mother breastfeeding child on a beach

Breastfeeding in Dubai; Here’s what you need to know

by Dubai Travel Planner

A parents’ guide to visiting Dubai with a baby

A question we’ve seen from many new parents looking to travel to Dubai is “will I be allowed to breastfeed my baby?”

In a word – ABSOLUTELY!

There is no law preventing breastfeeding in public in Dubai. However, one of the larger concerns visiting mothers might have is around the need to be modest; the interpretation of what is allowed by law and what is expected is very grey.

Nursing mothers in Dubai should be discreet and take steps to cover themselves during breastfeeding in public. We all know that not all babies like to be covered when they’re being fed which can leave nursing mum in an awkward situation out in public.

Fortunately, there are a few solutions so that nursing mothers can look for in Dubai:

  • In many malls, such as Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, there are specific rooms set aside, normally beside the female bathrooms for nursing mothers. Some will include full family rooms where you can complete nappy changes, warm bottles and soft chairs for feeding.
  • Another private place that women can turn to is ladies prayer rooms. We have never known of a nursing mother in Dubai to be turned away with a hungry baby and these are exclusively women-only rooms.
  • Some baby shops in Dubai (eg Mothercare) also have large change rooms which can facilitate baby feeding and changing – check with staff first if it’s not clearly signposted.

There should be no problem feeding in a public places such as a café, or even at the beach if discretion is used and minimal flesh is shown.

We strongly recommend the use of a nursing cover when feeding in public, and wearing an easy access breastfeeding top to minimize how much skin is shown. We talk more about modest dressing in Dubai here.

Good nursing cover for breastfeeding in Dubai

This is really up to your personal preference for you and your baby. We always found the apron-style of nursing cover such as a Bebe au Lait gives the best coverage and maximizes discretion. You may also like a nursing cover that can double as a infant seat/stroller sun cover.

Bottle feeding in Dubai

Should you choose to bottle feed rather than breastfeed this is completely understandable. Obviously if you are making the switch between breast to bottle you should do this in advance of your visit.

Expressing milk for baby feeding in Dubai

A great alternative we found when unsure where breastfeeding might be acceptable is to come with your own supply of expressed breast milk ready to bottle feed. You can pump discreetly ahead of time in your hotel room (essential to check if your accommodation has an in-room minibar) then you have a feed ready on handy if you ever feel uncomfortable.

You’ll find a great detailed guide here to help you through the ins and outs of pumping while travelling.

Should you run into any pumping problems, you can try the likes of FirstCry for instant online shopping delivered to your hotel. Baby equipment rental companies such as Skytots can also help (along with strollers, highchairs or any of your short-term baby supply needs in Dubai).

Formula feeding in Dubai

There are plentiful places to get ahold of formula in Dubai for bottle feeding. Though if you are partial to a particular brand you may wish to bring your own supplies as you may not get the exact type you want.

Tap water in Dubai is drinkable, but isn’t always pleasant tasting (it can leave a slight chlorine taste). Using boiled bottled water may still be preferred for making formula.

Most cafes and restaurants should have no problem providing you with warm water for your bottles – or even heating bottles for you – but of course, always test the temperature before giving to your baby.

Tips for taking young babies to Dubai

Other than breastfeeding, there are a few other things to be conscious of when taking a baby to Dubai

  • For much of the year you can expect extremely high temperatures. You and your baby need to stay hydrated and will probably need to drink more than usual, do factor this in to your daily plans.
  • Sun protection is essential. Babies under 6 months should be kept completely out of the direct sun, whilst older babies should wear a rash guard or long swim suit to protect their skin and sensitive skin sunscreen.
  • Wrap your baby in light, breathable materials. A large muslin cloth is an excellent idea in the heat. A sheepskin liner in their pram or stroller will also help with insulation.

Further readings for parents visiting Dubai

So the bottom line is yes, breastfeeding is allowed in Dubai but you may need to use more discretion than you would in your own home country. It’s an area that we hope will become more broadly accepted in all public places but in the meantime, we do still caution to pick the appropriate time and place.

Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai

Take me back to the Essential Dubai planning advice home page

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