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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I cannot bring myself to nurse in public. And it's hampering my social life with my DS who is only 4 months old and still feeding about every 3 hours. I have to plan our outings around his feedings or bring him a bottle of expressed breastmilk when I would love nothing more than to just pop him on the breast like he was meant to.<br><br>
I sometimes even have trouble feeding him in front of female family members! It's pretty ridiculous. And it's all because of my own hang ups.<br><br>
Anyone else feel like this?
 

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i thought i'd have problems with nursing in public w/ my first son, but when i tried to find an appropriate place when he was wailing from being hungry, i just fed him where i happened to be. i try to make sure i'm in an area where i'm not in the middle of anything going on. now, since i have my 2nd son, nothing phases me now!! just today, went to gibraltar trade center and fed my 6 week old in a booth in the food court and at the salvation army, i just walked around nursing him throughout the store. it does help to have nursing tops so that way you aren't flashing anyone.
 

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Diana, so sorry your struggling. What is it that is bothering you? Is it fear of flashing? Or just the whole thought that everyone around you is looking at you knowing that your babe is sucking at your breast? I understand those thoughts, but I just pushed through and did it. Now I'm fine anywhere. I do try and find more quiet less trafficy places.
 

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I'm sorry you're having trouble NIP. What's making you uncomfortable about it?<br><br>
I thought I was going to feel odd about it with DD #2 but I had to tell myself ITS NATURAL and push the thoughts of anything else out of my head. Society has us thinking there's a problem with NIP when its SOCIETIES problem.
 

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I developed a total reluctance to NIP around baby 3 or 4... I was a real gung-ho lactivist with baby 1 and 2 and sometimes even made a point to NIP! I really don't know what happened, but I just became very self-conscious and hated having people look at me, and I started covering up and hiding more and more.<br><br>
Can you still go out but nurse in bathroom stalls (please no flames)? Or find a quiet corner somewhere to nurse? I nursed a lot in corners of bookstores, or at the grocery store sat on the floor between my cart and the shelves, plus a light blanket over me. Would a light blanket help around your female relatives? Loose shirts are great too.<br><br>
Please no flames from super-NIP mamas, I just didn't have it in me anymore. Not sure what changed <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch">.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It's the thought that everyone around me is looking at me while my son is sucking at my breast. Particularly men. I have even tried BF with a light blanket over my shoulder, but still to no avail. It makes me uncomfortable and my babe senses it and gets frustrated too.<br><br>
I guess I just have to keep at it, and hopefully 'get used to it'.<br><br>
ETA: I've thought of bathroom stalls, but I dont find that sanitary. I'd rather just bring him a bottle of BM and a thermos of hot water to warm it up.
 

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I had a few hang ups at first about NIP but I quickly realized that NO ONE could see anything while my DD was nursing. The normal assumption was that she was sleeping in my arms. The ONLY time it was noticeable was when I was out w/my SIL at the Children's Museum and she insisted on putting a light blanket in front of me while I latched my daughter in the dinosaur dig area because "other children's parents might be offended" :eyeroll:<br><br>
You'll be fine, I promise. My DD's almost 6m old and we NIP like old pros.
 

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Hi Diana,<br><br>
When I first breastfed my son in public, I felt like I was on stage and everyone was watching me. It was so intimidating! I thought, I can't just reach in my shirt and unsnap my bra right here in front of everyone! What if they see me?<br><br>
But when I did it, nothing happened. And so I did it again, and again, and still nothing happened.<br><br>
And now, I couldn't summon up that jazzed-nervous feeling if I tried.
 

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nak<br><br>
Have you ever tried nursing in front of a mirror? That would let you "practice" making sure that you aren't exposing yourself. If you do it without saying anything I can guarantee no one will notice. (my FIL never does)<br><br>
That said, I do know someone who never used bottles, but never NIP either. She nursed in her car a lot and didn't go out for long. She nursed for 14 months. So if it's really bothering you, it is possible.
 

