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To think I shouldn't have to leave to breast feed to spare my DSIL's feelings?

(98 Posts)
Whosbrightidea Sun 19-Aug-12 03:10:26

My niece is now 6 months old and my DS is 3weeks.
My SIL had a really hard time trying to establish bf and after 3weeks started exclusively formula feeding. She has really struggled with this emotionally and clearly feels she has let her DD down. She also feels she has been let down by the system (NCT, MW and HV) that made her feel like a bad mother because she is bottle feeding. During the last few months of my pregnancy any time I speak to my brother or SIL they've been telling me how difficult bf is and how I should prepare to fail essentially.

My DB, SIL and niece are coming to stay at my parents house to see my DS next week. I have been lucky enough to establish feeding reasonably well since the birth of my DS and when out and about have been feeding happily, including at my parents house. My mother has asked me to time my visits so as to avoid needing to feed when around SIL (as I am demand feeding and he's only 3weeks old I don't really know how!) or to make an excuse and feed him in another room.

I appreciate thats my SIL is still finding not bf difficult and I don't want to rub it in her face but i dont feel i should have to appolagise for feeding my DS. I only see my brother a couple of times a year and don't appreciate having my time with him limited like that! AIBU to not feel I should have to hide it or should I be more considerate?

CaliforniaLeaving Sun 19-Aug-12 03:15:09

No you shouldn't have to hide. Just go on as normal, it's not your problem as sympathetic as you want to be to your SIL you shouldn't have to hide. 3 weeks olds aren't exactly cooperative when it comes to timing feeds are they hmm

TheQueenOfDiamonds Sun 19-Aug-12 03:16:50

Yanbu. Its not your fault she was unsucessful with BFing, I don't think you should have to make sacrifices because of it. If we all avoided exposing everyone to anything that was difficult we'd have to live our lives in blacked out rooms.

ThisIsNotHoneyDragon Sun 19-Aug-12 05:16:28

Put simply if your baby needs feeding than feed you baby. Your mother has no right to put the emotions of her DIL over the actual physical and emotional well being of her newborn grandchild.

kittyandthefontanelles Sun 19-Aug-12 05:27:08

Congratulations on the birth of your baby and successful feeding establishment!! I had this too. I ignored. You shouldn't have to apologise for or be ashamed of your success. I'm still happily and easily feeding at 9 months and will stop when it suits both of us. I whip them out where and when I need to. Enjoy your baby. It will all be over in a flash.

kittyandthefontanelles Sun 19-Aug-12 05:30:44

To my mother's credit she didn't ask me to stop or hide but my sister in law's frozen-smiled gaze burned into me at every feed and still does. And her comments. Like pps have said, your baby's needs are paramount.

Homebird8 Sun 19-Aug-12 05:37:30

Just wondering if there is anything you could say to DSIL to let her know that everyone knows that she made the right choices for her and her baby and they are both happy and well, and you are making the right choices for you and yours in the same vein. I found the, 'let's compare and contrast and revel in variety' was the best way to go over all sorts of parenting decisions with DSis who made very different ones from me.

Homebird8 Sun 19-Aug-12 05:38:05

Compare and contrast - BUT NOT JUDGE!

Florin Sun 19-Aug-12 05:43:45

That is rediculous. You could get stuck in the other room all day if your ds is going through one of those days when they feed all day and you would completly miss seeing your brother. I coildn't breastfeed however my twin sister who had a baby 3 weeks after me is and has taken to it well. I feel completly fine about this and I am happy to keep her company while she feeds and I don't feel upset feeding my ds a bottle while she breastfeeds hers. I just focus on that it was the right decision for me, dh and ds and focus on the positives of bottle feeding. Also I may not have managed to breastfeed but I was lucky enough to have a text book pregnancy and simple 5 hour labour with no painkillers (compared to my sisters 3 day every intervention possible without having a c section) which she is very jealous of. I think your sil needs to get help to come to terms with not breastfeeding as otherwise she is going to be stuck with being so upset about it forever and it may affect how she bonds with her child.

