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Breastfeeding Moms Breastfeeding Moms

Have you had to overcome the challenge of breastfeeding in front of others?

Posted by on Feb. 27, 2014 at 9:18 AM
  • 30 Replies

Overcoming the Challenges of Breastfeeding In Front of Other People 

Posted by Michele Zipp 

mom breastfeeding in slingIt's kind of bizarre how we can go to the beach in a bathing suit and think nothing of being basically naked in front of friends, family, and strangers. Yet when women breastfeed their babies, where there is often barely any skin showing, it's sometimes met with gasps and people think it's obscene. Some expect that woman to cover up or take it to a room where no one can see. Oh we live in a strange, strange world.

I breastfed my kids in front of friends and family, and in public. I did sometimes use a cover, but as my kids got older, that became more difficult because they loved to twist it around their little fingers and pull it off.

Still it can be really challenging to breastfeed in front of other people, even with a cover, and sometimes it's even harder to do in front of family.

Of course if your mom breastfed you or you have other family members who breastfed their own kids whenever they were hungry, it probably wasn't a big deal in your family. But for many, it is.

My whole thing with breastfeeding wasn't necessarily who was around me, it was what spot can I nurse my kids where it is most comfortable. But when my father-in-law came to visit us from out of state, I did find it hard to nurse my kids in front of him. I was breastfeeding twins so when I was at home, I nursed them at the same time. It was easier to just take my top off and it was also more comfortable for me to go into the nursery, out of his sight. My step-mother-in-law did come in the room with me though, helping me get both babies to breast and we even chatted while I was nursing.

I've even been to a friend's home and nursed my babies while other kids were around. My friend and her sister both breastfed their kids so it was treated as natural and normal. Just like it should be. Think about it -- it's just a breast, not shown in a sexual manner, instead it's just feeding a baby. For me, there were three things I did to overcome any challenges I may have felt while nursing in front of others:

  1. I didn't make a big deal about it. If I was in mid-conversation with a friend and it was time to feed my kids, I just fed them, while still talking.
  2. I used a cover (kid willing) in certain situations. You can also nurse your baby while she is in a sling.
  3. I felt that if I did breastfeed in front of someone who didn't know how to feel about it, doing so may make them realize it's no big deal, and voila! creating more acceptance.

What does worry me most is how sometimes it's the people closest to you who can't express what is really on their mind -- that you nursing in front of them makes them uncomfortable. Just like how when Facebook deletes a breastfeeding photo, that photo had to have been reported by a friend if settings are private. So that person really has a problem with it and yet couldn't talk to the breastfeeding mom directly about it. That or some of us need to reevaluate our friend list (in person and online).

It's hard to succeed at breastfeeding without support. And being able to nurse in front of others is a part of it. We shouldn't be made to feel ashamed when our kids need to eat. We should get acceptance from those closest to us. Perhaps we should all just prance around in bathing suits to prove a point that it isn't a big deal.

Have you had to overcome the challenge of breastfeeding in front of others? Has your family and friends accepted you nursing your baby in front of them if necessary?

by on Feb. 27, 2014 at 9:18 AM
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Replies (1-10):
tabi_cat1023
by Group Mod - Tabitha on Feb. 27, 2014 at 9:32 AM
2 moms liked this

I finally just sucked it up and nursed and after doing it time and again both me and the other people go used to it

MinaPR
by Mina on Feb. 27, 2014 at 10:01 AM
3 moms liked this

I nursed in front of my DD's Pedi and he looked really uncomfortable... HIM out of all people!!!! I was doing the "double shirt" method and "absolutely no skin" was showing, I used the cover to latch her and then removed it because she doesn't like it...

I am also the first and only one in my family to breastfeed... my mom keeps pushing for formula, "or at least cereal" she says, because, according to her, my milk is not enough... I don't listen to her. She is flabbergasted that I am planning to breast feed my daughter beyond 12 months. She doesn't know yet that I am going to let her self-wean... LOL!!!

At work they think I breast feed because I can't afford formula... Stupid ignorants!!!

I breastfeed my baby when and where she gets hungry and I don't care if it is a public place or not. I do not use a cover because she doesn't like them. I am very careful when I latch her and do not show any skin... People look at me as if I was doing something dirty, I know I am not so I keep doing it.

