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New friend wants to take her kids out of the room when we nurse. What would you say? - Page 2

post #21 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post
 She wasn't asking you to do anything different, just to be allowed to excuse herself and her children until they felt comfortable returning.

I'm not saying I agree with the other mom's feelings, but everyone is different.  Everyone has their different comfort levels and maybe the 11 year old was uncomfortable.  I nursed all the time in front of my 12 year old nephew b/c we lived in the same house, but his very close friend - who was ALWAYS over - was less comfortable and would look away, busy himself with something else, or leave the room.  The above quote seems to cut through the chase. She isn't asking you to not nurse, to leave the room, or to cover up.  She's not asking you to change anything.  She's just asking for a "heads-up" so SHE can change what she and her kids are doing while you are nursing.  That seems reasonable and fair. 

post #22 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyrabbitfly View Post
 And now here I am, painted the creepy crunchy mom.

 

Flyrabbitfly, did she actually say anything to suggest she holds this view of you? I'm wondering how much of the problem is that you're seeing this as a personal criticism of you, when that may not be at all how it was intended. I mean, it is possible that she can disagree with your views on nursing in front of children without having labelled you as 'creepy' or in any way less as a person. In fact, it seems to me that if she felt negatively about you as a person based on this then you wouldn't even be having this dilemma because she would be cutting off contact, not trying to make arrangements to see you again.

 

With regard to the practicalities of how you would handle this difference in opinion - well, I think it's possible to teach your children that something isn't done in public without teaching them that it's wrong or indecent. I mean, how do you plan to teach your children about nudity and the fact that we don't show off parts of our bodies to people we don't know well? Surely you're going to give them that message without worrying that they'll become ashamed of their bodies as a result? What happens when the time comes to teach them about sex - surely you won't feel the need to teach them to have sex in front of other people in order not to feel ashamed of it?

 

With regard to whether or not this difference in views is a deal-breaker for you, obviously that's something only you can decide. I can't imagine ending a good friendship (not to mention a friendship for my children) just because the person didn't share my view that it's fine for children to see nursing, but I can't speak for how important this is for you. What I can tell you is that there is always going to be some difference of opinion in a friendship. If you find a friend who's got the same views on nursing in front of children, I guarantee you there'll be something else you have a difference of opinion on. Maybe it'll be something else to do with parenting, maybe it'll be religion or politics or equal rights or views on abortion or... who knows. You have to figure out which ones are dealbreakers for you and which are differences you can live with.

post #23 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Good Enough Mum View Post
 

With regard to the practicalities of how you would handle this difference in opinion - well, I think it's possible to teach your children that something isn't done in public without teaching them that it's wrong or indecent. I mean, how do you plan to teach your children about nudity and the fact that we don't show off parts of our bodies to people we don't know well? Surely you're going to give them that message without worrying that they'll become ashamed of their bodies as a result? What happens when the time comes to teach them about sex - surely you won't feel the need to teach them to have sex in front of other people in order not to feel ashamed of it?

Right. Because normal baby feeding is like sex in public. 

post #24 of 136
Quote:

Originally Posted by MaggieLC View Post

My issue would be with her: What's next?  What will she want you to hide about yourself in the future? Will she expect you to hide if you get pregnant again because she "doesn't want her kids to know about THAT?"  I don't think she was the least bit "respectful" to tell you not to nurse in your own home. I think she's acting like a self -insulated prude and honestly, her disrespectful, prudish, intolerant behavior would definitely be a deal breaker for me.

 

My children are the most important part of my life. Anyone who objects to how I raise and feed my children and want me to pretend I'm something I'm not are simply not people I can get happily continue a friendship with.  I can be friends with women who don't breastfeed... as long as they don't expect me to act as if I am not a breastfeeder. Honesty is more important in my life than one most likely tainted relationship.

