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Breastfeeding Moms Breastfeeding Moms

2 Q's, kind of long. do u let your kids watch u nurse?

Posted by on Mar. 17, 2013 at 10:32 PM
  • 92 Replies
My SO has a problem with my 5yo son seeing me breastfeed the baby. Personally I don't have an issue as long as he's not sittin there staring at me or something. Its a natural beautiful part of life and I've taken the approach of acting like its no big deal.. cause I didn't think it was. My son knows what I'm doibg and hasn't acted weird about it. He was curious at first and I just explained it to him. Anyways tonight my SO said (in front of my son) that it wasn't appropriate for him to watch his baby sister suck on her moms tits. And also said something about it being a problem if he talked about it at school? I just sat there like wow you have got to be kidding... I'm upset for one that he made it sound like a bad thing and called my breasts tits in front of my son. It seriously made me feel pissed of and heart broken at the same time. I decided to make sure I'm covered up around my son to keep my SO off my back and to have a private convo with my son to explain to him that there is nothing wrong with breastfeeding and that's what mommies are supposed to do.

I would like to know your take on this. How do you feel about your kids watching you nurse?

Also, my baby doesn't look at me while I nurse her and I was looking forward to that connection. Anyone else have that issue? Really, she doesnt look at anyone, she just kinda stares and looks around at other stuff, mainly invisible stuff? Lol. She reacts but doesn't look at peoples FACES
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by on Mar. 17, 2013 at 10:32 PM
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Replies (1-10):
JMmama
by Bronze Member on Mar. 17, 2013 at 10:35 PM
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Yes, my older kids watch me nurse and, on the ocassion that I do it, pump. My dd will also "nurse" her baby dolls.

As far as looking around, I don't know. I don't remember ever just staring into the eyes of my. Baby while they nursed. Mine close their eyes a lot when they are little.
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Kris_PBG
by on Mar. 17, 2013 at 10:38 PM
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I'm sorry - but your SO's views are insane.

I never shielded ds1 from ds2 when he was nursing.  My sister is now nursing her baby and I have zero concern or problem if they are around when she nurses her baby.

It is called normal life!

ragitty
by on Mar. 17, 2013 at 10:40 PM

I only have one child so far but I don't see why I should cover up/hole myself up in my own house. It is a normal part of life and I want my children to view it as such. I remember watching my little brother nurse when he was a baby and I was 6 when he was born. Mostly I would just stare at his ears and wonder how he made them wiggle like that haha. My sister was born when I was 3 and all my aunts nursed their kids in front of me so I guess it was already normal to me by then.

gdiamante
by Group Mod - Gina on Mar. 17, 2013 at 10:43 PM
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If I was to have another baby, yes. It's how we were raised. When you're raised with the idea of the breast as a feeding implement, it becomes as sexually significant to you as an elbow.

Quoting emilycaudill:

My SO has a problem with my 5yo son seeing me breastfeed the baby. Personally I don't have an issue as long as he's not sittin there staring at me or something. Its a natural beautiful part of life and I've taken the approach of acting like its no big deal.. cause I didn't think it was.
And you are correct.
My son knows what I'm doibg and hasn't acted weird about it. He was curious at first and I just explained it to him. Anyways tonight my SO said (in front of my son) that it wasn't appropriate for him to watch his baby sister suck on her moms tits.
If that was said in  front of me, SO would never have to worry about making a baby again. He'd be a eunuch. And I'd do the operation with a dull rusty knife. 
And also said something about it being a problem if he talked about it at school? I just sat there like wow you have got to be kidding... I'm upset for one that he made it sound like a bad thing and called my breasts tits in front of my son.
Yep.  I do happen to have a rusty knife around if you'd like.... Or you can borrow my baseball bat...
It seriously made me feel pissed of and heart broken at the same time. I decided to make sure I'm covered up around my son to keep my SO off my back and to have a private convo with my son to explain to him that there is nothing wrong with breastfeeding and that's what mommies are supposed to do.
Yes, have the private conversation. And I'd have another private cnversation with the SO.
I would like to know your take on this. How do you feel about your kids watching you nurse?
Again, to me that's normal. The breast is just another part of the body. No biggie.  Hiding isn't normal.

