Is this unreasonable re: SIL's BFing

Discussion in 'General' started by MrsBQ02, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. MrsBQ02

    MrsBQ02 Well-Known Member

    SIL will be visiting next week and bringing her 3 mo old whom she is BFing. Now, I pumped for the boys and comfort nursed one of them (their prematurity prevented them from being good nursers.) So I am definitely not against BFing at all. However, SIL is not discreet about it. My concern mostly is the boys-- I really don't want them seeing that. They're at the age now where they no longer see me topless. The last time that happened Joel was way too interested and grabby, so I think it's clear to me we've reached the stage when mommy needs to covered from here on out. Also, I don't even feel comfortable with her "hanging out." For the 9 months that I did pump, I always did so in another room if we had company or when I was not at home. And I'm sure we can all agree that it CAN be done modestly. So am I out of line for requesting that she either be modest about it or go upstairs while she feeds??

    (now I'll duck from being called prudish or anti-breastfeeding! :tomato:)
  2. tinalb

    tinalb Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I don't know, if it were me I would just take the opportunity to explain to the boys that babies are fed by their mommies in that way & just treat it like it's the most natural thing in the world (which, of course, it is). I found with my kids, when I was breastfeeding the younger ones, the older ones lost interest pretty quickly after the first time or two & really didn't pay attention after that. I would hate for them to think that there is something secretive or embarrassing about the way babies are fed, which is the message I think is sent by hiding it. :pardon:
    12 people like this.
  3. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    i agree with Tina. your boys will take their cue from you.

    and while we may all agree that it can be done modestly, i think you would be hard pressed to have us all agree that it should be. :pardon:

    honestly, if i were your SIL & you requested that of me, i would probably not come for the visit.
    6 people like this.
  4. mom23sweetgirlies

    mom23sweetgirlies Well-Known Member

    I agree with the PP and if my relative asked me to be more discreet I would probably be a little offended and not want to come visit. I am very modest BTW, as most BF moms I know are.
  5. allgood2000

    allgood2000 Well-Known Member

    For 6 year olds I might start to be concerned. For 3 year olds, I wouldn't worry about it so much. I am very pro-breastfeeding and nursed all 6 of my children but I also feel strongly that I should be modest while nursing. However, short of your SIL nursing her baby topless, I wouldn't worry about it and I wouldn't say anything. If there is a time when she is showing a bit more than you're comfortable with, I might shoo my boys into another room and tell them their aunt needs a little privacy to feed her baby - with a smile, of course! You don't want her to feel uncomfortable, but it's nice to give privacy to a nursing mother in any event, IMO.
    3 people like this.
  6. ktfan

    ktfan Well-Known Member

    I agree with the others to just treat it as a learning experience for your boys. My oldest was 2.5 when my second was born and my second was 4 when my third was born. I nursed in front of them (and my day care kids who were in that age group) when I needed to. I also had to fight that little voice in the back of my head that I shouldn't nurse in front of other kids. Why the nagging voice? Stereotypes and expectations of others. It is very natural and kids will take their cues from us. At 3, I wouldn't even mention it unless they ask. Then you can just say "oh, she's feeding her baby. Some mommies breastfeed instead of using bottles" and leave it at that. I bet they lose interest really fast.
    2 people like this.
  7. fuchsiagroan

    fuchsiagroan Well-Known Member

    ITA with pps! At this age, I think it will only be a big deal if you treat it like a big deal. They will lose interest. And even if they are interested, that's a good thing - it gives them a chance to learn how babies are fed. There's nothing dirty or embarrassing or sexual (which is so often the subtext here) about it. If it makes you feel any better, there was even a Sesame Street episode with a mom BFing her baby and Big Bird asking her questions about the whole process, and the tone was just "That's neat!" No reason why it can't be the same for your kids.

    My brother has 4 kids, aged 13, 11, 3, and 1. SIL BFed them all. She's never hid it from the older kids, and it's just a normal part of family life. Now the 3 older kids all see their baby sister nurse, and it's about as big a deal to them as seeing mom do the dishes. :lol:
    6 people like this.
  8. rubyturquoise

    rubyturquoise Well-Known Member

    My boys were 8.5 and 11 when the girls were born. I took the "this is how babies eat--this is how you ate" approach. They were interested for maybe 2.5 minutes and then they moved right along with their lives. Your boys will probably be way less interested in what SIL is doing because she's not you. You "belong" to them, so they feel a more proprietary interest in you and your body, whereas SIL is just someone hanging out with some boring baby and let's go play something more interesting...

