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Mortified today while nursing my 22 m/o

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

So DD has been having tantrums, no biggie, she's spirited so hers are extreme, but I am dealing.

 

We went to a local bookstore we visit frequently that has a train table with trains for the kids to play with. DD was playing then got fussy and said she wanted milk.

 

I start nursing her but she starts flipping out (IDK why) so I just put her down distracted her and told her she could nurse in a minute. So like 10 mins later she asks to nurse. (I nurse discretely, but not covered, one shirt up one shirt down type deal)

 

There is a little boy (toddler really, maybe like 2.5) that asks his mom what she was doing. The mother looked at me in HORROR and tells her son my DD is sleeping. Then DD gets up and looks at them like they are nuts and she goes "Oh she's resting!" then grabs her kid and brings him away to the other side of the store.

 

Then DD starts fussing again and wanting to switch sides every minute (everyone is starring at me but I am covering my nipple the minute she pops off) and this mom with a newborn (maybe 1 m/o, bottle fed) and a 3ish year old looks over, grabs her 3 y/o and announces we need to go now! (her DD was watching me nursing) Then dashes away as fast as possible....with her DD flipping out asking WHY?!

 

Then a woman is casually going by with her two sons looks over and sees me nursing and say "Come on boys let's go! Don't look! Keep walking!"

 

Well by this point I felt really uncomfortable b/c they made me feel like I was some circus freak show or something and my DD definitely picked up on that and started having a huge meltdown so I had to carry her out of there absolutely hysterical, kicking and screaming! (She's very sensitive to her environment and my emotions)

 

I have never felt "shamed" even when people have said mean things to me. I can't believe I am STILL feeling insecure a few hours later. Is it really that big of a deal to nurse my toddler in public? I mean no one said anything directly against me but their actions absolutely mortified me. Is this what I have to expect and live with now b/c DD is older and "expected to be weaned"?

 

How would you have dealt with this, what would you have done differently?

post #2 of 27
I don't have any advice as DD is only 10 months old, but I just wanted to give you a hug hug.gif . It's really sad that you were made to feel this way for something so natural and beautiful.
post #3 of 27
My heart goes out to you. I'm still nursing my 3 year old ds but haven't experienced what you just went through. This is because I only nurse at home now. I think I pretty much in the closet when it comes to nursing my ds. I started noticing some negativity from other parents this past year. One time, I was standing next to two moms talking at a drop-in kindergym. They were talking about someone they knew who was still nursing her preschooler. They both agreed that the mom was being selfish and should wean her child. I kept my mouth shut because it was the first time I realized there was a stigma attached to nursing an older child. So sad that it is that way in western society.
post #4 of 27

Ugh! Why can't women just support other women? I just don't get it!  Man, I mean, I'm GLAD when my boys can experience breastfeeding.. because I want them to know it's a normal, beautiful thing... and I want them to encourage their wives to breastfeed should the time arise.

post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the support guys. I have always said once DD is 2 I wills stop NIP but IDK how reasonable that is considering DDs temperament. She is really sensitive! If we are out and another child hits her she is crushed and cries and cries and cries. Also her frequency in nursing has not diminished at all. At home she can nurse hourly sometimes (most times really) although she does STTN for the most part.

 

When we are out she will nurse every couple-few hours. We don't normally have the car so when we do we are usually out for the day. I hate nursing in the car, there is no room and it's hot, besides I don't feel I should have to "hide" away like that. My grandmother told me (after I had went out to eat with my own sister and the baby wanted milk and I nursed her while eating @ 1.25 y.o) that I should have left the table and my food, nursed the baby in the car, and then returned to the table. She said she refuses to go anywhere with me until that child is weaned b/c she would be SO embarrassed if she were out somewhere with me and I started nursing her.

 

It is so hard living in a country that has low BFing rates and that is so judgmental and IDK afraid? of nursing for longer that x amount of time! I mean come on at 6 months in I was getting flack about STILL nursing!

