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#1 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 3 year old is 40 lbs and 40 inches and wears 4T. Big boy.
I am self-conscious about nursing him in public, moreso around good friends/family who do not know he is still nursing (I don't care as much about what strangers think, but I have to live with reactions of people I know well).

Anyway, yesterday we were at the zoo with some friends visiting for the weekend, and while waiting for them to come out of the penguin house, ds wanted to nurse on the bench outside. I asked him if he could wait until we got home (bc I didn't want to get caught by my friends) and he saw a younger toddler nursing with his mom right next to us and said "but look! his mommy is nursing him!" I coudn't argue with that, so nursed him, and two seconds later everyone walked up. I said "he's resting" and it took him a few minutes to finish, but of course he wanted to switch sides. I distracted him with crackers.

I feel like such a bad mom!!! What kind of message am I sending my child? I didn't want to deal with the comments or reactions of friends who have two small children who did nurse, but not half as long (a year or so, which is great, but almost three years can be considered freaky by even some of the most staunch bfing advocates!)
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#2 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 04:00 PM
 
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Hey, happy birthday to your little guy! I didn't realize he turned three.

I'm probably not the best to answer your question because I don't bf dd in public. : I have only nursed her a few times in public in the last year or so and it was because she really needed it, but no one could really see anyway. I do wish I were a little more bold and was able to do it, but I'm just not. What I really wouldnt' want is to nurse her when I felt uncomfortable and not good about it because I feel that she'd pick up on that and it would make her feel bad. I like that all of our nursings are very positive, relaxed, and we both feel confident.

I do wish I was braver though.


*ETA: I just started making nursing an "at home" thing, which was pretty easy since she was busy in public. She never screamed and cried for Mai Mai or anything like that. There were just a couple of times she asked that I said, "OK, you can have Mai Mai just as soon as we get home." and it was always fine.

I'm really hoping though that Amanda (Mom2threenurslings) can come convince you to still bf in public though. :LOL
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#3 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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duh! my ds is not three - he will be three in march! I don't know why I wrote that.

I tried to persuade him to wait until we got home, but it had been a long day out with the friends and he had already waited 6 or more hours since his last nursing.

I feel a little better that I'm not the only one who wants to keep it at home most of the time at this age
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#4 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 04:46 PM
 
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You're not alone; I began encouraging my DS to wait at about that age. Sometimes they just aren't able to, though. I think it was good that you went on and nursed him. I wouldn't worry about "sending him a message" as you say, because he's not yet old enough to comprehend your mixed feelings about it. Fact is, you allowed him to nurse, which is the message that got through. He didn't want to wait and you didn't make him wait. YK?

With us, it was a gradual process of my trying to be in tune with his real needs and helping him to learn to delay gratification at times, a gradual process of learning that sometimes one has to wait to have wants met, along with the process of wants separating from needs, which I personally believe happens in the 2-4 year range. JMO. (I know that some purists would not consider that completely child-led....)

OTOH I was pretty militant about nursing him when I felt he really needed it, and to heck with everybody else's opinion. My DS1 had been a premature weaner for a lot of reasons and I had vowed that DS2 would nurse as long as he wanted to. As he got older and bigger, though, it did get a little harder, but I found strength in focusing on discerning what he needed, and whether a hug and a cuddle would do it, or if he needed to nurse. Often just that focus enabled me to "forget about" everybody else. At times, it was hard, though, particularly with friends who did not make the same choices and who sometimes seemed to feel uncomfortable with mine.
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#5 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 04:54 PM
 
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It was best for me to be up front with family and friends and I didn't care much about what strangers thought. We were able to nurse without much showing and my kids liked the sling. I was uncomfortable nursing my 3 year old when I was pregnant and showing.

If you can distract your toddler with crackers, then he must not have wanted to nurse that bad. You aren't a bad Mom.

: Grandmother , 3 Adult Sons

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#6 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 05:28 PM
 
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AdrianneWe you are a *great* mom and a *great* person. I feel quite confident stating that.

