Breastfeeding in front of family and friends — The Bump

Breastfeeding in front of family and friends

Just curious how comfortable most people are with this. At home with my set-up on the couch I feel like the only way anyone would see anything is if they made an effort (I have a big breastfeeding pillow that blocks the view except if you stand beside me and look down)- I think you can see cleavage peaking over the top but no nipple or anything. In front of immediate family and close friends I really haven't cared- in public I obviously bring a blanket but I don't really like having it over his head because he's hard to position, root, burp and I worry about him getting too hot, so I kind of curve it around my breast covering the top and sides, and the baby covers the bottom.

Yesterday at my parent's house I got told by my mom that I am making my dad uncomfortable- wasn't given any real direction or preference. It takes 35 minutes to get there and back and we were there for 7 hours- he fed 4 times for about 30 minutes each time- plus diaper changes with pretty much each feeding and the occasional clothes change. For the first 3 feedings I went and hid in my old bedroom with my husband and listened to my mother explaining to all the guests who had come to see him that he was being fed and it would just be a "minute" (no pressure).  The last feeding I did like I would do in public but even more carefully- putting the blanket over my head and him to position him then wrapping it to cover everything, constantly fusing to keep it off his nose. He has a lot of gas so we burp probably about 3x per side so I had to position us about 8 times.

After spending 3 of the 7 hours in my bedroom bored senseless (at least at home I can watch tv while I feed him by myself) and 30 minutes frustrated trying to get him to latch with a blanket over my head I am seriously considering telling my family to get over it or stop by and see their grandson here and leave when he feeds- no more huge trips out to their farm. Maybe after a couple months when I am better at public feeding I would reconsider- but this is day 9 and I'm still getting the hang of things.

DH's family is completely okay with my pillow and the baby covering my nipple and getting occasional cleavage glance over the top of the pillow. Am I strange that I am okay with this?  Am I being unreasonable? How does everyone else feed in front of close family and friends?


Re: Breastfeeding in front of family and friends

  • It sounds like both of your parents have a few issues.  Just tell your mom that until you and LO get more comfy with public nursing, you won't be coming over.
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  • My bff has serious issues with knowing that DD is being fed when she's over at my house.  I even had her under a blanket, which I cover up with every time someone other than H is nearby.  It wouldnt have bothered me at all if I didn't have her glancing every 5 seconds at my blanket like I didn't have it there.  Advice I was given was: Keep doing it to get her used to it and act like it's nothing at all.  I hate pumping when people are over, so I'm def taking the advice.
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  • At first I left all modesty at the hospital and would pull my boob Out in front of family but ended up changing when I wasn't so desperate. After we got better latches easier I realized everyone had seen my boobs! I live at my parents with DH and LO and now I try to always have on a tshirt bc I can pretty much cover my boob all the way to LO's face. I also have a rule that if I am in the living room nursing in my space and company comes over, my little sisters boyfriend, they can just avoid the living room if the are uncomfortable because I was there first. Very seldom do I go nurse in another room. . .I have a cover that is great in public but as it starts getting hotter I've noticed LO gets awfully comfy and falls asleep faster....the while process of nursing will get easier and baby will be faster eventually. I think the way you feel is pretty normal. *bumping from phone and 1ht*
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  • When LO was a newborn, I was really self-conscious about feeding and I would run off to hide to do it. But as you mentioned, it can take a long time when they're so little, and it's hard to be isolated while everyone else is talking about you and the baby somewhere else.

    So I started to get bolder. In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with feeding my baby. No one thinks anything of someone pulling out a bottle to feed the baby in public. Like PP, I use a cover if it's anyone other than my husband or mom around, and no one can see anything more than they could when I had a shirt on. 

    It gets a lot easier as you and baby are both more comfortable. And the more your family sees it, the more normal it will become for them, too. 

  • Breasts were made for feeding infants.  People seem to forget this.  I NIP all the time because I'm in public all the time, we have lives!!  I always cover DS's head with a receiving blanket.  I can walk around stores like this, people don't even know.  If they don't like it TOO bad.  It's their problem, nursing is a natural & healthy practice.  I don't expose my breasts.

    I nurse at both my parents & my ILs house all the time.  MIL nursed DH & my Mom nursed me so it's nothing new to the Dads.  If my Dad told me it made him uncomfortable I would actually be offended.  I am feeding my child.

    Your parents seem to have some issues.  I would not honor their request that you don't nurse there.  It's not fair to you, especially when your a new Mom & just learning the ropes of professional nursing. 

    Once you become a "professional" nursing Mom you will be able to do it without showing anything.  Your baby can latch themselves when they see the nipple.  Your will be able to vacuum your house & nurse.

  • My personal policy when DS was little was to use a nursing cover around my family and DH's family. I also used it when NIP.  I loved my nursing cover :)

    The nursing cover was a bit weird for my DH's family, since his sister went to a bedroom to nurse her daughter a year earlier.  They never said anything, though.  DS nursed for a half-hour on each side as a newborn.  There was NO WAY I was going to sit alone in a bedroom for an hour every two hours when we were at their house!

    At about 5 months old, DS got too nosy to use the nursing cover.  He wanted to play with the cover, and if the cover wasn't on, he still wanted to pull off constantly to check out the action around him.  At that point, I started going to a separate bedroom at both my parents' house and DH's parents' house.  It was the ONLY way to get DS to nurse.  Too many distractions otherwise.  The nice thing is, DS nurses a lot faster, so it's not a big deal.  We're gone for 10 minutes in then we're back in the action again.