 

I just don't know what to do should that situation happen again. I hate that they made me feel shamed. My stomach was in knots! I haven't felt like that since high school!

post #6 of 27
I still nurse 2.5yo DS in public. I have occasionally gotten some looks or people walking away but I tend to assume there are other reasons for them leaving (with toddlers, there are many reasons to leave abruptly, or make annoyed faces!!) So I try to be careful not to read too much into things and not worry too much about what other people are doing. Ignorance -- or even pretending to be ignorant! -- can be bliss. wink1.gif

Sometimes random kids come up to me while DS is nursing & ask what he's doing, and I simply say to them that he's having some milk, and after that, if their parent is around and looks uncomfortable, I just try to redirect the kid -- "So what's your name?" etc. It's funny, kids always seem to understand DS is 'doing' something, while parents tend to think he is just sleeping (or maybe that's just what they tell their kids to avoid explaining? I don't know.) But I do like to explain in a very basic, matter-of-fact way so the other parents don't have to feel so uncomfortable. I think parents that don't nurse may not necessarily have a quick & easy answer for how to explain it to their children & get flustered & embarrassed. Other parents think their kids are bothering you. So I like the simple explanation & friendly conversation to show them that I'm comfortable with it and all.

When DS isn't nursing well -- switching sides or getting fussy or talking while latched -- then I just stop nursing him & try to find some other way to meet his needs, or find somewhere quieter. I definitely don't think you did anything wrong but I do think it makes sense to recognize when nursing isn't doing the trick, or when your DD needs a different environment to be able to nurse properly -- for her sake & yours, not for anyone else!! But it might also make people less likely to comment or even notice, if your DD is quietly, happily nursing vs. acting goofy or upset about it. (I hope I'm wording this the right way, I'm not trying to say that you shouldn't nurse in certain situations or that you did something wrong so I hope it didn't come off that way!!)
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

Other parents think their kids are bothering you. So I like the simple explanation & friendly conversation to show them that I'm comfortable with it and all.
 

I totally agree with this. I'm all for NIP, and I also know it's not polite to stare at people. IMO I also think it's not nice to stare at people while they are nursing. I don't want to make them feel uncomfortable. So a lot of times, parents embarrassment might be more directed toward their kid. Like a "Ahhh, I can't believe you are just staring at that lady and asking her questions". I'm sure a lot of parents would likely respond the same way if their LO went up to a person in a wheelchair, or with another disability and started asking them questions.

post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 

Well to counter react my bad experience, yesterday I was nursing DD at the mall, and a woman came right over to me and congratulated me. Then she called all her kids over to "see how a baby really eats". Then she was talking to me a little bit about how she hates that there is no exposure to nursing in this country b/c it just makes it harder for other moms to nurse successfully!

 

Talk about night and day experiences in the same week!

post #9 of 27

I love that you got to have such a positive loving experience around NIP after such a horrible one. Sounds like the Universe was giving you a little test about your NIP resolve and you passed with flying colors love.gif

post #10 of 27

I think every time a mom handles NIP with grace and pride, you may be helping some young girl who's around know it's all good...you may be inspiring a future mom to nurse!  You never know who's noticing what you do and helping them to feel more comfortable, too...keep up the good work!  thumb.gif

post #11 of 27
*hug*

I dont tnink I would have done anything differently. I'm blown away people responded THAT vehemently. I would be bothered by their reactions, too.

Thank you for nursing in public!
post #12 of 27

You are not responsible for someone else's hangups.  A 2.5yo child is still very young.  There's nothing wrong with nursing her in public.

 

Since other small children talk very loudly, I've been known to answer questions like "What's he doing?", not realizing the child wasn't speaking to me.  "He's nursing."  "He needs some mama time."  

 

NIP is important.  And hey, most people probably don't even realize what you're doing because they don't expect to see an older toddler at the breast.  

