Mothering Forum banner

told to nurse in a bathroom!

1110 Views 24 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  Viola
Hi mamas,

How do you handle a very close friend who is disgusted by nursing? (especially when you consider yourself somewhat of a "lactavist" I'm even working on becoming a La Leche leader in my town) I'm actually having a converstation via Instant message now and she was saying how it disgusting when woman nurse in public and they should have be respectful of others and at least go in a bathroom. I said, well if a mom ever said that to me I'd tell her to go eat HER food in the bathroom or feed HER baby her bottle in a bathroom... Anyway, I don't nurse around her anymore which makes it VERY difficult with a newborn who nurses every hour (will be there in 3 months when this one is born...). I am very proud that I am a nursing mother! I am proud that I nurse my 2 year old and will be tandem nursing in a few months. She gives her children formula and I would never tell her my opinions on that because every mother is entitled to do what they feel is best for their children (plus, it wouldn't matter anyway because she thinks breastfeeding is gross). I've said that it's THE most natural thing in the world and I was hoping to get some nursing pics of my and Savannah since I don't have any of my nursing my other kids and she said that was gross and asked why on earth I would want that! And asked if I would take pictures of sex? I was shocked and wrote that breastfeeding has NOTHING to do with sex. How could someone think that???

OK, I guess I'm not actually asking a question but more having a little rant. It's hard when you have such a close friend who is so against my way of life. If I even talk about nursing my almost 2 year old she has to leave the room
And I wouldn't dear nurse Sam in front of her now, even when he asks
When he was a newborn I never thought twice of nursing him in front of anyone- she asked if I wouldn't nurse in front of her kids because she didn't want to have "that converstation" with them yet. In MY own house!!!! I'm a very strong person and VERY proud that I am a breastfeeding mom. I had a hard start with my twins and have overcome breastfeeding problems to exclusevely nurse my last until he was about a year (and I'm still nursing him). I nurse in public a lot almost to make a public statement
(especially at mainstream playgroups....) I guess it just bothers me that a close friend is so against something I think is so beautiful.....

Ok, rant over- thanks for listening
I'm going to go and call my hubby at work and tell him my rant because I love hearing his support of breastfeeding. He's my biggest supporter and although writing this helped a little (you know how it sometimes helps to write stuff down???) maybe I'll feel better when I hear him tell me how beautiful it is
Thank goodness I have such a great breastfeeding community of friends where I live because they'll be hearing about this at our next LL meeting
See less See more
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Honestly, with a friend that has opinions that different on such a strong topic, I would probably limit contact.

Congrats on your new baby.
I feel for you. Why are we the only mammals who deny our young? Amazing.

Does she hate her body? Is she squeamish about her childrens' bodily fluids? Is it just the delivery method or is it the bodily fluid thing? Does she honestly think that feeding her child ramen noodles, pop tarts, and a flintstone vitamin is the same as a fresh, no preparation organic meal? Okay, I'm getting carried away...
That's awful! I'm sorry that your friend feels that way. As LLL says, gently educate, without emotion. It's all you can do, really.
See less See more
I have a friend who was always making comments about how gross breastfeeding is. I let her make the comments but I did nothing to try and hide nursing from her. We even spemt a weekend in a hotel room at one point and I had to pump. I pumped right there in front of her on the bed. She would look and say "Yuck" but that was about it. She knew how important it was to me and basically respected that. Her comments I took in stride because we no that no harm is really meant between us.

I would never accomedate someone else's discomfort of nursing in my own home.

Sounds like your friend needs to have more respect for your choices as you do for hers. I'd tell her so.
but if I were you, I'd be re-defining my idea of a 'close friend'. Seriously. To ask you not to nurse in your own home, as not to make her kids uncomfortable?! Think long and hard about this; by refusing to nurse your 2 year old in front of her because of how she feels about it, you are putting her needs before your child's. Is she worth that?
Best of luck resolving this difficult situation, mama.
I'm sorry you're going through this. That sucks. I have to agree w/ the ladies that have said you need to reevaluate this friendship. At the very least, you need to sit down and have a conversation w/ her. Tell her you respect her right to make her own parenting choices and to have opinions, and you want her to do the same for you. Tell her she really needs to keep her hurtful comments to herself. She has NO right to ask you not to nurse ANYWHERE. If she doesn't like it, SHE needs to remove herself from the vicinity. That may sound harsh, but that is what needs to be done, IMO. She is NOT showing you any respect by making nasty comments and insisting you not NIP in front of her.
Sorry, but ITA that you need to rethink your definition of a close friend. I'm really lucky that all of my friends nurse their babes and I have never been confronted for NIP. I have actually had a few ppl come to tell me how great it is that I was nursing my son. My point is, if total strangers can support me then don't you think that your close friend she at least not bash you? Kudos to your DH btw
That's fantastic!
See less See more
I would breastfeed in front of her and I would breastfeed in front of her children, without apology. I would make it clear that to do otherwise would be completely unreasonable.

Originally Posted by sbf
I would breastfeed in front of her and I would breastfeed in front of her children, without apology. I would make it clear that to do otherwise would be completely unreasonable.

I totally agree. To accommodate someone else's perception that you should behave as thought breastfeeding is a shameful activity is just icky.