CurlyKiwiControl Sun 19-Aug-12 05:45:18

I think you are being a tad unreasonable personally.

You're sister in law is obviously very upset by this, and if you feed your DS is front of her, this will probably greatly upset her, and will probably cause a feeling of unease between family members. Is it really worth it?

Your mam was being unreasonable asking you to time visits around DS's feeds (not sure how she thought that would work!)

However, i think it wouldn't be too much of a problem to just say 'off to feed DS, I'll just pop next door for a min' and go into another room. I don't think you need to make a big deal of it imo.

No one is asking you to be ashamed, just be sensitive

Trickle Sun 19-Aug-12 05:49:29

You don't know if your SIL will actually have a problem though, just your mum has asked. I've been in this position, something very painful, made worse by well meaning other people asking stupid things of others that wouldn't cross my mind to ask them to do. Your obviously not going to be4 sat there bragging and showing off and making a big deal about it.

Is it possible SIL knows its her problem not yours and will feel however she is feeling but will take herself off if it's too much and your mum is just being overly sensitive to her and not taking your needs into account - actually made me really angry when I was upset and it was expected that other people would mollycoddle me rather than just getting on with our own lives, the world turns and moves on, no matter how painful that is.

CurlyKiwiControl Sun 19-Aug-12 05:50:21

However, if it is one of those feed feed feed days I realise this may not bevan option, and you may just have to feed him in the room if you want to see your brother, in which case I would make sure I wasn't sitting right next to Sil or directly opposite her for example.

CurlyKiwiControl Sun 19-Aug-12 05:53:27

Also agree with trickle your sister in law may not have a problem any way, its just one of those situations where you play it by ear...

BeeWi Sun 19-Aug-12 06:06:35

Could you ring your brother and have a word on the quiet. Explain that the last thing you want to do is make SIL uncomfortable but you want to be able to spend some time with him, not having to relocate to feed?

Also, while your SIL is visiting, I'd be sure to pay lots of compliments (obviously only ones you believe, though) which show that you think she's doing a fab job of being a mum. Never hurts to boost the esteem of others when they've had a tough time of things. smile

Whosbrightidea Sun 19-Aug-12 06:23:37

Thanks everyone.
My relationship with my SIL is good and I've had several conversations with her about feeding during her pregnancy and since she's had her DD. I have always said that you do what's best for you and your baby. She's never had a problem talking to me about it and she knew I was planning to bf.
My mum tried very hard to support my SIL in continuing to bf but it didn't work. To the best of my knowledge this has come entirely from mum. If SIL was upset I would have expected my brother to speak to me!
I think it'll probably draw more attention to feeding if I keep excusing myself from the conversation. At the moment I feel like I spend the whole day feeding if I have to leave to do i think id be better just staying at home!

Whosbrightidea Sun 19-Aug-12 06:25:55

Thanks BeeWi. Phoning by brother is a good idea.
She IS a great. Mum and her DD is thriving and happy.

CurlyKiwiControl Sun 19-Aug-12 06:40:24

Well that's different then, if you've got a good relationship with her, and you can chat about feeding - in that case I don't fore see a problem.

Sorry, from the op when U said every conversation end with them telling you how hard it was and you would have to give it up, i thought it may have been akward, for you as much as her!

anyway, congrats on your son and enjoy the visit ... That will be fun, a 6 month old and a newborn!