 

 

post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by caedenmomma View Post

I think every time a mom handles NIP with grace and pride, you may be helping some young girl who's around know it's all good...you may be inspiring a future mom to nurse!  You never know who's noticing what you do and helping them to feel more comfortable, too...keep up the good work!  thumb.gif



This. I agree, Mama you need to be proud for meeting your little one's needs. I've been made to feel uncomfortable at times too, it is usually unsupportive, non-bf women and I think how sad that they haven't had the joy of nursing a toddler <3.

 

post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by jocelyndale View Post

You are not responsible for someone else's hangups.  A 2.5yo child is still very young.  There's nothing wrong with nursing her in public.

 

Since other small children talk very loudly, I've been known to answer questions like "What's he doing?", not realizing the child wasn't speaking to me.  "He's nursing."  "He needs some mama time."  

 

NIP is important.  And hey, most people probably don't even realize what you're doing because they don't expect to see an older toddler at the breast.  

 

 


This! hug2.gif OP
post #15 of 27

i'm glad you had a better day the next time! i think from reading your story, it might have been more about your dd having a tantrum than the nursing. i know people never seem to know how to respond when my dd is wailing and flailing and kicking up a fuss (and i too don't ever NIP any more, not out of embarrassment, just because that's how our limits work). my dd was having a heck of a tantrum in the pool changing room, and some people were giving me major stink eye! i've also removed my kid from the vicinity of other tantruming kids because it actually tends to set her off or make her really upset. it's easier just to leave the area. 

post #16 of 27

My son is 21 months, so very close in age to your daughter and I am feeling the negativity lately too.

The other day a friend told my husband that it is 'unnnatural' for my son to be nursing at this age. eyesroll.gif 

It is pitiful that we live in a country of people so uninformed on breastfeeding and natural weaning age. It is so simple to pick up a book or go online and find a government site, or medical organization such as AAP or AAFP, and obtain basic information. I tend to give free passes to ignorant people who do not have kids, but parents should know better, even if it is just to respect others differences.

 

I am so glad though that you had a wonderful follow up story about the woman in the mall.

 

post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 

That's so true parents should be informed period, even if they don't want to do it themselves. My DD is still such a baby and even some of the people who said I was nuts thinking I would nurse her so long (whens she was a baby) have changed their minds and see how she really is still very much a baby but beyond that she needs it.

 

Although I still have plenty of naysayers in my family who think I am totally wrong and somehow destroying her life. I have been told I was perverted before...as if nursing my child gets me off somehow? Yeah right let me tell you...

 

The ignorance is hard to deal with. The negativity about breastfeeding that has been so heavily influenced by media, government (formula used to be "more scientific" than BM and the AAP recommended it, not too long ago), doctors, and passed down generation to generation is old and disproven and people need to get over it already!

post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post
 The negativity about breastfeeding that has been so heavily influenced by media, government (formula used to be "more scientific" than BM and the AAP recommended it, not too long ago), doctors, and passed down generation to generation is old and disproven and people need to get over it already!


That's very true, there is a half of a century in which physicians and parents thought that artificial milk was the normal way to feed a baby. It just strikes me as the strangest notion though for anyone to think that breasts are not for feeding a mammal's young. Even if one chooses not to utilize them in that way, it would still be painfully obvious that is what they are intended for.

Can you imagine other mammals...... horses, cats, apes, thinking that breasts have some other purpose? I was reading somewhere that of 191 societies studied, only 13 sexualize breasts. The sexualization may not be an issue if there was acknowledgement of their primary purpose, and respect as well.

 

The irony is that a century ago, nursing an American child 2-4 years was the norm. That was in a book I read by Kathryn Dettwyler. 

I guess everything goes full circle, so we just happen to be in a bubble of time in which American nursing age is different than the rest of history, or the majority of the world currently. I saw on the Unicef site that one out of every two 24 month olds in the world is currently breastfed (as of 2007). 

 

 

post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 

1 out of 2 is not even good enough! I agree it is ridiculous that anyone would think breasts were not for BFing. It's common sense!