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  • I've never tried nursing in front of my family, or DH's.  I'm the one who would be uncomfortable.  I don't know if they would care or not.  Whenever someone comes over I hide in our bedroom and feed.  And when I'm at my parents I go into my old bedroom.  Like your room, it's boring because there's no t.v. or anything in there and everyone else gets to hang out in the living room talking.  Maybe you could ask your mom to move a TV into your old bedroom.  It sounds like your real issue is that you don't get to socialize while nursing because you're in a separate room.  Is there a room near where the other guests are where you could set up a little chair or something?  I can definitely understand a dad being uncomfortable seeing his daughter nurse.  I think it's just a matter of mutual respect- your respect for his comfort and his respect for your choice to BF.  But don't worry, it may take 30 minutes to feed LO now, but as they get older they get a lot faster.  My DS is 5 months now and he takes only about 10 minutes to eat a meal and he only eats every 3 hrs.
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  • Ugh...I would tell my parents to get over it.  Either your feeding THEIR GRANDCHILD there, or your're not coming over.
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  • I'm sorry you have to go through this!  I would just talk to them and explain how important it is for you to breastfeed and if they want to spend time with you and your baby, breastfeeding is part of the package.

    I'm very lucky that I can breastfeed in front of my family.  My dad actually said to me "Hey, you gotta feed her, don't you?".  I think my brother is a little uncomfortable, but I've never asked him and I'm not really worried about it.  His wife breastfed his two sons, so he can deal!  I do try to be discreet out of respect for him. 

    I do not, however, feed her in front of my husband's family.  That is my own issue, though.  I'm not comfortable around them and feel like his sister will be judging me the whole time.  She breastfed her four children and I'm sure she would think I was doing something wrong.  Our visits are always brief anyway, and they only live 15 minutes away, so it's not a big deal.

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  • imageJennifer Ruth:
    Ugh...I would tell my parents to get over it.  Either your feeding THEIR GRANDCHILD there, or your're not coming over.

    oh he!! to the this. At my house, i pump in the living room. With rare exception, I continue to pump in the living room, completely covered, when we have company. Don't like it?  Don't come over. I'm not a leper and i'm not hiding in another room beacuse I have to feed my child.

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  • imageak1234:
    It sounds like both of your parents have a few issues.  Just tell your mom that until you and LO get more comfy with public nursing, you won't be coming over.

    Ditto.  I know my in-laws all breastfed and are totally comfortable with it.  My mom's side of the family are very, very prudish about everything.  They disapprove of breastfeeding in general because they want to feed the baby, not just let mom do it. * sigh * 

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  • It depends on who is around.  If it's my DH or mom - everything is out in the open, no big deal.  If my sisters or brother are around - I am more modest, but will still nurse in front of them.  If my dad or my in laws are around - I go into the other room (not really that big of a deal for me).  I just try to gage how comfortable everyone else and go from there.  If they're uncomfortable it makes me uncomfortable, so I would rather just spend the quiet time with my daughter alone.  

    My MIL actually asked me if I should go to the public bathroom to nurse my daughter one day (I was using a cover and we were out for the enitre day).  That is where I draw the line - there is no way I'm giving my daughter her lunch in the stall of a public bathroom - I don't care how much of a prude she is!!!!  

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  • Instead of wearing a nursing top where the top of your breast is exposed, try wearing a tank with a t-shirt over top. That way you are lifting the shirt and really only your nipple is exposed.

    When I nurse my stepfather leaves the room, he's uncomfortable so he removes himself. That's fine with me because I will not go to another room. I am feeding my child, nothing more.

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  • I have no problem nursing in front of family or anyone else.  My baby needs to eat and BF is how I choose to feed him.

    I'm very sensitive about other's feelings, and I really don't like to make people feel uncomfortable, but in this situation, they can remove themselves if they choose.

    My son refuses to nurse with a cover, so I just make sure my shirt covers above the nipple and he covers the rest.  It was much more difficult in the beginning, but it gets easier with time. 

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  • ms12345ms12345 member

    It sounds like both of your parents have a few issues.  Just tell your mom that until you and LO get more comfy with public nursing, you won't be coming over.

    Ditto.  I know my in-laws all breastfed and are totally comfortable with it.  My mom's side of the family are very, very prudish about everything.  They disapprove of breastfeeding in general because they want to feed the baby, not just let mom do it. * sigh * 

    OMG THIS! My MIL, who I'm not even close with, was offended that I wouldn't let them in the NICU room when I was attempting to BF, and then that I went upstairs to my bedroom to pump once we were all home and I went to EPing. She breastfed all three of hers and I have to give her all the credit in the world that she would have been totally okay with me BFing in front of them.

    My parents, on the other hand, are so anti-breastfeeding, it makes me sick (and I'm not really a lactivist, I'm just chill about however people decide to feed their baby). When they found out about my intention to try, I got a lecture about not doing it too long (to them, three months was MORE than enough).  My mom was actually happy that it didn't work out (preemie, two week NICU stay, lousy suck...) and said she was happy I "decided" to pump instead - because she (and everyone else on her side of the family) is all about passing around the baby and bottle. My dad blamed a day of fussiness (which turned out to be GAS) on her getting breastmilk and said "UGH I wish she was on formula". He was also grossed out when I was pumping in the living room at their house (in the corner, in another room away from everyone). He's also said that breastfeeding "is more for the mother anyway", like it's a sexual pleasure.

    GAH! Wait til next time, if I don't have a preemie and am able to BF!

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