 

I know little to nothing about how the military works, how long is your husband's deployment? Is there a way your family can move to a more.... populated area?  I don't know if this is possible, but anything is better than having a limited, dishonest relationship simply because "no one else is around." Yes, friendships are important, but when someone disrespects you in your OWN home and wants you to pretend to be someone you are not, how "strong"  or important is the friendship from HER point of view?

 

Good grief.

 

First off, could you have put any more words into this woman's mouth? She did not tell the OP not to nurse, she did not raise any objection to how the OP was raising her child, and she did not (at least from what we're told) give any indication that she wanted the woman to pretend she wasn't breastfeeding. She asked for the option of taking her kids out of the room during nursing sessions. That's it.

 

Secondly, you know what? Different people have different opinions as to what they're OK with in the area of showing/covering bits of the body. Some of that is due to religious differences, some to cultural differences, some to personal preference. That's OK. You know what is not OK? Calling someone a 'prude' and 'disrespectful' just because you disagree with where they draw their personal boundaries on the matter. I don't agree with where this woman draws her boundaries, but they're still hers to draw. I'm really shocked to read this from a LC and former LLL leader, because respect for the differing views and boundaries/cultures of others is meant to be an integral and vital part of your job. If a woman with these views came to you for lactation advice, you'd be expected to treat her views respectfully and not subject her to this kind of criticism for holding them, so why is it OK to be talking this way about her just because she isn't reading the thread?

 

Thirdly, what is the 'dishonesty' here? As I said, there's no indication that she is expecting the woman to lie about the fact that she's breastfeeding or to pretend to have different views. Since when is it dishonest to have a part of your life that you don't do in front of others? We don't all go out and have sex in front of other people, and that doesn't mean we're being dishonest about the fact that we have sex - it means it's generally seen as something that's part of our private lives rather than our public lives. Now, obviously the difference here is that we don't see breast feeding as something that should be in the domain of our private lives, and we disagree with this woman on that point, but my point is that just because she doesn't feel it should be public does not mean she's somehow being dishonest or expecting dishonesty about it. It means she's trying to keep something in the private domain that she sees as being in the private domain, and that's not the same thing at all.

post #25 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonjagrabel View Post

I'm not saying I agree with the other mom's feelings, but everyone is different.  Everyone has their different comfort levels and maybe the 11 year old was uncomfortable.  I nursed all the time in front of my 12 year old nephew b/c we lived in the same house, but his very close friend - who was ALWAYS over - was less comfortable and would look away, busy himself with something else, or leave the room.  The above quote seems to cut through the chase. She isn't asking you to not nurse, to leave the room, or to cover up.  She's not asking you to change anything.  She's just asking for a "heads-up" so SHE can change what she and her kids are doing while you are nursing.  That seems reasonable and fair. 
When I nurse an older child around someone other than close family/friends, I do mention that I'm going to first, since it's more obvious than with an infant. It seems to make people way more comfortable because they are not surprised, and I do care about their comfort. IDK that seems to be the wrong thing to say in this forum though. I know my dad appreciates the heads up LOL and ok, thats his deal. He doesn't leave the room but he just likes warning. Even I do a double take for a second the first time someone I don't know well latches on her preschooler mid-sentence without a mention....really no one else finds that understandable?

Kids can be so funny about stuff....although I personally think it is a positive thing for an 11 year old boy to see normal use of breasts (my kids see plenty!), I wouldn't want to make him feel uncomfortable. I think by saying you are going to nurse, you are still being honest, unashamed, and feeding your child but also giving your guest a choice. And based on the mom's reaction, I agree it is probably the boy who was uncomfortable. I wonder whatever happened.
Edited by neycie - 11/9/13 at 12:49pm
post #26 of 136

It sounds to me that the new friend was as appropriate, fair and respectful as anyone could be in this situation. Mutual respect for people's comfort level is what should be in order here. This is not something to end a friendship over. My 2cents.gif... as a mother who nursed her kids into the toddler years also.

post #27 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Good Enough Mum View Post
 

 

Good grief.