Also, my baby doesn't look at me while I nurse her and I was looking forward to that connection. Anyone else have that issue? Really, she doesnt look at anyone, she just kinda stares and looks around at other stuff, mainly invisible stuff? Lol. She reacts but doesn't look at peoples FACES
How old is baby? May be too early to expect that. The younger they are the more limited their vision. 


slm047
by on Mar. 17, 2013 at 10:44 PM
Yes, I nursed my youngest in front of my oldest. When this baby comes in July, I'll nurse him in front of my children. It's natural. It's how babies eat. My youngest dd is 2.5 ( was nursed till she weaned at 2 ) & already understands mommy's breasts make milk for the baby to eat. That's normal for them.
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emmy526
by Member on Mar. 17, 2013 at 10:46 PM

all my kids watched at  one time or another..they were most interested when baby first got home from the hospital, and then the novelty wore off after a day....we regarded it as just another way to feed a baby, nothing to be ashamed about...Was i a modest nurser? for the most part, yes....i didn't go around the house flopping my boobs around all over the place.  

treasure1212
by on Mar. 17, 2013 at 10:47 PM
I have an 8 yr old son and for the last 13 months I have breastfeed open in front of him . He was curious and asked questions about it in the beginning and also if I fed him that way . He sees it as normal if his sister starts to fuss at all or get whinny he tells me "mom , boogie wants/needs nah-nahs ." ( that's what we call them)
He doesn't act strange about it at all he just sees me giving her what is best . As far as your SO goes tell him to "suck it" lol and to wash his mouth out with soap for using a term like tits in front of your son . Second and try to explain that its not bad for your own children to see it . It also help them learn to be supportive when they grow up and start family's.
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maggiemom2000
by Ruby Member on Mar. 17, 2013 at 10:49 PM
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Wow. What is inappropriate is that fact that your SO, who I'm assuming is a grown up, said it was not okay for your DS "to watch his baby sister suck on her moms tits". That is downright vulgar and I don't want my sons (or daughters) hearing that kind of language!  It sounds like he does not see a nursing baby at her mother's breasts, but some other person "sucking on her tits" as if it is some sort of sexual act??

He is acting like he wants this boy to grow up knowing that breasts are "tits" and are objects to be used to gratify men.

By not making a big deal out of it, and letting your DS watch you nurse (even if he is staring at you doing it!) the same way it would be fine for him to watch you give her a bath, cook dinner, or do any other normal thing around the house, you are showing DS that this is how a mother cares for her baby, and that breasts are there to feed babies and are not something vulgar.

I have two sons who are 11 & 12 yrs old and I am still nursing their sister who is 3 1/2. To them it is not different than anything else they see me do to take care of their sister. The don't even notice when they see another woman breastfeed, it is just like any other normal thing in their life. Sometimes DD will let go and I'll look down to see my breast completely exposed, while I'm talking to my 12 yr old son. His reaction, about the same as if I looked down and saw that my sock was off my foot.

HopesNDreams
by on Mar. 17, 2013 at 10:50 PM
Make sure you mention to your pediatrician that your LO does not look at faces. I have a background in Special Ed and this is a potential red flag.
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maggiemom2000
by Ruby Member on Mar. 17, 2013 at 10:52 PM
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This post is meant to address nurisng in public, but the same message applies to nursing in front of older siblings:

http://www.nursinginpublic.com/addressing-opposition-to-nursing-in-public/why-children-should-see-mothers-nursing-in-public/

Why Children Should see Mothers Nursing in Public

Too often I hear other parents complain that they don’t want their children to see mothers breastfeeding their babies in public.  They’ll say the park or the mall is an inappropriate place to feed our babies because there are other children around, and “they don’t need to see that”.  I beg to differ.

I think it is beneficial for children to see breastfeeding for several reasons.  First and foremost, it is important to understand that there is nothing sexual about breastfeeding.  It is simply the act of a mother meeting the most basic need of her child and there is absolutely nothing sexual about it.  While it is true that we

sometimes utilize our breasts in a sexual fashion, that is not their primary function.  As mammals, the primary function of our breasts is to feed our offspring.  Our bodies produce a food that is absolutely perfect for our babies in every way, and we deliver that food through our mammary glands, otherwise known as breasts.  As humans, we are not unique in doing this, we share this trait with about 4500 other species. So there is nothing lewd or inappropriate happening.  Breastfeeding is just something humans have done since the dawn of our existence in order to feed our babies.

Anatomy of a Breast

In our society, breasts are often sexualized, but they are not actually sexual organs.  A sexual organ is any anatomical part of the body involved in sexual reproduction and constitutes the reproductive system in a complex organism.  In humans, the external female sex organs are the clitoris, labium, vulva and vagina.  In our culture we have assigned a sexual label to the female breasts.  There is nothing wrong with that.  But it’s important to be aware that it is a social construct.  In some cultures, women’s hair, knees, mouths or thighs are considered sexual.  It’s purely subjective and while most of us would think covering our hair out of modesty might be silly, there are many cultures around the world that think covering a woman’s breasts are silly.

Because the sexual nature of breasts is constructed, it is something that must be learned.  Children aretaught that breasts are sexual, it is not something they innately know. Sometimes they are taught by parents who either keep an open dialogue with their children about sex and sexuality, or they get the “Birds and the Bees” talk at some point.  But most often, children learn about sex and sexuality first by what they are exposed to in the world around them. This includes advertising, media, movies, television, other adults and other children.  We’d like to think our children have a minimal exposure to adult content, but throughout the years, our tolerance for sexual content in public has diminished significantly.

