Preparing DSD for my breastfeeding (x-posted in blended and step-family parenting) - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 13 Old 05-03-2008, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay so I am 36 weeks pregnant and my partner's 6 year-old daughter is getting pretty excited about helping out the baby when it gets here. It's pretty sweet actually.
Today she told me that when she was at her mom's house (we only have her every other weekend) she was "practicing for the baby" and her mom was showing her how to give a baby a bottle.
I told her "well I'm going to be feeding the baby from my breast, not from a bottle." She looked thoroughly confused and said "How??"
So I eagerly got out a breastfeeding book so that I could give her her first glimpse in to the world of BFing. I've been looking forward to this because I know she will be around for me nursing and I know that her mom didn't breastfeed for even one day because she "thought it was weird."
Anyway so I showed her a nice picture of a lovely baby BFing and I was horrified by her reaction. She said "EWWWWW! Her teta is out!!!! Gross!!!" and I said "No, it's not gross out all, it's the normal way that babies are fed. That's why women have breasts- so that they can feed milk to their babies."
And she said "but that's disgusting! Her tetas are so dirty! the milk will be dirty! That's gross!"



I was floored. I tried again to reason with her but I was so upset that I had to just let it go. Does anyone have advice for how I could re-address this issue with her? She is going to have to get used to it once the baby is born and I am going to go nuts if she makes any more derisive comments. I know that I should just feel patient but I just want to scream!

(Plus, I don't want to go overboard explaining to her why BFing is so great, to the point that she feels like her mom did the wrong thing for her... )
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#2 of 13 Old 05-03-2008, 10:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MeloMama08 View Post
She said "EWWWWW! Her teta is out!!!! Gross!!!" and I said "No, it's not gross out all, it's the normal way that babies are fed. That's why women have breasts- so that they can feed milk to their babies."
And she said "but that's disgusting! Her tetas are so dirty! the milk will be dirty! That's gross!"
I'm just sad that such a little girl has already gotten the message from the world around her that breasts are "dirty". She is so young she doesn't even realise the difference between dirty=obscene and dirty=not clean

Hopefully the example you will set will help her to get past that.

nothing more to say I guess :
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#3 of 13 Old 05-03-2008, 10:22 PM
 
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wow im so sorry
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#4 of 13 Old 05-03-2008, 10:51 PM
 
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I am so sorry she reacted that way!! That is awful to think that is what she has been taught about a woman's body. My step-daughters have baby dolls with bottles but when i started bf'ing their baby sis they started trying to nurse their dolls. I reccomend leaving your bf'ing books where she can see them without forcing the issue on her. if she seems interested and asks a question then answer it in the simplest way possible. ie.. i make the milk to feed the baby.. the doctor says it is best for the baby.. the doctor says it is clean (or something like that). That's all i can think of. coming from a third party might make her believe you. or seeing your books might help her to realize that people do do this all the time. let her see you reading them. if she asks why you are reading them just say that you want to do it right. in the end you are the one who makes the decision to nurse your baby. if she doesnt want to talk about it now maybe she will when she sees you doing it. if not.. dont make an argument about it. as a matter of fact you dont need to make her understand at all. tell her she can have her own opinion if she wants to and i can have mine, and my opinion is that it is not dirty, it is beautiful. the opinion line works on my kids. i accept their opinion as theirs and they accept mine as mine.

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#5 of 13 Old 05-03-2008, 10:51 PM
 
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I am so sorry she reacted that way!! That is awful to think that is what she has been taught about a woman's body. My step-daughters have baby dolls with bottles but when i started bf'ing their baby sis they started trying to nurse their dolls. I reccomend leaving your bf'ing books where she can see them without forcing the issue on her. if she seems interested and asks a question then answer it in the simplest way possible. ie.. i make the milk to feed the baby.. the doctor says it is best for the baby.. the doctor says it is clean (or something like that). That's all i can think of. coming from a third party might make her believe you. or seeing your books might help her to realize that people do do this all the time. let her see you reading them. if she asks why you are reading them just say that you want to do it right. in the end you are the one who makes the decision to nurse your baby. if she doesnt want to talk about it now maybe she will when she sees you doing it. if not.. dont make an argument about it. as a matter of fact you dont need to make her understand at all. tell her she can have her own opinion if she wants to and i can have mine, and my opinion is that it is not dirty, it is beautiful. the opinion line works on my step kids. i accept their opinion as theirs and they accept mine as mine.