Seximama23
by Silver Member on Feb. 27, 2014 at 10:06 AM
1 mom liked this
I have not yet NIP because I am larger busted and it's hard to keep the girls from flopping out lol
adrianna1043
by Member on Feb. 27, 2014 at 10:25 AM
1 mom liked this
I've nursed all of my five boys over the years. I think the most public place I've ever nursed was at a baseball playoff game. No one said a word, but when I nurse in public I kind of have a "don't even think about saying anything to me" look.
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ShadowWaters
by on Feb. 27, 2014 at 10:50 AM

In front of family (like mother, brother, etc) has never bothered me I'm not even modest about it. I let them know before hand if they come into my house they are going to see my boob. But out in public yes I have to get up the nerve to nurse even with cover I'm nervous. I was really proud of myself this past week when I nursed without a cover (couldn't see a thing). I'm far from comfortable in public but I hope to get there.

thundersky
by Bronze Member on Feb. 27, 2014 at 11:51 AM
1 mom liked this

i nurse any time any were. i breastfed my DD2 at the SSC office while getting my name changed and my DD2 her SSC. the lady hought it was so cool. we got talking baout how she breastfed her boys it was neat. i have only had problem with my parents they think breast feeding is great and all as long as strangers dont see you doing it. they were a little wierd in the begining me feeding around them but they got use to it. 

here is my list :

nursed in michels

at resraunts 

porchegeese bloodless bull fight

at a parade

waiting room


hopeandglory53
by Amy on Feb. 27, 2014 at 12:03 PM
1 mom liked this

The only times I've "hidden" in public were because there was no place to sit down (aka I would ask if I could use a changing booth, because they generally have some place to sit). I'd nurse my kids whenever they wanted it. This is my first experience nursing a toddler, and for the most part NOW, whenever we're out in public, she's OK. It was never a "challenge" for me.

Next month, we're getting ready to have a bunch of guests who've never been over to the house (hopefully the weather will cooperate). If little one wants to nurse, I will sit there in the living room amongst guests to nurse her, and if anyone has anything bad to say about it...there's the door :D But we've never had anyone say anything negative.

Mrsmayaguy
by on Feb. 27, 2014 at 2:03 PM

My family is fine with my breastfeeding but Im very uncomfortable nursing in public.  Nev hates covers and even at home she is a little hard to get her to latch.  The problem is I have very large breast so even the double shirt method doesnt allways help.  She likes to lean back to latch on. My areolas are LARGE so I have to center it perfectly. To do this. My stuff is all exposed. 
This past weekend we were at a swim meet. It was over an hour from our home. We were there from 6am to 5pm.  I tried feeding her there multiple times. It was so impossible. Too much noise buzzing around us and because we are in the northeast its cold outside but they keep the temp so high inside the facility that the humidty.....I couldnt place her under a blankie...

I had to give her a bottle. It was so frustrating. My milk had gone all on my shirts...My van (which is usually where I end up being forced to feed) was parked very far away.

I love nursing. But I hate to do it in public except at my la leche league meeting! 

Cafe Jenn
by Head Admin on Feb. 27, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Oh wow. Your story with your doctor upsets me. I had to feed my daughter a few times while in the doctor's office and they were always so nice about it. I'm sorry you dealt with that. 

Quoting MinaPR:

I nursed in front of my DD's Pedi and he looked really uncomfortable... HIM out of all people!!!! I was doing the "double shirt" method and "absolutely no skin" was showing, I used the cover to latch her and then removed it because she doesn't like it...

I am also the first and only one in my family to breastfeed... my mom keeps pushing for formula, "or at least cereal" she says, because, according to her, my milk is not enough... I don't listen to her. She is flabbergasted that I am planning to breast feed my daughter beyond 12 months. She doesn't know yet that I am going to let her self-wean... LOL!!!

At work they think I breast feed because I can't afford formula... Stupid ignorants!!!

I breastfeed my baby when and where she gets hungry and I don't care if it is a public place or not. I do not use a cover because she doesn't like them. I am very careful when I latch her and do not show any skin... People look at me as if I was doing something dirty, I know I am not so I keep doing it.


Cafe Jenn
by Head Admin on Feb. 27, 2014 at 4:57 PM

I found the more I did it, the more comfortable I was with doing. I nursed every week in church. I didn't do it in the sactuary, as I wasn't comfortable with that but I did do it outside the doors with people passing by all the time. I had a few moms who came up to me and told me that they thought it was awesome that I fed my daughter where I felt comfortable and they hoped to do the same thing if they had more children. 

Quoting ShadowWaters:

In front of family (like mother, brother, etc) has never bothered me I'm not even modest about it. I let them know before hand if they come into my house they are going to see my boob. But out in public yes I have to get up the nerve to nurse even with cover I'm nervous. I was really proud of myself this past week when I nursed without a cover (couldn't see a thing). I'm far from comfortable in public but I hope to get there.


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