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Nursing around family

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
As much as I don't want to have to ask this, how can I help my family (ILs and my own) to be comfortable around me when I'm nursing LO? Last week I cleared the room when I started to nurse WITH a shawl on. I know I wasn't exposed, but all of a sudden I was alone in my own living room. This happened with my brother and FSIL, and again with DH's family. It sucks. Any advice?
post #2 of 11
The only thing I can think of is to just keep doing it lol. Kind of desensitize them. I know when I had my first baby my brother, dad and grandpa were a little uncomfortable around me nursing. Now I'm nursing my second, a toddler, and they think nothing of it. Could it be a cultural thing? According to my grandpa who was from the South nursing was 'women's business' when he was a child. So Therefore the men folk should leave as a sign of respect for the mother. I hope you find a solution that works for all of you.
Edited by Bruebee - 10/12/13 at 6:11pm
post #3 of 11
I don't have experience with this really, and it all depends on your family relationships, but why don't you talk to some central, sympathetic figures, like maybe the women who've had kids of their own? They can then explain and you can go from there!

I may well be a sort of deference which will stop once you let then know you don't need it. Personally? I needed it until I got comfy with BFing.
post #4 of 11
I think just keep doing it too. I noticed that, when my first LO was born, my dad and brother (to a lesser degree) would suddenly find something very interesting on the other side of the room. Now, 3.5years and another baby later and they'll look over my shoulder to chat to the feeding baby lol.gif
post #5 of 11
Agree w/PPs about just continuing to do your thing. Maybe joke about it a bit, like "hey! I'm getting lonely in here! Where'd everybody go?" The first time around, I remember feeling that I wanted to verbalize to everyone that I didn't need privacy to nurse and they could stick around, breastfeeding is normal, I'm not shy, but I'm being modest/discreet, yadayada.
I think just being relaxed and acting like yourself and "no big deal" communicates all of the above without engaging folks who might feel on the spot.

I'm on baby 2 now and my dad will sit right next to me to talk while she's nursing (but w/#1, he'd leave the area). My FIL and uncles will still go to the other side of the room but I'm not around them so much. Most of my friends' husbands are just used to us all whipping out a breast whenever and will continue conversing while breastfeeding happens.
post #6 of 11
I'd also simply keep doing it.
Ive had an odd experience with my in laws though. I nursed my first until she turned 2 when she stopped due to my pregnancy but she only nursed at nap and bedtime from about 20 or 22 months on. I can't tell you how many times I nursed at my MIL's house, completely comfortably and confidently. It was a nonissue, I whipped it out when kiddo needed it. Fast forward to this July (9 days before baby #2's due date!) when out of the blue, my MIL told DH that *someone* was uncomfortable seeing me nurse and that at their house I'd have to either a) cover up or b) leave the room. I was floored and very hurt. It honestly changed our relationship. I do NOT cover up. Ever. I believe that nursing is the normal, healthy way to feed a baby/young child and that it's entirely innocent, natural and beautiful. I nurse anywhere and everywhere to normalize it so by the time my girls grow up, they won't have to deal with this nonsense. To be respectful of another family under their own roof, we leave the room. That means hauling baby, myself (and while we were having thrush related latch issues, the breast pump) upstairs. DH has been amazing and coming with us. DD1 usually follows too. So a 3 hour visit with an often nursing newborn turns into 30-45 minutes spent with the grandparents and the rest of the time we are segregated because they don't want to see their grand baby eat or be comforted. *Shrug* I don't get it. They barely see the kids now even if we visit often. Sorry I hijacked the thread but this is really stuck in my craw. My kids' needs come first and anyone's discomfort is their problem. Go with what works for you and reasonable people will adapt because really; it simply shouldn't be such a big deal. Hugs
post #7 of 11
Could you nurse without the shawl? I've always found those 'nursing cover' things to be an announcement of your activities. Even after nursing 2 kids for 3 and 5 years each, I find myself a little uncomforatable when other women break those out---not exactly sure why. Anyway, when mine were babeis, I frequently wore a button down shirt with a tank top underneath. I always carried a small receiving blanket to cover baby's head. I'd usually leave the room or turn around briefly while they latch on, and then return with them nursing. Most people (read....men), never had any idea I was feeding the baby. I nursed them in church, malls, and around extended family this way. smile.gif

For some reason, wearing 'normal' clothes without a nursing shawl made it feel more normal for me, and hopefully more normal for those around me.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by KSLaura View Post

Could you nurse without the shawl? I've always found those 'nursing cover' things to be an announcement of your activities.


It was literally just a shawl - not a special nursing cover.  Although covers are kind of the norm in my area, so it won't be too big of a deal.


The first time it was my little brother and his GF (who is pregnant too, so I was doubly confused) who weren't around when I was nursing DD.  I seriously looked up and they were all hanging out in the garage.


This last time it was my FIL and then my MIL and SIL.  I shouldn't complain too much, MIL and SIL did take that opportunity to clean my entire kitchen. 

post #9 of 11
Are they not used to an 'older' baby nursing? I noticed a lot of people weren't so supportive after the 1st 6 months or so. greensad.gif

My other suggestion would be to possibly follow them into the other room with nursing baby in tow(works well with a sling). Eventually, they'll get the hint! :-)
post #10 of 11

Try the direct approach to see if it works. "Oh, hey guys, could you not leave while I'm nursing? I feel pretty segregated."


If they say it makes them feel uncomfortable, say, "Oh, I see. Well, surely you can try to get over it for my sake? I do love visiting with you and it's lonely being a new mom."

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
I think I'll try the direct approach with my brother this week. I can be pretty blunt with him, so it'll be good practice.
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