Ireland still has the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world, for a wide variety of reasons – and while there are some women for whom breast is not best, there are others who lack the confidence to breastfeed in public.
Especially when reactions are... not always ideal.
So we got to thinking: where are the best places in Dublin to breastfeed undisturbed and, crucially, un-stared-at? Here's our list.
1. The Westbury Hotel, Dublin 2
Sit down for a cup of tea, coffee, or indulge in delish afternoon tea in this five-star hotel off Grafton St. With comfy sofas and armchairs, you and baby will be fed and watered in comfort.
2. Clodagh's Kitchen at Arnotts, Dublin 1
Grab a sofa in Clodagh's Kitchen at Arnotts – and try one of their croissants, they're top-notch – in this top-floor cafe. It's divided from the general shop floor so you'll be able to feed in relative privacy, and the very good coffee is a nice bonus.
3. Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, Dublin 2
Let's get one thing straight: you can breastfeed wherever and whenever you want. But if, for whatever reason, you're feeling a bit shy about feeding in a cafe or restaurant, Stephen's Green Shopping Centre has a dedicated feeding room upstairs, by the toilets – it's handy in a pinch if you don't have time to go for coffee and just want somewhere to feed baby.
Plus, it can be comforting for a first-time public breastfeeder to know they'll be among other breastfeeding mums.
4. Mayfield, Terenure
This south Dublin café does a mean carrot cake, but the comfy seating and cosy décor are pretty good, too – and you'll see loads of other mums and families milling around that are sure to make you feel comfortable.
5. Dundrum Town Centre
Another shopping centre with a breastfeeding room is Dundrum – it even has a microwave and bottle warmer, as well as fresh water and armchairs. Top marks.
6. Avoca Cafés
Sure, Avoca has made notions, and we have issues with the price of some of its products, BUT it definitely scores top marks in the family-friendly category. There are always loads of mixed family groups around, and you'll never be the only one breastfeeding – plus, they're super accommodating if you're visiting with a buggy. Win-win.
Sure, it's a big evil American chain, but Starbucks has to get serious props for its parent-friendly status – they've signed up to a charter that essentially guarantees that any breastfeeding mums will be welcomed and accommodated by Starbucks staff.
We'll have a tall, non-fat mocha with an extra shot please – no foam.
8. Ikea, Ballymun
We truly believe that Ikea is where relationships – romantic and otherwise – go to die, in a blazing row over curtain fabric, but at least you can storm off to the dedicated feeding areas in the restaurant.
There's also a free creche for kids aged three to 10, and a three-piece kids' breakfast will set you back a mere €1. So loads for parents to look forward to (if they survive the ordeal).
9. Bay, Clontarf
This seafood restaurant has really nice couch-style seating that'll have you super comfy while breastfeeding – and the food is pretty good, too.