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Nursing tops - or better, nursing tanks under your sweater/shirt can help with the "flashing" worries. Other that that, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. Really. I am kind of shocked to look back and realize I was like you at the beginning - I nursed in a bathroom a few times, for goodness sake! I look back at that now and can't believe that was me. My son is now 26 months old and still a very very avid nurser (sounds like he nurses more than your 4mo!), and I've gotten so used to it I can't believe I ever "hid". If there is any way you can "make" yourself get out there and nurse, you will get used to it...you will realize no one is looking (rarely anyways), and in fact most of the time people don't even realize what you are doing.<br>
You might start (as I did) by nursing in very nursing-friendly situations - an LLL meeting would be a fantastically easy start. Move on from that to playgroups/mothers groups where maybe not everyone nurses but all are new-ish moms; move from that to the children's section of the library...bit by bit, get yourself accustomed, and before you know it you'll be nursing on a bench on a busy downtown street while chatting about the weather with a stranger! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> ( I recently nursed on a bench at Ikea, right in front of the huge bank of cash registers, with a 60ish man sitting next to me talking about his wife shopping at Ikea).
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>meowee</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10724611"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I developed a total reluctance to NIP around baby 3 or 4... I was a real gung-ho lactivist with baby 1 and 2 and sometimes even made a point to NIP! I really don't know what happened, but I just became very self-conscious and hated having people look at me, and I started covering up and hiding more and more.<br><br>
Can you still go out but nurse in bathroom stalls (please no flames)? Or find a quiet corner somewhere to nurse? I nursed a lot in corners of bookstores, or at the grocery store sat on the floor between my cart and the shelves, plus a light blanket over me. Would a light blanket help around your female relatives? Loose shirts are great too.<br><br>
Please no flames from super-NIP mamas, I just didn't have it in me anymore. Not sure what changed <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch">.</div>
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Funny that. I've been the SAME way -- this is #3 for me. He's 4 mos and I just decided that I need a quiet place to nurse, he needs a quiet place to nurse, and that's ok with us. If I can't manage a quiet place (and sometimes I just can't), then I cover with a blanket. I felt this way during my pregnancy w/ him, too. I just needed to hide, to protect him, to protect me. Strange because I used to be very outspoken about everything we did: nursing, no vax, no circ, homebirth, you name it.<br><br>
Oh, because of my need to protect him and myself, I ended up planning a UP/UC from wk 32 on. Best decision I could have made for us, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you for all the suggestions.<br>
It's nice knowing that I'm not the only one who's had/having these feelings.<br><br>
I just hope that I'm more comfortable by the time the nice weather rolls around, I want to spend the summer outdoors and not hiding in stalls or at home.
 

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I know it's maybe not the most popular idea around here, but I think it's ok for openly nursing in public to just not be for everyone -- for a lot of women it's natural to feel uncomfortable exposing themselves in any way publicly, even for good cause, and I think it makes the situation worse to focus on that feeling as a "hang-up." I think with body consciousness it's important to, while recognising that they can change, honor our comfort zones.<br><br>
Have you considered buying a <a href="http://www.nursingcovers.com/" target="_blank">nursing cover-up</a>? I've not looked at them extensively myself, but I know some are made to cover while still allowing eye-to-eye contact with the baby, and all are likely to feel more secure than an improvised blanket thrown over yourselves.
 

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I totally understand the concern about being watched, especially by men. Having survived sexual abuse and harassment as a child, I'm very nervous of getting any attention at all that feels wrong. I know that it'll take a whole lot of confidence and lactivist-determination to help me NIP later this year. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Another idea - Do you have a local LLL meeting you could attend? I know that some women use that as their first NIP experience where they know it's supportive -- and also great just being around other nursing mom's too. They use that as a baby step to another event, such as out with coffee with another mom or someone supportive.
 