This past September I decided that I would no longer nurse DS at DD's school (K-12 homeschool supplimentation). I did all last year and I just decided "No more." Now, I would in an emergency, but I haven't yet and it is going pretty well (DS turned 3 in August, btw). While I feel some vaguely guiltlike feelings, I think the benifits I recieve from not nursing him there (btw, we are never there more than 2.5 hours, so it is virtually never an issue at this point anyway) more than make up from it. And honestly, I feel that as 2 becomes 3 and 3 becomes 4 *my* discomfort or the discomfort of others around me can be a valid reason to put off nursing at certain times and places.

Would I prefer to be surrounded by women also nursing their preschool aged children? YES. Would I prefer that my NIP did not become a "statement" as DS ages? YES. But, heck, I'd also prefer a nice 6 hour stretch of sleep and I sure as heck am not getting that :LOL You can only give what you can give. I try to give as much of me that I can, but eventually many people realize that they do have a line... perhaps one so outside societal norms that the majority of people do not even recognize it as a line, but a line none the less.

The message I think you are currently sending DS? You would prefer at this point to keep nursing private. That he is generally welcome to nurse, but at certain times you would feel more comfortable nursing. The question I have: Are *YOU* comfortable sending this message? If you are, I think perhaps you could work on your feelings of guilt. If not, working on your comfort level NIPing might be a better solution.

Either way, YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM.

And a last little message... I totally understand how you feel differently about NIPing in front of family & friends versus strangers. Many times I have felt the same way. And it all comes down to the simple fact: I DO care what my family & friends thing. I do want them to be comfortable around me. I do want them to be supportive of my choices. Meanwhile, I don't give a tiny rat's ass what most strangers thing. Very liberating.

 

 

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#7 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 05:31 PM
 
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You know me, I'm such a staunch BF advocate, but now that ds is 20 months I realized it does sometimes feel weird to NIP. My dd was weaning at this exact age, of her own volition as I was unconsciously practicing CLW and she had stopped NIP out of pure busy-ness around 14 months. I just try to relax because *so* few people *ever* NIP around here that I want someone to see me happily nursing my ds without my other boob hanging out in their face just to put out a message! :LOL

Sounds like you did okay, and I do stall my ds if there isn't a comfy place to sit because I can't stand and nurse ds for very long anymore. I'm either a wimp or it's just part of nursing an older toddler.

I was feeling a bit odd at church today... only one other baby in the church is or was breastfed and he's already weaned and they don't come regularly anyway! Holding ds off would have created a disaster tho!

And you're right, it IS harder to deal with the disapproval of family and friends... after all, strangers are just that-- strangers.
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#8 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 05:46 PM
 
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It can be hard to NIP, even for the most "militant" of us! :LOL I consider myself to be a huge bf advocate, yet we started really slowing down on NIP when ds turned 3 .... partly because he was less interested and partly because I was concerned about negative comments that he might hear. MDC is the ONLY place that I "advertise" that I'm still nursing my 5yo. It is so nice to have this forum, btw, because even here at MDC there are people that consider 5 to be "too old". In any case, I think you handled the situation beautifully, and if these people are truly friends, then they should support you in your decisions even if they differ from theirs.
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#9 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 06:12 PM
 
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aww, don't feel bad.

i don't know what i would do.

we really haven't been anywhere, where dd has insisted upon nursing. usually she's so busy she doesn't think about it when we're out.

BUT several weeks ago we were at my dh's police academy graduation and dd was intent on either running crazy through the auditorium or talking over the mayor...so i bribed her i had a suit on with a button up shirt underneath. I actually unbuttoned my shirt from the top down after opening up the jacket, lifted up my bra and nursed her. All the while sitting not very far from the mayor, the police superintendent, and the news channel, plus my husband's whole graduating class! And you know why...because she wouldn't play with the toys or eat the snacks that I'd tried to bribe her with. I was actually bribing her ahead of time by bringing in all that stuff with me. I just wanted to see the ceremony.

And you know what, nobody said a damn word. They were probably all too happy that she'd stopped the acrobatics down the stairs! :LOL

You gotta do what you can...
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#10 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 06:42 PM
 
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This is one of the things I hate about our society. You were doing the right thing for a tired little guy after an exciting day, and you feel bad...