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#6 of 13 Old 05-03-2008, 11:00 PM
 
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I wouldn't spend a lot of time over explaining it with her. YOu can't debate w/a 6 year old, and there's no "winners" if you try. Just lead through example and it will slowly become the "norm" for her. I can remember my niece asking all sorts of crazy questions (she was 6 when my dd was born) about why I didn't use bottles. I just answered them in very simple terms. Dh's family isn't very bfing friendly in general so I figured so long as I acted like it was the most normal thing...never hid...never brought a bottle to family functions..that she'd eventually feel the same way. You know what? Now 4 years later his whole family has done a 360 degree turn around w/bfing.
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#7 of 13 Old 05-04-2008, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Calidris View Post
I'm just sad that such a little girl has already gotten the message from the world around her that breasts are "dirty". She is so young she doesn't even realise the difference between dirty=obscene and dirty=not clean

Hopefully the example you will set will help her to get past that.
Thanks for the support. Yes, this is precisely why I was so horrified. I was expecting for her to think it was a little weird, having never been exposed to the idea, but hearing her should about how "dirty" breasts are was really upsetting to me. I really want to help her have a positive body image and a deep respect for women and I feel like it is already an uphill battle

Thanks for your input everybody. Superbeanie, you are right that if I just treat it casually, it will eventually become normal to her. And you're right about leaving it as an "opinion." I usually try a little too hard to convince people that I'm right... And a 6 year old is not a person to try to reason with.

Shanti1, That is so awesome that your DHs family came around to BFing!!!
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#8 of 13 Old 05-04-2008, 02:57 PM
 
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I came over here because of the human cheese youtube video (LOL) but didn't find anything about that. I thought I might respond to your comment.

Although I breastfed my daughters, they are asking to play with bottles. I am not going to deny them to play with them, as they may play with them somewhere else. My girls are 7. I think at this age, more than truely being disgusted, you step daughter was shocked. She probably felt embarrassed for being shocked, which caused her to make those extreme comments. And with her mother making the same comments, she doesn't have any experience with talking about breastfeeding. I think you should give it some more time, and I think once she has experience in talking about breast and breastmilk (by listening to you) she will respond in a much more positive way. Dont' forget, she may have had visions of bottle feeding in her head, as in she would get the chance to bottle feed, aka hold the baby.

I agreed with you about letting it go, since you couldn't really win her support by arguing that way.
Just breastfeed, and she will understand. I think that we are all wired to understand intellectually, and once she has a real experience to call on, it will be natural to her. You may save her life one day, since breastfeeding reduces the chance of getting cancer.

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#9 of 13 Old 05-04-2008, 04:05 PM
 
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Oh my!! only 6 and already seeing the world through 'those' eyes when I was pregnant my (then) 6 yr old's teacher told her all about how the baby will drink formula and such.. she came home and asked me and I told her "no way! our baby's gonna drink mama-milk." It took a couple days of discussing how healthy breastmilk is and how some mom's choose to use formula instead, but we won't. I was really surprised too because she knew that she was bf as well as her sister. society has a way of poisening developing minds though...

anyway, I second the idea of leaving the books out for her. also, do you have any friends who nurse or a breastfeeding support group that you could take her to? and try asking her why she thinks that 'tetas' are dirty.. maybe talk to her mom and she could help you out? I'm sorry that this popped up. lame, but could be an awesome learning experience...

good luck!

sara

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#10 of 13 Old 05-04-2008, 05:20 PM
 
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I think you can "re-program" your DSD fairly easily. Keep the dialogue open with her and bring some normalcy about the whole thing into HER dialogue. I have some books that I read to my toddlers and both of them show a woman breastfeeding her baby. Even my almost 3yo knows what "milky" is even though he doesn't nurse (but he does remember his 21mo brother nursing, that and I don't wear a shirt all the time at home) Anyway, the books are:

The New Baby by Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers rocks )
Baby On The Way by William and Martha Sears

I think the Sears book would be excellent for your DSD. Read it to her often and get her "used" to the idea that babies drink milk from mommy's breasts.

I'm so sorry about her reaction. That is truly sad. But how wonderful is it that YOU get to be the one who changes her mind about the whole thing and be a positive female influence in her life!
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#11 of 13 Old 05-05-2008, 06:20 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Dont' forget, she may have had visions of bottle feeding in her head, as in she would get the chance to bottle feed, aka hold the baby.
.[/QUOTE]

i forgot about that point. she wants to be involved. tell her like i told my dh.. you dont have to feed the baby to be involved with the baby. my dsd's like to help keep dd occupied and make her smile. like when i am "trying" to change dd's cd and she is squirming they find toys for her or make silly faces at her. they get me diapers (kinda.. i have to put it all back together) wipes etc. at first they wanted to feed her too but i explained to them that only i do that because i use my breast and i cant hand it to anybody:> I let them hold her (supervised) etc. now that she is older they have even more to help me with and they being counted on. hth.

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#12 of 13 Old 05-05-2008, 09:38 PM
 
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I second the idea of taking her to a LLL meeting so she will see other mommies breastfeeding, too.
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#13 of 13 Old 05-05-2008, 10:44 PM
 
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Sounds like everyone has great advice for you. The only thing that I think I might do, and only if the word dirty comes up again, is look confused and calmly explain that as long as i shower/bathed breasts are clean. Just so she knows that they are not dirty, in the physical sense or otherwise. I am sure that it will be fine. Good luck to you!~

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