Victoria’s Secret Ad

Think about the last time you walked by a Victoria’s Secret store.  Giant bombshells decked out in skimpy bras and underwear stand provocatively with overt cum-fuck-me looks on their faces stand larger than life on pictures in the store window.  Worse, preteens decked out in much the same stand alluringly promoting their Angel line for girls.  The breasts of stars grace the magazine stands with “real life photo shockers”, asking readers to judge and critique these famous bodies.  Racy TV shows with adult content are no longer relegated to the late night hours on obscure channels and even children’s cartoons are creating more and moresexualized characters.

Magazine Wolf pointed out to me at the Grocery Store.

And it gets worse.  Research has shown children are being exposed to explicit and radical forms of pornography at increasingly earlier ages.  By the time they are 18, 80% of boys are watching online porn.  Kids are sexting each other and sending nude photos of each other by the time they are in the 7th grade.  Kids as young as 6 years old are exposed to hardcore pornography on school playgrounds and buses thanks to the common use of smartphones.  Think it’s not your kid?  Think again.  CBC’s Doczone has made a very important documentary that every parent should see.  Check out Sexted Up Kids and additional commentary from PhD in Parenting.

Mother Breastfeeding

 

Children are bombarded with sexual content at increasingly young ages.  Seeing breasts performing their normal function, breastfeeding, is healthy.  It cannot undue all the harm that is being done by the hypersexualization of our young people, but it can act create balance, or at the very least, ignite a healthy conversation about our bodies.  When a child sees a mother breastfeeding, they see a woman using her body in a way that it was meant to be used, she is using it not for the purpose of somebody else’s pleasure or objectification, but for the simply and important act of nurturing a child.  As I often tell people, I’d rather my son learn about breastfeeding from a nursing mother than a beer commercial.

When children see a mother nursing her child, they may be curious about what is happening, especially if they have never seen a mother breastfeeding before.  Parents, particularly ones who did not breastfeed, sometimes get a bit flustered by this question, in the same way they get flustered when a child asks a question about sex or body parts.  That’s ok.  We all have our comfort zones and we aren’t all comfortable with everything.  What is important to remember is when a mother is nursing her child in public, the only thing she is doing is feeding her child.  That’s the explanation most children need.  It’s not a big deal, it’s not abnormal or wrong, and it’s the truth.

Dionna over at CodenameMama wrote an excellent article illustrating what happens when a parent can simply explain what breastfeeding is when seeing it in public versus when they cannot: Turn Around and Face the Wall.  It’s important to understand that your child will not assign any sexual labels to breastfeeding unless the parent does.  And breastfeeding is not in any way a sexual activity.  It just happens to be done with a part of the body that is sometimes considered sexual in modern western society.

Anatomical View of a Nursing Dyad

Sometimes an older child will want more information than “That mother is feeding her child” and it’s okay to elaborate, to explain that a mother’s body will produce milk for her baby.  That it’s healthy and nutritious and always available.  It’s actually a great in-road to learning about human or animal biology if you should choose to pursue it.  It is also a very important public health issue, another way of explaining or teaching about breastfeeding.

The more people see breastfeeding in public, the more normalized it becomes.  The more normalized breastfeeding is, the more likely people are to do it.  Breastfeeding is, undisputed, the most healthy way to feed a baby.  It is natural, but it is not an innate ability, it is a skill that needs to be learned.  The best way to learn how to breastfeed is to see it being done.  There is no downside to children seeing breastfeeding, but there is a very real danger to them not seeing it.

If they don’t see it, if they don’t see it as normal, their chances of growing up to breastfeed (and this goes for little boys who will be daddies one day) are diminished just that much more.  Breastfeeding rates are abysmal in the modern world and breastfeeding in public is one barrier, but not understanding a thing about it until your baby is born is probably the biggest.  Nursing is not something that should be learned entirely on the fly, when a sleep-deprived mother is recovering from birthing.

New Zealand Public Health Ad for Breastfeeding in Public

If children grow up in society seeing breastfeeding as just an everyday normal thing, they are much more likely to grow up to be breastfeeding parents.  And ultimately, whether they end up feeding their babies formula or breastmilk, there is nothing wrong with them seeing and knowing about breastfeeding.  It promotes a positive self-image for girls and helps boys learn respect for girls body in seeing that breasts perform a very important function in life, that they are not just for sexual purposes, or worse, for the purposes of sexual objectification.

So when your child sees someone breastfeeding at the park or the mall, and should they ask you about it, just say, “That mommy is feeding her baby.” and know that you’ve helped lay the groundwork not only for normalizing breastfeeding, but also for helping your child develop a healthy understanding of the human body outside the sexual contexts so pervasively provided by modern media and advertising.

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