Fwiw, i went underground around 3, because delia just did NOT have to be listening to my mom's "informed" comments--you know, "You're too big for that..what are you, a baby? boo hoo!"--directed at Del. Charming, huh? So no, in general, and as you say, around people who knew us well, I did try to get Del to hold off a bit.

But I know I nursed her on the street in Berkeley one day when she was like 31/2, tho' the girlfriend I was with was vaguely uncomfortable with it...Del needed it, I needed it. It was a long day...
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#11 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 07:46 PM
 
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First of all to you. You are not a bad mama.

You sound conflicted between your feelings of negativity associated with the negative reactions of your friends versus what you know in your heart and mind is the "right" thing to do (and the "right" way to handle the situation in regards to teaching your ds that nursing isn't something to be embarrased/negative about). This is a very difficult situation to be in. It seems that what friends and family think of you matters a lot to you ... as does what your ds thinks of nursing ... as does how you preceive your nursling relationship.

Is there some way you could resolve your feelings to find a way that works for both you and your ds? Sometimes a little perspective helps. Which is more important to you, how ds perceives your nursing relationship or what your friends/family think of you? Is there anything you can do to make yourself more comfortable with nursing in front of friends/family?

If you are simply too uncomfortable NIP, or at least in front of friends, is there a way you could deal with the situation that will keep your nursing relationship with your son in a positive light when he asks to NIP?

The way I approach NIP, including in front of friends, family, my pastor, the congregation at my church, the Emergency Room department, everyone in the grocery store, etc. (:LOL geez...I nurse everywhere!) is that it's a natural and normal thing for me and my child to be doing. Because it's natural and normal, everyone uncomfortable with it must be freaks, not me. OK, so I'm a freak, but that's beside the point! :LOL If I get strange looks or negative comments, I just smile and usually make some sort of comment about how WONDERFUL it is (oops...I typed "how wonderful tit is" at first ... it fits, though! :LOL)

OK, I shouldn't be allowed to respong to posts after a week caring for sick children, not sleeping much and being sick myself...I get a bit silly!

Anyway...I hope you find an answer that works for your and your child and is respectful to your nursing relationship.

Oh...and MamaAllNatural... :LOL

Mama to A (12), Z (11), H (9), C (5), A (3) and 4 angels. 

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#12 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 08:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by callmemama
It can be hard to NIP, even for the most "militant" of us! :LOL I consider myself to be a huge bf advocate, yet we started really slowing down on NIP when ds turned 3 .... partly because he was less interested and partly because I was concerned about negative comments that he might hear. MDC is the ONLY place that I "advertise" that I'm still nursing my 5yo. It is so nice to have this forum, btw, because even here at MDC there are people that consider 5 to be "too old". In any case, I think you handled the situation beautifully, and if these people are truly friends, then they should support you in your decisions even if they differ from theirs.

Adrianne. This is a hard issue. I started asking ds to wait around the age of 3 or so, I think dd the same thing. It's funny because I will tell anybody that ds is nursing, but we don't do it out very often. I am not shy about NIP in general, but I agree that each situation, and each child is different.

I also agree with Amanda re: finding a way for yourself yo be more comfortable "nipping"

~Joan, Happy mom to 2 beautiful kiddos, one new puppy and 2 lovely felines
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#13 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 08:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AdrianneWe
duh! my ds is not three - he will be three in march! I don't know why I wrote that.
:LOL Hmm, maybe because he's as big as a three year old? Our little one's b-day's must be close together. DD's is at the very end of Feb.

Amanda, too funny. This is the official freak forum apparently. :LOL It's just so refreshing to see these long streams of such wonderful advice.
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#14 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 09:31 PM
 
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I did not nurse Joe in public after he got to be about 3, maybe 3.5, the main reason being he was so tall & verbal & I am so short that I felt like people thought he was 6 or 7. (Not that that is a bad thing AT ALL, I just mean I did not want anyone interfering or stupidly calling CPS...) He was fine at that age if I told him, we can nurse when we get home.