Furthermore, somebody should have "that conversation" with her children so that they have some exposure to breastfeeding as normal, healthy, etc. If she won't do it, why not you?
If they see you nurse and have questions, it's a lovely opportunity for you to answer simply that mamas make milk for their babies, and this is how babies eat.
See less See more
Hi All,

Thanks for your responses. This is such a tough one and still bothering me in the morning.... I didn't sleep well all night because of it

I didn't say in my post that in my own house I didn't leave the room (it's MY house!) but I told her if she's uncomfortable she could have her children go in another room. From then on she told them to leave the room. I don't know if her children asked what my daughter was doing with her baby dolls whenever she put them to her chest to feed them

Anyway, this is a friend I knew before kids but now our kids are best of friends
She is a great friend when it comes to being there for us during medical problems, etc. My kids adore her and her kids. But our parenting styles are completely different! Other than the nursing issue (she has serious issues with that but it could ahve to do with childhood abuse? Who knows... she definitly has some issues). She jokes that I'm a hippie (which I don't mind) but she's so NOT...

Thank you all again for your responses. I think I'll have to talk to her. My husband just said I have to think of it as "cultural" differences- she's mainstream and I'm AP. He asked if I would stop being friends with her because she was a different religion, etc- (which of course, I wouldn't)and that's how I have to think of it. However, he said that I need to bring it up that it bothers me so maybe I will... Oh dear, just still bothers me...

I just don't get how someone could feel that way... Thanks everyone
See less See more
Your DH's religion comparison isn't the same. I do have friends of many (extremely) different religions. I love hanging out with them, because we all respect each other. Now, if we were all hanging out at my house, and my DS asked me a question about God, I would answer truthfully (as I believe it to be). If I had an athiest friend & her child over, and she said to me, "That's horrible! Would you not talk about that in front of my child? I don't want her to hear things like that!". I would seriously re-evalute that friendship!! This never happens to us, because we all respect each other and WANT our kids to have a broad view of the world and understanding and respect for other's way of life.

It's not like your "friend" just doesn't BF, she actually goes out of her way to let you know how disgusting she finds it, and makes a point of not letting her kids see you do it. As hard as it may be, I would just phase out that friendship. Find friends who support, or at least respect your decisions.

On a side note: I LOVE nursing in front of kids who were obviously formula-fed. This happens at parks, story-time, etc. I think it's such a great learning experience for them to see how the human body is supposed to function!
See less See more
I have to agree with the others. A true friend would not be going out of her way to express disgust, would not go out of her way to remove her children from the room when you're nursing, etc. At the very least a real friend would remain silent and would allow her children to see that there are other ways to feed a baby than what she did.

Let's take this religion analogy another way. She is telling you in no uncertain terms that you are going to her religion's hell equivalent everytime you see her, everytime you feed your baby, and she's telling this to your children and hers everytime she makes them all leave the room when you feed the baby. Is this how a true friend acts? Really?

Of course you wouldn't do the same to her. Why would you continue to allow her to do this to you and your children?
See less See more
Oh, she's only said anything about nursing twice, not everytime I see her
(and I've been nursing children for five years...) She's only mentioned it one other time other than last nights converstation- but it just really upset me. Anyway, I'm very glad all my other friends are not only supportive but most breastfeed
See less See more
I just reread some of the posts- I'm sorry I gave the impression that she says something about breastfeeding every time I breastfeed- I was just so heated about last night's conversation I must have made it seem like she's always saying stuff. I don't let her insult my children or say anything in front of them. I've noticed that she, and society, don't look at breastfeeding the same way I do (and most of us at Mothering and LLL) and it's SO sad.
I'm sorry you have to deal with this situation! I'm used to people not understanding the way we parent, but I don't think anyone has ever criticized my choices as harshly as that.

I've been thinking a lot about NIP again. We're expecting a little girl in July, so I'll be dealing with NIP then. Ds is almost 3 and still nurses, but we haven't needed to NIP in quite a while.

It's so easy to feel alone when it comes to breastfeeding. Even with a community like MDC and La Leche League, I remember feeling outnumbered! So many bottles, so few raised shirts!

I hope that you and your friend find your way back to common ground, and that the hurt she has inflicted heals.
See less See more
Have you thought about getting her (or lending her) a good book about breastfeeding? You could gently tell her that this is something that is really bothering you and that you feel hurt when she expresses disgust. You could humbly ask that she try to educate herself a bit before blindly passing judgement. If she truly *is* your friend, just reading a book shouldn't be a problem (like 'That's what they're for', or 'the Womanly art of breastfeeding'.

Good luck, Mama!
See less See more

I would ask to have a heart-to-heart conversation with her, and ask her what happened in her past to give her such warped ideas about the female body!! The fact that she is shooing her children out of the room when you nurse is messing with THEIR perceptions of normalcy and indecency and I'm just sooo sad for them! It truly sounds like she has some deep-seeded issues.
I feel your pain. My in-laws are the same way....I had to hide in another room while they were here. The whole time I was nursing I was
: that I was banished in my own home. Then it occured to me that this thing that I love to do and that makes me feel so close to my son was being hindered by the "PC" thing to do. My attention was no longer on him, but on my growing resentment for my in-laws (who are really great people).

My #1 is my son, so by the end of the weekend I was bf in resturants right at the just became a fact of life, and there was no more said about it.

If your parenting style is such that you nurse your son without being ashamed, why change that now? and if you do, what message does that send him? Who are you responsible for raising?

You should let your friend know that the sooner she has those talks with her kids the better....less hard questions will be asked...and the body will not be looked at as only for sex.

good luck!!!!
See less See more
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.