 

First off, could you have put any more words into this woman's mouth? She did not tell the OP not to nurse, she did not raise any objection to how the OP was raising her child, and she did not (at least from what we're told) give any indication that she wanted the woman to pretend she wasn't breastfeeding. She asked for the option of taking her kids out of the room during nursing sessions. That's it.

 

Secondly, you know what? Different people have different opinions as to what they're OK with in the area of showing/covering bits of the body. Some of that is due to religious differences, some to cultural differences, some to personal preference. That's OK. You know what is not OK? Calling someone a 'prude' and 'disrespectful' just because you disagree with where they draw their personal boundaries on the matter. I don't agree with where this woman draws her boundaries, but they're still hers to draw. I'm really shocked to read this from a LC and former LLL leader, because respect for the differing views and boundaries/cultures of others is meant to be an integral and vital part of your job. If a woman with these views came to you for lactation advice, you'd be expected to treat her views respectfully and not subject her to this kind of criticism for holding them, so why is it OK to be talking this way about her just because she isn't reading the thread?

 

Thirdly, what is the 'dishonesty' here? As I said, there's no indication that she is expecting the woman to lie about the fact that she's breastfeeding or to pretend to have different views. Since when is it dishonest to have a part of your life that you don't do in front of others? We don't all go out and have sex in front of other people, and that doesn't mean we're being dishonest about the fact that we have sex - it means it's generally seen as something that's part of our private lives rather than our public lives. Now, obviously the difference here is that we don't see breast feeding as something that should be in the domain of our private lives, and we disagree with this woman on that point, but my point is that just because she doesn't feel it should be public does not mean she's somehow being dishonest or expecting dishonesty about it. It means she's trying to keep something in the private domain that she sees as being in the private domain, and that's not the same thing at all.


My choice of words about this woman being "dishonest" was because she hid her own breastfeeding from her own children. That's dishonest to me. That's how babies are fed to many of us. People who are dishonest about one thing are rarely only dishonest in only one sphere of their lives.

 

Sex is NOTHING like having sex in front of "other people" and I have found from past encounters that trying to discuss this with people who use either having sex or using the toilet with breastfeeding a fairly impossible feat. So, I'm not going to even try to argue this point. Some obviously don't see the huge glaring differences.

 

Plus, you have absolutely no idea "what kind of an LC or LLL leader" I am from my post. I support breastfeeding and do not support the idea that women need to or should hide the way they feed their children, especially in their own homes. In more than 20 years of practice, I've never had a client come to me who wants to hide her own breastfeeding from her other children, but I would try to help her feel more comfortable with this most normal activity. But, it hasn't happened yet in thousands of encounters with clients. Good Lactation Consultants and other lactivists don't get where they are by being wishy-washy about the importance of and support for breastfeeding! I refuse to do so. Thus, I am entitled to my opinion.

 

You're "shocked" because I have this opinion? Seriously? I'm "shocked" a women would hide her own breastfeeding from the rest of her children and tell an other woman how to breastfeed in her own home. So, I guess we're even. What are we going to hear next, that you "support" BFIP as long as they don't "whip it out in front of everybody?" duh.gif

 

Seriously.

post #28 of 136
First off, I am also a military spouse, so I thought it would be helpful if I give some info on how this lifestyle works in relation to what the OP has written. There is no option of moving someplace more populated in the OP's situation, unless it's back to the states at significant cost. I've lived in some places I really didn't like, but the alternative was to separate from my DH, and given that forced separations for deployments are inevitable, neither of us is willing to be voluntarily separated.

That said, if you want to stay sane, you learn to connect with a variety of people from all walks of life and belief structures. To be honest, I can only think of one or two friends I've made over the years who would be comfortable with my openly nursing a 3 yr old in their presence. I don't think the friend was out of line to politely ask for a head's up. She isn't trying to avoid the OP or end the friendship over this issue. She was upfront about her concerns. Given the state of socialization opportunities for the OP, I'd say that this is not an issue that is worth the loss of a friendship.
post #29 of 136

i know I'm late on this thread. . . . but if she didn't have an 11 year old, I am guessing the situation would be totally different. 