One of the last times we NIP was at Denny's restaurant while waiting to be seated, & my mom (who nursed 3 kids in the 70's an average of 2 years each!) said, are you doing that HERE? That really irked me but... people are not used to seeing it.

That is one thing- if it does not bother you to NIP when your kids are older, you are doing a wonderful thing for the moms & moms to be who see a bright happy kid who is "still" nursing.
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#15 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 09:36 PM
 
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adrianne, i'll commiserate. i'm just not sure what to do in those situations where it's uncomfortable for mama but the little on wants to nurse. i just posted a similar question on the tandem nursing and clw thread. i am uncomfortable nursing my older dd over at the homes of extended family or childless friends or friends with kids who don't know we're still nursing, but i can't think of many of those. anyway, i'm in a similar situation to the zoo scenario except the other child nursing is dd2. it seems so "not fair" to not nurse dd1 when she asks, but i'm really beyond my comfort level doing that in some situations. truth is i really don't seem to enjoy nursing dd1 as much as dd2. i think that's cause dd1 has always had more stamina than me. she'll nurse, awake, for much longer (20 minutes? 30? an hour?) than i enjoy. dd2 is more of a have a little (5 minutes) then go play. i ask dd1 to wait a lot and ask her to stop a lot, too. i'm afraid our nursing relationship is not that great even though we're still nursing at almost 4. not sure what i'm asking, but just chiming in...

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#16 of 26 Old 01-02-2005, 10:29 PM
 
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Do your friends and family tend to be negative about breastfeeding an older toddler? I ask because I know the feeling, but most of the time I find the actual comments and reactions are either positive (including asking respectful questions, seemingly out of legitimate curiosity) or nil. (Put another way: If you think about it, making a negative comment would be RUDE, and fortunately most of my relatives are reasonably well-mannered.) For me, the nervous feeling has to do with the surface tension created by the realization that everyone present assumes dd is weaned. I suspect that if I nurse in front of this person, s/he is going to be surprised or even shocked, maybe uncomfortable, and it could put a damper on the conversation. But once I break the surface tension, I feel relieved. It also makes things much less awkward and confusing for others when dd starts discussing nursing extensively, including comments like, "Mommy, I love your yummy udderies!"

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#17 of 26 Old 01-03-2005, 12:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! Thanks for all of the great replies! I LOVE this new forum!

You know, most of the time I get positive/neutral responses. I'm less afraid of women's responses vs. men's, usually. And, funnily, I am sometimes even less afraid of the responses from people who have no children. I feel like bc they have no firsthand experience, how could they reasonably judge? And I'd be a good role model for them. It's the people who have nursed but weaned earlier who I find the hardest, bc everyone usually thinks that what they did is the "right" or "best" way, right? (I know I do, :LOL).

I think they knew what I was up to, and seemed very nonchalant about it, although I think the guy might have been a wee bit uncomfortable. The five year old walked right up to me to see what I was doing, but I didn't explain it to him (although he has seen his sister nurse; not sure when she weaned, but it was way before two, so he was 3 or 4 when she was nursing and probably remembers; anyway, I think he was on to us, too).

The thing is, I sit there thinking that I should just not worry about it; that I am setting a good example or sending a good message about how great and normal it is and so on; and that I should really not care or worry about what anyone thinks...

Next week we are going to be visiting family - cousins of a similar age who nursed but for only one year. Last time we were there was June; I think they did not witness nursing on that visit. I'm wondering if it will even come up during this visit. BC when we are busy he usually only nurses to sleep or to wake.




OMG!!!!

STOP THE PRESSES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My dh was just saying goodnight to me, and I asked him if he thought our friends knew I was nursing at the zoo and what their reaction might have been, and if they thought it was weird, and he said.....................


"So what? What do you care? You've known them for 20 years. They don't care."

And I said "but do you think it's weird that we're still nursing and ds is almost 3?" and he said "no... he'll stop when he's ready"







OMG OMG OMG!!!

I have the coolest dh ever
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#18 of 26 Old 01-03-2005, 01:20 AM
 
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I have the coolest dh ever
You're married to my DH?!?!?!

I'm glad you are getting some support & affirmation IRL, too.

