Stepson shocked me - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 07-25-2007, 12:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quick background:
Abigail has been breastfeeding again since just before she turned two, when Sophia turned 8 months.
Stepson has seen Abigail nursing when she was a baby, and has seen Sophia nursing every day, but Abigail quit nursing at 8 months due to no milk as I was pregnant with Sophia.
Stepson has seen and is aware of the fact that Abigail is nursing again.

Well, I was nursing Abigail while sitting on the living room floor...
I always cover myself when nursing in front of 10 yr old stepson because he is uncomfortable about it.
....and he says
"Why are you breastfeeding Abigail, she's too big and too old!"
I said, "because she wants to and she's not too old, lots of people breastfeed babies until they're 3 or even 4 or older."
Then I asked him, "Why do you think she's too big or too old"
he said, "because she has teeth! Doesn't she bite you?"
I laughed, couldn't help it, and said "She doesn't bite me"


Should I have said anything else?
He still seemed really upset by the fact I was nursing Abigail. At a later nursing, he he commented again, "I still think she's too old"

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#2 of 6 Old 07-25-2007, 01:39 AM
 
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Depending on how old he is, he could be uncomforable just because he's at the age where some kids feel a need for modesty from a parent figure.

You could ask him gently when he says "she's too old" if he feels uncomfortable. At first glance that's what I'd assume he's saying, even if he used different words. Then you can tell him that you're sorry that he's uncomfortable, not everyone extended nurses but that it's a healthy thing to do so no one is getting hurt, and you think it's okay if he wants to go somewhere else (like to his room or read) if it makes him feel uncomfortable.

I remember when one of my childhood best friend's parents had a surprise baby when she was 12. She was already pretty horrified at the in your face reminder that her parents were having sex (gross! to her anyway), she had another little sister, but that happened when she was 6 and wasn't really thinking about that stuff. I remember her being grossed out by breastfeeding, I think just because we were in that "ugh, my parents don't do that" awkward stage. Looking back on it I think her mom handled it great. She didn't not breastfeed around us, nor did she recite a bunch of information to 'convince' my friend, I do remember her saying that she didn't think it was rude if we didn't want to look, and she didn't think it was weird if we wanted to. My friend got over it. And my friend's mama inspired me to breastfeed, I saw literally no one else doing it.
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#3 of 6 Old 07-25-2007, 01:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I posted that he's 10. We'd already established that he could leave the room, which he does on rare occassions. I don't think breastfeeding had ever bothered him and I think he's always tried to avert his gaze out of respecting my privacy, and I cover up.


The point is, my breastfeeding for the past two years has never bothered him... He was bothered by the fact that I was breastfeeding Abigail again, after having not for over a year, and he thought SHE was too old for that. He doesn't have any problem with Sophia breastfeeding. It was specifically "Abigail is too old to breastfeed"

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#4 of 6 Old 07-25-2007, 08:20 AM
 
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Moved to Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy

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#5 of 6 Old 07-25-2007, 11:53 AM
 
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This is how I explain to my kids about biting. If you put your thumb in your mouth and suck it then it is impossible to bite at the same time. It is the same with a toddler breastfeeding, if they are latched on and sucking then they can not bite. I think it is important to help them understand how the process works. My kids know that teething babies sometimes bite and they know that is an issue we work through.

I do have ten year old twin boys and they have grown up with breastfeeding and I never cover up so they don't really even notice it. I have a fifteen year old son and he is the same.

I think it is good that your stepson feels comfortable bringing up his questions with you.
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#6 of 6 Old 07-25-2007, 07:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abi's Mom View Post
The point is, my breastfeeding for the past two years has never bothered him... He was bothered by the fact that I was breastfeeding Abigail again, after having not for over a year, and he thought SHE was too old for that. He doesn't have any problem with Sophia breastfeeding. It was specifically "Abigail is too old to breastfeed"
Yes, and my point was that when he says she's "too old" he may just be expressing discomfort that doesn't have as much literally to do with breastfeeding as it does being 'different' or 'outside the norm' or a change in the status quo. So I wouldn't look at this as a he just needs more education about bfing thing (though certainly that could be part of it). Extended nursing is unusual, as all of us who've done it know. A lot of times pre-adolescent and adolescent kids start to get a little wiggy about things that they've not seen too often or that they perceive are different.

Which is why I'd just keep patiently saying that you understand he's uncomfortable with it, but it's really okay and both you and Abigail are happy with it (and that she's not taking milk away from the baby, ect.), and you're going to continue. It's okay for him to be uncomfortable, that might have a variety of reasons not even touching on breastfeeding that are completely normal. I don't think you should cater to it. But I wouldn't worry about 'converting' him either, you know? It sounds like you've already given him the facts, he might just need to make a statement every now and then until he works it out, and it sounds like you have a close enough relationship that if he needs more info he'll ask you.
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