    eta: if only I could type!
    1 person likes this.
  9. Leighann

    Leighann Well-Known Member

    I agree with pp's. We went on vacation last summer with friends who had a 4 month old. She bf'ed him everywhere and the girls just knew that the baby was eating. It actually was nice to have the opportunity to explain what breasts are for!
    2 people like this.
  10. jjzollman

    jjzollman Well-Known Member

    I agree with the PPs. I would be very offended if someone had told me to bf in another room because they didn't want their children to see me feeding my children. My oldest son has been around many nursing babies - most recently, as a 5 year old, and he just knew that was how his cousin was eating. He never mentioned seeing his aunt's breasts - but we don't make a big deal about nudity, either. He still sees me topless if I'm wandering around the house searching for a bra (LOL) or he comes in the bathroom while I'm showering or dressing. He is not concerned with modesty at his age yet- and he's past the age of curiosity (which is where it sounds like your boys are) - I'm just not worried about it.
    3 people like this.
  11. MrsBQ02

    MrsBQ02 Well-Known Member

    I don't mind that they realize she's feeding her baby-- I just don't feel they (or I) need to see her boobs. I certainly didn't want others seeing mine while I "fed" my babies and always took precautions to be discreet about it. But with SIL, it's to the point where even her own sister is uncomfortable about it. SO it's not about not wanting the boys to know how babies eat, it's about modesty (or a lack of) in my home especially when my boys are at an age where I prefer that boobs are covered. Now, if we are ever blessed with a third child, I certainly plan to nurse that child (and I hope it certainly goes better than the first time!) and then they will end up seeing the whole process. But that will be their mother with their sibling in our home.

    Maybe I shouldn't have brought it up-- too much of a hot topic. There's also a lot more to this relationship that makes things very awkward and uncomfortable, so I suppose this just doesn't help matters.
  12. Chrissy Nelson

    Chrissy Nelson Well-Known Member

    I breastfed the girls and extended Breastfed Allison. When I first started I hid everywhere I could to breastfeed because I was so afraid of what people were thinking about me. I was so concerned someone would see my breast. I was so sick of hiding in back rooms, bathrooms etc. One day at the zoo my mom told me to just feed the girls because there was a line to the bathroom and I was starting to panic. I just whipped out my boob and let them feast. It was so umcomfortable for me because I felt judged, but I never hid again after that. I realized that I was a mother and I had hungry babies and I was really sick of smelling poop in the bathroom and hiding all alone in back rooms.

    Now do not get me wrong I did cover up it was not a constant breast fest. America is one of the few countries that just view breast as sexual and not what they are really meant for.

    I do not know if I would really ask her to cover up but if you and your family are that uncomfotable with it maybe you could let her know right off that you set her up a quiet space upstairs for her to feed. Maybe just make a comfy spot for her to make it look like you did something special. If she does not go up there I would not make a big deal about it.
  13. MrsBQ02

    MrsBQ02 Well-Known Member

    This is good advice. Thank you.
  14. nateandbrig

    nateandbrig Well-Known Member

    I have to say I totally agree with this. My ds was 7.5 when I brought home the twins. I bf'ed for awhile but did mostly pumping. He knew all about it and I used it as a learning lesson. We saw a lady in a restaurant nursing and she had quite a bit showing and my ds could care less because he knew what she was doing.
    I honestly think you should ask her not to come. If it were me and I got there and you asked me to cover up I would be mad that you didn't say something ahead of time. And I would leave.
  15. Stacy A.

    Stacy A. Well-Known Member

    I'm a lone dissenter. I think that if someone gets offended by you asking them to cover with a blanket while BFing in your home in front of your children (it is your choice what you teach your kid about modesty and when), then it is more about making a point than them feeding their baby. Yes, it is natural and, yes, it is nothing to be ashamed of. But, some people (myself included) believe that, while the human body is wonderful and nothing to be ashamed of, it is also not something for everyone to see.

    I also agree that it is a great teaching moment. But, I think that teaching them that when the baby goes under the blanket he is drinking his mommy's milk is sufficient for a 3 yo. They don't need to actually see it happening in order to learn. And, if you have decided the your child is too interested in breasts and feel the need to cover your own in his presence, then you have a right to choose for him not to see other people's, too.

    Covering up (being more modest) is not a huge inconvenience, does not prevent BFing, and it shows respect for your choices in raising your son without interfering in her choice of how she feeds her baby.

