapt the neck strap easily and be able to see inside the cover. Material is great as it's not too thin or thick. Pockets are very handy for putting things in. I've washed this a lot and it still looks/feels great!"

Recommended
Weesprout Nursing Poncho

Rrp: $20.99

Price: $15.98

The WeeSprout Nursing Poncho provides 360° privacy while nursing and gives you a hands-free view of your baby. The fabric is incredibly comfortable and won't restrict your movement.

Pros:
Can be used for eight different purposes
Cons:
Some parents may not like the striped print

Review: "This is a great nursing cover! It is lightweight and stretchy. I wear an XL shirt and am rather large breasted. I find that I struggle to nurse using a cover, but this was simple for us to use!!!!"

Best fashionable breastfeeding cover
Seraphine Grey Breastfeeding Cover
Price: £25 (was £39)

www.seraphine.com

Seraphine’s essential breastfeeding cover is the perfect way to keep you and your little one covered while you feed. It's stylish as well as practical, and the fabric is hypoallergenic with antibacterial properties. It's made from an eco-friendly Bamboo wool blend, with poppers at the shoulder - we love the way you can wear this as a shawl or scarf with no one knowing it's a breastfeeding cover.

Pros: Both fashionable and functional
Cons: Wool blend could make baby hot while feeding

Recommended
Grey Cable Knit Breastfeeding Cover
Price: £39 (was £55)

www.seraphine.com

Beautifully made in a cable knit design, you're going to want to use this cover-up as a cosy layer even when you're not nursing. It's got poppers at the shoulder to offer versatile ways to wear and the soft wool blend feels luxuriously soft for both you and baby.

Pros:
Super stylish
Cons:
No reviews yet

Mother&Baby award-winning breastfeeding cover

This multi-use cover can be used as a breastfeeding poncho, a blanket for your baby, or a sunshade - a handy product if you're travelling. It was the Silver award winner in the 2020 M&B Awards Best Travel Product Under £30.

Pros: Can be used for multiple uses besides a breastfeeding cover
Cons: Not suitable for tumble drying

Tested by mum Ellen for the 2020 M&B Awards; she said: "This product allowed me to breastfeed my daughter discreetly with ease. I see myself as a confident breastfeeder, however, I do find at times, usually when I'm wearing a top that requires me to completely expose my breast to feed my daughter, that I still feel uncomfortable nursing. Cover Me provided me with the privacy I required to feed my daughter."

Read our full review of the Cover Me Multi-Use Cover here.

FAQs

How often should a mum breastfeed her baby?

If you're new to parenting and breastfeeding, you may be wondering how often you should breastfeed your baby. Of course, every baby is different so you can feed them as often as they want and for as long as they want. The NHS states it's fine to feed your baby whenever they are hungry, when your breasts feel full or if you just want to have a cuddle. The good news is that it's not possible to overfeed your baby.

In the first few days, you may find your baby wants to feed every hour for the first few days. However, this will reduce over time. According to research by nutritionjewel.com, babies who are one-week old need to be breastfed at least eight-12 times a day. 6–12-month-old babies will only need between three-four times a day. The first six weeks can be the toughest for a mum, but it should start to settle down around the three-month mark as your baby becomes a more efficient feeder.

Is it illegal to ask a breastfeeding mother to cover up?

Keep in mind that if you are choosing to breastfeed, it's against UK law to discriminate against breastfeeding. You have the right to do it wherever and whenever your baby needs it.

You should not ever be made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public. It is illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place, such as a café, shop, or public transport, just for feeding her baby.

If you would like additional advice on this, the NHS has more information.

Before going out and about, you can research suitable areas that will provide a happy and cosy environment.

One of our favourite pieces of advice from the NHS website is this: "Avoid the loos. Do not feel that you should sit in a public toilet to breastfeed. You would not eat in there, so do not feel that your baby should be fed there." Quite right!

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Mother & Baby is dedicated to ensuring our information is always valuable and trustworthy, which is why we only use reputable resources such as the NHS, reviewed medical papers, or the advice of a credible doctor, GP, midwife, psychotherapist, gynaecologist or other medical professionals. Where possible, our articles are medically reviewed or contain expert advice. Our writers are all kept up to date on the latest safety advice for all the products we recommend and follow strict reporting guidelines to ensure our content comes from credible sources. Remember to always consult a medical professional if you have any worries. Our articles are not intended to replace professional advice from your GP or midwife.