 

I think one of the big problems I have is that other countries have always linked the US with being prosperous and a generally good thing, so they see the US doesn't even nurse their babies, so they think formula must be better KWIM? We are an influential country and we are completely backwards with the "mainstream" in child rearing!

post #20 of 27

First of all, I just want to offer hugs and say that I'm so so sorry that you had a negative experience doing something that is natural and beneficial for your babe.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View PostThere is a little boy (toddler really, maybe like 2.5) that asks his mom what she was doing. The mother looked at me in HORROR and tells her son my DD is sleeping. Then DD gets up and looks at them like they are nuts and she goes "Oh she's resting!" then grabs her kid and brings him away to the other side of the store.

 

Then a woman is casually going by with her two sons looks over and sees me nursing and say "Come on boys let's go! Don't look! Keep walking!"

 

Well by this point I felt really uncomfortable b/c they made me feel like I was some circus freak show or something and my DD definitely picked up on that and started having a huge meltdown so I had to carry her out of there absolutely hysterical, kicking and screaming! (She's very sensitive to her environment and my emotions)

 

I have never felt "shamed" even when people have said mean things to me. I can't believe I am STILL feeling insecure a few hours later. Is it really that big of a deal to nurse my toddler in public? I mean no one said anything directly against me but their actions absolutely mortified me.

I feel like its almost worse than if the women had directly confronted you, or had said something TO you rather than talking ABOUT you, clearly within earshot of you and your DD. I think that would make me feel shamed more so than if someone confronted me about it, because at least in the latter situation you have a voice, and the ability to defend yourself.
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

I still nurse 2.5yo DS in public. I have occasionally gotten some looks or people walking away but I tend to assume there are other reasons for them leaving (with toddlers, there are many reasons to leave abruptly, or make annoyed faces!!) So I try to be careful not to read too much into things and not worry too much about what other people are doing.
Other parents think their kids are bothering you. So I like the simple explanation & friendly conversation to show them that I'm comfortable with it and all.

We had a situation like this recently at the park. DD was running around terrorizing, like she does, and she came upon a new mother openly (and not terribly discretely--good for her!) nursing her newborn. Well DD is super curious and not yet at the point where she understands tact, or even personal space really, so she was getting all up in the lady's face trying to wave at the infant. I apologized and tried to guide DD away to terrorize other parts of the park. I guess the nursing mom took DD's exuberance--or my attempt at redirection--as unfamiliarity, so she said "The baby is nursing. You might have nursed when you were a newborn" to which I said "Oh she still does! She knows the deal!" And I think the mom was surprised and said "Oh that's great!" because she probably assumed I was judging her.



Quote:
Originally Posted by dejagerw View Post



I totally agree with this. I'm all for NIP, and I also know it's not polite to stare at people. IMO I also think it's not nice to stare at people while they are nursing. I don't want to make them feel uncomfortable. So a lot of times, parents embarrassment might be more directed toward their kid. Like a "Ahhh, I can't believe you are just staring at that lady and asking her questions". I'm sure a lot of parents would likely respond the same way if their LO went up to a person in a wheelchair, or with another disability and started asking them questions.



This is exactly how I felt when DD was all up in the poor nursing woman's face. But maybe my reaction to DD's curiosity is also reflective of my own discomfort and sensitivity when nursing in public? If so I suppose that's something I ought to explore, because I don't want to pass my insecurities along either!



Quote:
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

Well to counter react my bad experience, yesterday I was nursing DD at the mall, and a woman came right over to me and congratulated me. Then she called all her kids over to "see how a baby really eats". Then she was talking to me a little bit about how she hates that there is no exposure to nursing in this country b/c it just makes it harder for other moms to nurse successfully!

 

Talk about night and day experiences in the same week!



That's so great. I now make it a point to comment/praise women that I see nursing older toddlers in public. I figure that we all get enough negative energy, I'd like to contribute to the positive vibes out there!


 

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