    BTW, before anyone asks, I pumped (they never would latch on and were losing weight despite all my trying) for several weeks before PPD forced me to stop because of the antidepressants. I think BFing is wonderful and wish with all my heart I could have BF my babies and will try again if I have another. So, no, I am not against BFing in any way, shape, or form. I am just for mutual respect of eachother's parenting choices.
  16. HeyThere

    HeyThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with most everyone.... BUT its your house and your children. If it bothers YOU, ask her to cover up. There is no nice way to do it other than asking and more than likely she will be offended. She is a new mom and its a hot topic. You may want to address if before she comes.
  17. jenn-

    jenn- Well-Known Member

    Obviously you have thought a lot about this. I would have a conversation about it with her before she comes. You can tell her that the boys have gotten extremely interested in the differences between men and women recently and because of that, you have chosen to be covered up around them at all times. I would then offer the most comfortable spot in the house to her to nurse in. Make sure it has a wonderfully comfortable chair and a TV or radio in it.

    Personally I nursed Brandon anywhere and everywhere, but I always made sure my shirt was covering up most of my exposed chest. A blanket wasn't going to happen with him as he would pull it off. If I made family uncomfortable, they never had the nerve to say anything.
    1 person likes this.
  18. birdsong00

    birdsong00 Well-Known Member

    It's always difficult to weigh in on these sort of situations because in a sense we don't see the whole picture. I am currently BF my 10 month olds. I am very discreet about it. The only people I am comfortable nursing around is my husband and mother even in my own home I will take the girls upstairs and nurse them in their room. I do think BF is totally natural I plan on nursing in front of my girls when we have a third child I don't want them to have any hang ups about their bodies I personally think we Americans (me included) are way TOO up tight about our bodies. I lived in the Netherlands for 3 years and they just thought I was such a prude. I really think you should do what ever makes you comfortable. If you don't want your boys seeing her nurse her child then of course you are entitled to do what you feel is right!! it is your home! It is also your SIL right to nurse however she feels comfortable. I think you should casually let her know that you have set aside a spot for her to nurse out of sight of your boys. Hopefully this will avoid an awkward situation. This give her the opportunity to decline your invitation and you the peace of mind of knowing you will not be uncomfortable in your home. I don't think I would be offended if someone told me ahead of time but if I was at your home and you asked me to cover up ( depending on the way you asked and our relationship of course) I would probably be embarrassed and leave

    I really hope you don't regret posting your question on here we are all a bunch of strangers just trying to help each other out of course you are going to receive all sorts of opinions and comments but thats the great thing about TS best of luck to you :)
  19. threebecamefive

    threebecamefive Well-Known Member

    I guess I need to join Stacy with my opinion. It is my feeling that it is your home and you have a right to ask her to cover up or nurse in another room. It sounds like the relationship is a little shaky, so having a conversation before hand may work or may not. Is this DH's sister or your brother's wife? If it is DH's sister, maybe he can talk to her and explain your feelings and expectations.

    I voice this opinion as a very pro-breastfeeding mom who nursed all three of my kids for a total of 3.5 years. My boys are almost 4.5 and I still don't care what state of undress they see me in. We just don't make a big deal of nudity in our home. But, that's my home. I feel that when you are talking about your own home, and your own children, you have a right to voice your concerns and expectations when expecting company.

    I also honestly feel that anyone that gets upset enough to leave, or not come to begin with, for simply being asked to cover up or nurse in another room needs to mature a bit. Yeah, you may miss out on some family time, but isn't that part of the sacrifice when you have kids anyway? She's not thinking about asking her SIL to nurse in the bathroom, or stay separated, just that when it's time to nurse, to cover up or do so in another room. That shouldn't be a big deal. I would hope the request is made in as positive way as possible, and a comfy nursing area is set up (some PP's had some good ideas in regards to both of those).
  20. fuchsiagroan

    fuchsiagroan Well-Known Member

    The blanket idea is one possibility, but just be aware that some babies hate the blanket and will not tolerate being covered.

    Trying to distract the kids while she nurses is another good idea, but could possibly backfire - "Don't look/don't go in there!" (even under the guise of "Let's give her some privacy") might make it irresistible instead of boring. ;) And yes, some moms like privacy, but other moms are bummed at being cut out of the action just because they have to nurse.

    "Your house, your rules" is one way of looking at it, but from the POV of wanting to be a gracious hostess, I personally wouldn't try to make rules about where/how she feeds her infant. Flip it around for a minute - suppose you really didn't want your boys to see a mom FFing for whatever reason (and some people out there are really rabid about the issue), would it be OK to ask her to go to another room to feed her baby?