 

at 11, this boy may already be entering puberty. Many, many boys are. It sounds like he didn't grow up seeing his own mother's breasts as natural appendages for feeding and so I am guessing that given the society we live in, there is probably a VERY high chance that he already has very sexualized thoughts about breasts. Embarking on a (however well-meaning) one-woman campaign to change that despite his mother's objections is highly likely to simply prove confusing for the boy, and is about 3-4 years too late.

 

i also like what a previous poster said. . it's true that your friend is not asking YOU to really change anything, just to give her a chance to change HER behavior(leaving the room) . i hope you do not/did not feel that you had to end the friendship! 

post #30 of 136

  I would find her approach indicative of her ignorance.

I hope that my kids will not feel  uncomfortable around a nursing mother when they get older, even at 11.  But if say my son did feel uncomfortable, i would want him to speak to me about it, and i would explain to the mother, that my son is sorry, but needs to leave the room because he feels embarrassed. ( i cant see it happening to be honest) I would apologize to the nursing mother for the possibility of making her feel uncomfortable, and i would insist, that she continue, and be as comfortable as possible. 

 

But thats what would do. I have low expectations of the average person in society doing that. My expectations of people as far as breastfeeding is concerned, are low enough, that i would try not to take her suggestion personally, and just see it as  what i said before, indicative of ignorance. I might want to have a conversation about how its a pity that breastfeeding makes people uncomfortable, but i wouldnt want to end the  friendship over it.

 

As for some of the answers above, i think they are being insensitive to the OP. Its perfectly normal to feel  strange  when people leave the room for doing something completely natural.

 

 

 

ps. having read the post and seen that this took place in Korea, i can see how the woman is being very polite in the Korean way,  and probably thinks that all westerners are like you...and like most people, isnt used to it.  I have no idea what the breastfeeding culture is in Korea.

post #31 of 136

I think it can be difficult when we meet new people, hoping we have many things in common and are going to be great friends, but they they have a completely different attitude.  It can be challenging, and yet many people with vast philosophical differences manage to be friends.  I think you can still be friends with her, but it may not be what you had originally hoped.

I would have a problem with a mother who felt it was important enough to breastfeed, but didn't want to make breastfeeding appear normal by feeling like she had to hide what she was doing behind a cover.  But I would chalk it up to one of many differences, and I could still be friends with her if we had other things in common.  My daughter used to have friends next door who were LDS, and they were constantly coming over to play (without their mother, we did not become friends, we were friendly, but that was about it).  I was breastfeeding my new baby and the little girl was looking at me doing this, and was really confused.  She could see the baby up against my chest, but I had my shirt pulled down enough that she couldn't see anything else.  The little girl came over and looked really closely and asked what I was doing, and I said I was breastfeeding.  She said, "What's a breast?"  I was actually annoyed--why wouldn't a 5 year old girl know what a breast was, for heaven's sake, and if you were going to send your child over to play at the home of a new baby, wouldn't you prepare her somehow?  :lol  I told her it was the way I fed my baby, and to and ask her mother for more specifics.  I think my daughter gave her an earful later.

I used to hide other things when they came over too, like the fact that I drank coffee, and I kept correcting my children when they said, "Oh god."  But then I figured they will see these other things eventually, so I stopped worrying about it.  Later they moved to Utah.

 

Anyway, since you have a 3 year old who is nursing, it is safe to say that the 5,7 and 11 year old boys are no longer playing with him at the point that he climbs onto your lap to nurse.  So a break is already being taken.  I don't think it's a big deal to take a snack break at that point.  He has already stopped interacting with them, so they could take a break too.  