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I was really really nervous about NIPing when DS was born. We had problems with his latch for the first 8 weeks or so, and I was always fumbling with the nipple shield and it sometimes took several tries to get him on there. And he would get frustrated and fussy, drawing more attention to us. I was really self-conscious of people seeing that I was a "bad" breastfeeder, and of my breast being out in the open for that long while I got him settled. So because I was worried about my breast being exposed, I would try to cover with a blanket, which made things way more complicated trying to hold him, get the nipple shield on and get it to stay in place (trying to hide the fact that I was using a nipple shield at all, I don't know why), while holding the blanket in place, barely being able to see what I was doing.<br><br>
I was also really afraid of making other people uncomfortable. I wouldn't even nurse in my own home without a blanket if our male roommate was home or if friends or family were around.<br><br>
He is almost 3 months old now, and I am starting to get more and more comfortable with it. I never cover anymore, because I realized that nothing really showed anyways, and it would just make DS frustrated. I nursed in a grocery store and Sears on the same day without covering, even having my conservative FIL with me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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i nurse my son in the car all the time...for me its just easier to relax and my son doesn't get distracted and pop off. if i'm going somewhere i just nurse him in the car before i go in and when i get out.
 

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Nah, I have no problem nursing anywhere. If anyone were to look at me I'd give them a nice little fiery glance back, lol. Besides, I've perfected the art of breastfeeding with a blanket over my shoulder so no one could see anything even if they wanted to. I feel that the more women breastfeed in public the better it is and I want to set an example for all women out there that it's preferable to breastfeed rather than bottle feed. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>meowee</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10724611"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I developed a total reluctance to NIP around baby 3 or 4... I was a real gung-ho lactivist with baby 1 and 2 and sometimes even made a point to NIP! I really don't know what happened, but I just became very self-conscious and hated having people look at me, and I started covering up and hiding more and more.<br><br>
Can you still go out but nurse in bathroom stalls (please no flames)? Or find a quiet corner somewhere to nurse? I nursed a lot in corners of bookstores, or at the grocery store sat on the floor between my cart and the shelves, plus a light blanket over me. Would a light blanket help around your female relatives? Loose shirts are great too.<br><br>
Please no flames from super-NIP mamas, I just didn't have it in me anymore. Not sure what changed <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch">.</div>
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I find myself in dressing rooms and/or my car alot. I have NIPed but often find there is a lack of comfortable places (both in terms of lack of seating and in seating that is not in a high traffic area which is too distracting for dd). I understand how the op feels... for some reason I have had a hard time getting comfortable NIPping this time, but also like pp...I generally plow thru. I do bring EBM when I go the kids school though because I don't want to deal with confrontation in that setting.
 

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I have been nursing DS in the car so far. Mostly because it's winter and I can crank the heat up, strip off my various layers and his various layers and get comfortable. Once it's a bit warmer out and we're both wearing less clothing I think it will be less of a hassle when we're out and about.<br><br>
Try nursing in front of a mirror or having DH take a picture while you're nursing. You really can't see much.
 

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Diana, do what works best for you and your babe. If you feel too strange in public there is nothing wrong with EBM in a bottle or nursing in your car if you feel comfortable there. Forget what others think or do and do what is best for you two. Your babe can sense when you are tense or just not feeling good about a situation. I agree with pp that we want breastfeeding to become the norm in public, but you, Diana, don't have to be the role model. Others can be the lactivists.<br>
Now that I am off my soapbox, if you want to NIP then get all the right equipment to help you feel more comfortable. Get some nursing tops, tanks to go under tops, a nursing cover (I like mine, it was easier than a blanket at first). Now I can use a blanket, too. I thought a button up top would be good, but found out the hard way it's not easy. Especially when the babe starts squirming, it's too hard to button yourself up one-handed.<br>
I like the pp suggestion to start in a friendly environment like LLL. Take baby steps.<br>
You decide if you want to NIP or NOT and then don't feel the least bit bad about your choice. The important thing is that you are breastfeeding...where you do it is up to you.
 
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