    And I guess my main question is this: why is it bad for 3 yr olds to see even a fully exposed breast in the context of feeding a baby? There's nothing suggestive about it, it is completely non-sexual, and 3 yr olds do not even have a clue about what a sexual fetish breasts are in our culture yet, or even what sex is. Breasts are really just another body part for them. (Really really not snarky here, just genuinely asking why you are so against the idea.)
    8 people like this.
  21. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    i was wondering the same thing as Holly. i think this conversation is hard for me because i don't understand the modesty issue - it's really hard for me to wrap my head around. a body is a body is a body - the only reason breasts are different than ankles is because we culturally imbue them with additional meaning. and i'm coming to think, more & more, that that is to our detriment. :unknw:

    i do agree, at the end of the day, that it is your house & your rules, which is why i said i wouldn't come if you asked me to cover up or nurse somewhere else. for me, the only way i would be able to respect your house rules would be to not come over.
    2 people like this.
  22. cricket1

    cricket1 Well-Known Member

    Ok I did not read all of the responses, but most seemed to be talking about their own children seeing them nurse their own siblings. I do think it is different when it is outside of "you". Yes it is an opportunity to talk to them about other ways babies are fed, but, it is your house and while you want her to be comfortable, I think you have the right to not be uncomfortable too. I think shooing them out of the room is a good idea and I do not think saying something alond the lines of "I think it is great you are able to breast feed, I am a little uncomfortable wit the boys watching, do you mind covering up with a blanket?" is out of bounds
  23. birdsong00

    birdsong00 Well-Known Member

    I don't think being embarrassed or leaving when your uncomfortable is a lack of maturity. That is the problem with hot topics like this one. People are giving their honest opinion on what they would do while others are quick to judge!!
    1 person likes this.
  24. threebecamefive

    threebecamefive Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry. I don't mean to be judgemental, but yeah, that was a judgemental statement. I still feel, however, if you are company in a house for a couple of days, and are going to be that offended that you would cancel a visit, that you are reacting a bit over the top. Perhaps throwing the "maturity" word in there made my statement too harsh.

    And again, I'm of this opinion as a former BF'ing mom (for 3.5 years). Also as a mom who doesn't hide my oh so very less than perfect naked body from my kids. We talk about our private areas and inappropriate touch and all that good stuff, but seeing the body in its nakedness, in our home (like getting dressed, in and out of the shower, etc) just shouldn't be a big deal. My kids were all big enough by the time I finished nursing that they all know what breasts are for. And I would have absolutely no problems if they saw a stranger nursing their baby. However, if I were taking my kids to someones house and I was asked to cover up or nurse in another room, I would internally :rolleyes: , but I would abide by what makes my hostess most comfortable. It's really such a small thing, in my opinion. Reacting by just not coming, imo, just gives non-supportive BF'ing folks more fuel to the fire.
    1 person likes this.
  25. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    Personally,I dont think it is rude for you to ask her to be more discreet about BF in your current situation. She should not be offended either. Everyones comfort level is different- you should respect the modestly/privacy/needs of everyone involved.

    It would not hurt her to make accommodations while she is visiting- it shows an understanding of your boys curiosity and that you want to address it on your own terms instead of in a forced situation. As well-- you should somehow provide her with a location and/or coverup to enable her to be more discreet.
  26. birdsong00

    birdsong00 Well-Known Member

    I appreciate the response!! that is the way all of our discussions should be on here. I completely agree with you on the hostess being comfortable it is her house. For me... it's not so much that I would be offended just a little embarrassed that I had to be asked to cover up. I really think she should discuss or atleast mention to her SIL before she comes over. I guess it all depends on her SIL maybe she won't think anything of it. Once again thanks for the response I like it when we can all get along in these forums :ibiggrin:
  27. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I wish I could say this better, but I can't. I will say mine would not do a blanket or nursing cover or by 4 months or so, a nursing shirt. They are used to boob and skin. If I covered them, they would work at getting the covering off and stop eating. Perhaps this baby is the same way?
  28. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    but by asking the nursing mom to cover up or nurse in a different room, by herself, you aren't respecting the modesty/privacy/needs of everyone involved. you're respecting the modesty/privacy/needs of the person with the most conservative viewpoint.

    i'm not sure what the right answer is in this situation because there are needs on both sides of the fence - whose need trumps the other or should take precedence? i don't know. in my opinion, i feel it should be the nursing mother's but that's because that's what fits with my worldview.
    4 people like this.
  29. lianyla

    lianyla Well-Known Member

    You can do whatever you want in your home. If you don't want someone to breastfeed there, that's up to you. If you don't want someone to pee sitting down, same thing. You make the rules in your home.