 

I think the older children get, the more they want adults to keep their bodies private.  Now I'm a big believer in changing laws so that women can walk around topless as freely as men, because I find it unthinkable that in the US, a woman could be arrested for being topless in public while a man most likely wouldn't be.  Yet I don't necessarily want to be uncovered in front of people who are completely dressed, and if I were breastfeeding in front of other adults and older children, I'd probably try and get a little privacy just for my own peace of mind.  I understand not everyone needs this, that is fine, but I do think often children want that.  My younger sister and I used to walk naked in front of our nephew until he got to an age where he basically said he didn't want to see that.  His other aunt (my youngest sister) didn't think it was a big deal, but I made a conscious effort to try and be more modest.  It was weird because of where we lived, a small apartment with the bathroom right by the living room, and we'd usually walk to our room in towels and things would show, and I didn't know my sister had come over and was sitting there when I got out, so I just had to learn to open the door and pop my head out first.

 

My kids don't want to see body parts, or don't want to be uncovered.  My 14 year old daughter wears swim shorts and shirts in the pool.  Boys her same age are completely topless.  I find this a little weird, honestly, especially when some of them have more breast tissue than she does, and I think sending the message that modesty and covering are only for one gender is wrong.  At the same time, I know many would rather not see other people in what appears to be a state of undress because it feels overly familiar and too uncomfortable.  So I think you have to chalk it up to compromise being worth it.

post #32 of 136

Maggie, I wasn't shocked by your opinions. I was shocked that you would be so harsh and critical towards someone simply for not sharing them. We don't know what events in this woman's life have led her to this reaction to nursing. Maybe she has strict religious beliefs that we don't share but are nevertheless important to her. Maybe she's had the disadvantage of a particularly rigid upbringing. Maybe some factor we can't even guess at. What right do any of have to label her with a word as dismissive and judgemental as 'prude'?

 

I think you might be missing the point of why I brought up the analogy with sex. I am not trying to get breastfeeding removed from public view in the same way that sex is, and I'm certainly not trying to claim that there are no differences between the two; I was using it as an example of the fact that teaching children “Some people don't want to watch people doing Y” doesn't have to equate to teaching them that there is anything wrong with doing Y.

 

With regard to 'dishonesty', there is a massive difference between keeping a part of your life to yourself because you want to hide it and avoid censure, and keeping a part of your life to yourself because you see it as personal. And, yes, whether you like it or not, this is another place where the analogy with sex comes in, because it's a good example of how a person's wish to keep an activity of theirs private may have no implications whatsoever concerning their honesty. Since it's obviously ludicrous to say “She's sexually active but doesn't want her children to see her having sex? That's dishonest!”, why should that same argument suddenly become valid in the case of breastfeeding?

 

(And, yes, before anyone gets silly about this, I agree with you that breastfeeding shouldn't be hidden from your children in the same way that sex is. I agree that it's a shame that this woman doesn't share this belief. My point is that her belief in this matter says nothing whatsoever about her honesty. She holds different beliefs from us about what activities should be in the private rather than the public realm, but that has nothing to do with being dishonest.)

 

I'm not claiming to know anything about what kind of an LC you are. If a woman with these views came to you for advice, chances are you would indeed deal with her and her beliefs respectfully and realise how inappropriate it would be to call her a prude. That being the case, I don't understand how you feel it's appropriate to be using a word like that about her behind her back.

 

For the record, could I also point out that this woman didn't try to tell the OP 'how to breastfeed in her own home'? She didn't make any attempt to change the OP's breastfeeding behaviour; she asked for the chance to take her children out of the room. I understand your reasons for disagreeing with her views – I disagree with them too – but, for goodness' sake, could you please stop accusing her of having said things she hasn't said?

post #33 of 136
Comparing breast feeding to sex is quite telling of how our culture sees breasts, whether we want to admit it or not. The more accurate analogy would be to imagine the OP's friend hiding under a blanket while she eats sandwiches because she didn't want her kids to see her eating sandwiches.