 

 

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#19 of 26 Old 01-03-2005, 12:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AdrianneWe
My dh was just saying goodnight to me, and I asked him if he thought our friends knew I was nursing at the zoo and what their reaction might have been, and if they thought it was weird, and he said.....................


"So what? What do you care? You've known them for 20 years. They don't care."

And I said "but do you think it's weird that we're still nursing and ds is almost 3?" and he said "no... he'll stop when he's ready"
How cool is that?
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#20 of 26 Old 01-03-2005, 05:30 PM
 
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What a wonderful, supportive dh, AdrianneWe!

I just happen to be married to the son of a La Leche League Leader ... talk about getting breastfeeding support! :LOL

Mama to A (12), Z (11), H (9), C (5), A (3) and 4 angels. 

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#21 of 26 Old 01-03-2005, 08:46 PM
 
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whoo-hoo! way to go AdrianneWe's dh!

as far as the PP who asked about friend's and family being negative about breastfeeding, in my case, no, not really, but i'm with AdrianneWe on some of them did things differently and presumably thought that was the right way to do things, so my ASSumption is that they would feel uncomfortable and maybe think judgmental thoughts :LOL about us if we were to nurse in front of them. probably some things i need to work through myself...

hoorat again for adrianneWe's DH!

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#22 of 26 Old 01-04-2005, 02:46 PM
 
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"Sending a message" -- such as that a 2 1/2 year old can wait to nurse so that Mama enjoys it, too-- is an important lesson for him to learn. I believe that by this age it is important for the nursing relationship to be a two-way street.
I also agree that real friends don't think much about your choice-- its part of who u are.
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#23 of 26 Old 01-04-2005, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"Sending a message" -- such as that a 2 1/2 year old can wait to nurse so that Mama enjoys it, too-- is an important lesson for him to learn.
I agree with you. What bothers me is that I might be sending him a message that might make him feel self-conscious, or think that he should be ashamed, etc.

A couple of weeks ago we went to our LLL meeting - we haven't been in a long while but I wanted to get back into it for a variety of reasons - and he seemed so elated to be in a room full of nurslings. He nursed a lot at that meeting.

I think he knows that when he's out on a playdate or at preschool or at a restaurant that it's just not gonna happen and he doesn't even ask. But he usually doesn't go for more than a few hours, and the zoo day was a very long, busy day, and he really did need it at that point. I was having the problem where I was ashamed or embarrassed, and I didn't want to send that message to him.
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#24 of 26 Old 01-04-2005, 08:46 PM
 
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A couple of weeks ago we went to our LLL meeting - we haven't been in a long while but I wanted to get back into it for a variety of reasons - and he seemed so elated to be in a room full of nurslings. He nursed a lot at that meeting.
When DD was three she *LOVED* LLL meetings--- there was always someone I trusted to hold DS and she could nurse as much as she wanted.

 

 

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#25 of 26 Old 01-05-2005, 12:23 AM
 
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Adrianne, I'm chiming in late but just wanted to offer my support. That's wonderful that your dh is supportive. And good for you for still nursing your ds anyway.

I agree that it's a shame we have to feel self-conscious about NIP. If people saw it more often, then it would be seen as just as normal as hugging your child in public.

I admire those who are able to NIP without batting an eye. I wasn't as brave, unfortunately, and asked dd to wait if we were somewhere that would have made me feel uncomfortable. I don't think there is anything wrong with a mother for having that feeling, given the society we live in....it is society who is wrong for making us feel that way. I do think it is very important that the child know that there is nothing wrong with wanting to nurse while out, and that it is not he (or nursing) who is making you uncomfortable.

I think that we are more self-conscious and wary than necessary though. (That is easy to say in retrospect.) Most people probably wouldn't say or do anything (though I'm sure it depends on where you live, right?).
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#26 of 26 Old 01-05-2005, 12:29 AM
 
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My son will be three on the 29th of March. I just cut out the NIP. I did not want to feel uncomfortable(I wish I wasn't but) nor make my son uncomfortable (by having him be under my shirt and not moving around). If he asked I tell him once we are home I will nur you. If we aren't close to home I will nur him in the car.
kimmysue2 is offline  
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