    Whatever you decide- you decide. Everyone has their own opinion about everything, right? Just make a decision based on what you are comfortable with. If you don't want your kids to see it, ask her to go in the bedroom- case closed. I don't think it's unreasonable- AT ALL. The Duggar's don't even let a piece of SKIN be exposed and THEY are "good" people aren't they? It has nothing to do with being good or bad. It's a personal choice. No judgements.

  30. twin_trip_mommy

    twin_trip_mommy Well-Known Member

    I have not read this whole thread but I can't agree with this entire post.

    You do have a right to ask your guests to be modest or not do something all together out in the public areas of your home but you have to be open to the possibility that there feelings might be hurt or that they may be outright offended. You do not have a right to tell people how they can pee in your bathroom, a non public area of your home.

    I would tread cautiously in the way you ask your guest to breast feed.

    Having had 3 year olds I can say for my children if they saw a woman breast feeding it would not phase them in the least and if it was not discussed they would not remember long after the event ended.

    Hope you all have a wonderful visit
  31. becasquared

    becasquared Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Your house, your rules.

    However, be prepared to offend her if she doesn't want to abide by your rules.
  32. MrsWright

    MrsWright Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Quickly commenting on a couple things I read. Regarding 3y/o seeing another woman's breast, whether for feeding a baby or not, would not make me comfortable. Mostly bc if they are at that "curious" age what is to stop them from pulling shirts down when someone is holding them. It might just add fuel to the curiosity fire. With that being said I'm not offended when people BF in front of me and I totally plan on bfing my new one here soon (only got to pump with the boys) but I will keep my boob covered bc mainly my thought is...No one wants to see my boobs any other time so why would they want to just bc I'm feeding my baby? And the thought is vice versa...I don't want to see any other woman's boobs any other time either. I think you can obviously cover most of your boob without using a blanket and such and by 4 months she should have the hang of nursing that she doesn't need to let her boobs hang out to get the baby latched.

    I would just mention that the boys have been very curious about bodies latley and that you are worried the bfing might add to it so if she can do her best to keep everything covered or you can give her the option of a comfy room somewhere else?! Good luck!!
  33. melissao

    melissao Well-Known Member

    I would honestly be shocked and embarassed if I went to someone's house, especially a family member, and they asked me to nurse in another room. I feel like I'm pretty discreet when I nurse and you can't see much of my breast. If someone asked me to go to another room I probably would, but my feelings would be hurt.
  34. MusicalAli

    MusicalAli Well-Known Member

    I can't remember if you've said this or not, but does she KNOW she's letting it all "hang out"? If this is her first baby, perhaps she doesn't realize how much she is exposing herself? I don't know. I'm just playing devil's advocate. There was a new mom in our mom's group when the boys were babies. The boys were 6 months old. We were just about to "graduate" from the group (for new moms sponsored by the hospital where they were born). This new mom was trying so hard to do everything right and by the book with her newborn and getting him to latch and feed properly. She pretty practically stripped naked. I'm talking breast massaging and everything. LOL. Now, I know this was a group whose intentions included breastfeeding support and I'm glad she felt safe among us, but it was still a bit odd. Needless to say, we all just turned our heads and gave her the privacy that way. It was way more than we wanted to see. But I don't think she ever knew it was odd because know one told her!

    I've nursed all four of my babies. I have never used a nursing cover. None of my kids could tolerate it and it just got in the way. But, I was still able to nurse discreetly. Really not that difficult. I nurse everywhere: restaurants, malls, zoos, parties, home, etc. I've only occasionally had to go in another room and that wasn't so much for company's sake as it was for the baby's sake because he's now getting very distracted by his environment.

    I would be offended if I was asked to throw a blanket over my baby. I don't know if I'd get up and leave or sit in protest :) I've always said that if anyone asked me to leave a public place because of nursing (such as an airplane or a restaurant) that I'd organize a "nurse-in" and call the local news. I've never thought about someone asking me about a private residence, probably because I can't imagine it ever happening. Hope you're able to get it all worked out.
    1 person likes this.
  35. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    okay, i'm still confused about why it's a problem that they're curious about bodies. heck, i'm almost 30 and i'm still curious about bodies and i don't think there's anything weird or wrong with that. i mean, obviously, you don't want your children randomly pulling other peoples clothes on or off but that's about teaching social boundaries - i'm unclear on why the curiosity itself is a problem. or why breastfeeding would add to that. :unknw: it seems to me that answering their questions and dealing with the curiosity head on would solve the problem better than trying to sweep it under the rug, so to speak.

    also, i'm having trouble understanding why women are uncomfortable seeing other womens' breasts. this is an honest question. i really don't understand. for those of you who have said you are is it because you are embarrassed for her? does it feel voyeuristic? or something else?
    4 people like this.
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