Considering your situation, OP, I would try and deal with her issues for the sake of your sanity and your son. Keep in mind that she is just another victim of a much larger problem.
post #34 of 136

What is the big deal here?? Seriously?? The woman didn't want her son to see her friends' breasts. So what? That is her choice. We haven't been given the reasons why, but do we really need to? She didn't tell the OP to leave or do anything different. The woman asked to be given a heads up in the future so SHE could take the action to get her kids out of the room because that is what she is comfortable with. Everyone has different comfort levels with different things. It is personal to each person. She doesn't want her sons to see breasts. OK, then. End of story. She is not obligated to give anyone a reason, and the OP or anyone else is not entitled to know why. She doesn't need to be criticized or called a prude or made fun of or whatever. Leave the poor woman alone. I'm sure she thought long and hard about how to approach the situation with the OP, and did a great job, IMO. I'm sure if she were to read this thread she'd be shocked to read some of these responses.


Edited by erinmattsmom88 - 11/23/13 at 11:53am
post #35 of 136
It's a big deal because its these kinds of underlying attitudes held by the OP's friend that have cast a shadow over breastfeeding in our culture. It has created a situation where shame of the body and sexualization of breasts have prevented babies and children from receiving the best chance at optimum health, physically and emotionally. It's a real big deal. I don't blame the OP for questioning whether she should go along with that type of thinking.
post #36 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalia View Post

It's a big deal because its these kinds of underlying attitudes held by the OP's friend that have cast a shadow over breastfeeding in our culture. It has created a situation where shame of the body and sexualization of breasts have prevented babies and children from receiving the best chance at optimum health, physically and emotionally. It's a real big deal. I don't blame the OP for questioning whether she should go along with that type of thinking.
Show me where the op's friend shamed her or sexualized her breasts in any way.
post #37 of 136
For some reason I can't make a quote. I'm not judging the OP's friend at all. Like I said, she is a victim of a much larger problem. She isn't trying to purposely shame or sexualize the OP, but her attitude is the result of that type of thinking in our society, whether she is aware of it or not.
post #38 of 136

Dalia, it really doesn't sound like the OP's friend was trying to shame her or anything like that. It sounds like she just doesn't want her sons to see another woman's breasts at this point in their lives. She is their mother. That is her wish. I don't see a problem with that at all. Who knows what the circumstances may be. And, they live in another country and they may just have different beliefs/customs/cultures than we do here. That is OK. I don't think the OP's friend could have handled the situation any better. She is not here to clarify anything so I don't think it's right to assume she holds these beliefs that she is being accused of. Maybe the OP needs to talk with her friend in depth instead of posting here asking what if or why. She needs to go to her friend if this whole situation upsets her so much. Otherwise, she needs to move on. If she feel she can't be friends with her over this then she needs to break up with her and be done with it.

post #39 of 136

I would say it's even more likely that the boys were uncomfortable and mom is trying to smooth things out as best she can.

 

I don't know what kind of crunchy zone the rest of you guys live in, but I don't know an 11 year old boy that wouldn't be uncomfortable in that situation. 

post #40 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalia View Post

It's a big deal because its these kinds of underlying attitudes held by the OP's friend that have cast a shadow over breastfeeding in our culture. It has created a situation where shame of the body and sexualization of breasts have prevented babies and children from receiving the best chance at optimum health, physically and emotionally. It's a real big deal. I don't blame the OP for questioning whether she should go along with that type of thinking.

 

I don't blame the OP either. I was objecting to the words of the poster who a) flat-out misrepresented things the woman had been saying by claiming she had said things that she hadn't, and b) came out with a word as judgemental as 'prude' to describe her.

 

Yes, these sorts of attitudes absolutely do need to be changed. However, insulting and denigrating the people who have internalised them for use in their own lives and choices is a pretty poor way to go about it.

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