BobbysBeardOfWonder Sun 19-Aug-12 06:41:19

I would think talking about it in advance would be making more of an issue of it than necessary.
You're just feeding your tiny baby. It's that simple. You have every right to do that however and wherever you like.
I am sympathetic to your SIL's feelings but she will have to get used to it as part of your right as the child's parent to bring her up using whatever methods etc you deem most suitable for you as a family. smile

MaliKat Sun 19-Aug-12 06:59:24

Maybe Trickle is right and your mum is just over thinking things because she doesn't want to upset her DIL. Can you imaging the post next week "my MIL is so mean. She knows I have had issues feeding my lo and then she goes and invites her daughter round when we're there just so her daughter can flaunt feeding her baby in my face. She knows its really upset me not feeding my lo, I'm never going to visit them again etc etc!" (not saying this is how your SIL would actually react, but maybe what your mum is afraid of especially if she knows how hard it was for her)

If she's clearly uncomfortable, then just say something like you need some peace and quiet so baby doesn't get distracted. I do this when we're at the IL's (unless we're at the meal table) because I know FIL feels a bit uncomfortable when I'm feeding lo, but would never say anything. I know he appreciates it!

If her lo is 6 months, then will probably be being weaned, so talk to her about that instead of milk. Enjoy the visit!

FutureNannyOgg Sun 19-Aug-12 07:28:58

It sounds to me like your mother is interfering unecessarily.

I also think it's quite unsupportive for you that she is planting the idea in your mind that you shouldn't be feeding around SIL, the doubts that you have could make you self-conscious and undermine your confidence. It is never inappropriate to feed your baby, no matter who you are with or where you are.

My DM is not very supportive of bf, well, she thinks I should feed every 4 hours, not in public, not in front of men, and I should have stopped feeding DS1 (just turned 2) ages ago. She has just left after a 3 day visit to see newborn DS2, and even I, seasoned breastfeeder and peer supporter with tandem nurslings, found myself putting off feeds and being reluctant to feed around her.

I expect your SIL wouldn't want you to go through the struggle she has been through, so would want to support you in establishing bf, which means being able to feed on demand, with no reluctance.

downbythewater Sun 19-Aug-12 07:48:00

If your SIL's baby is 6 months then chances are she will have been in contact with plenty of BF mums over the last 6 months at baby groups, when seeing the HV etc so she will have had to find a way to cope with it.

Leaving the room will just draw attention to it and she will probably feel the need to say something like 'oh don't leave on my account..' and then will feel embarrassed about it and think everyone has been talking about her.

I would just feed when you need to and don't even mention it or bring up the subject unless she does first.

DontmindifIdo Sun 19-Aug-12 07:56:52

My MIL set up a chair in another room for me to feed DS, visits were reduced until I stopped BFing. If you leave the room to feed, it probably will be interpreted by SIL as your mum not being supportive of your feeding, not you leaving for hr account. If she's very pro BFing, then she will want to support you.

Call your DB, ask him if he thinks it will be an issue. I'm sure it will be fine.

diddl Sun 19-Aug-12 08:03:37

Well tbh I think tht it´s really thoughtful of OP´s mum to ask.

Don´t see how it would necessarily work, but she´s essentially saying please take my DILs feelings into account whilst she´s a guest in my house.

She might have got it totally wrong, though & there´s nothing to stop OP talking to her brother, is there?

EMS23 Sun 19-Aug-12 08:16:15

I was your SIL, in that I failed to bf my DD and struggled enormously with that failure.
But I never begrudged friends feeding around me and as luck would have it, every single NCT friend plus two other friends had babies at the same time and all managed to bf successfully.
I'd have been mortified if anyone didn't feed in front of me to spare my feelings and actually, I liked seeing it.
Being a friend is being there for your SIL to talk through her feelings if she wants to, which you have.

I suspect your mum is pre-empting a non existent problem. Ignore her.

GimmieChocolate Sun 19-Aug-12 08:31:36

OP has your SIL ever said anything about it to you? Or is this all from your mum? I was in a similar situation in that my SIL had difficulties establishing BFing and at 14 weeks had to FF her DS as he was "failing to thrive" she says now it was the best thing for him as he's a healthy happy little boy. I'm very fortunate in my 12 week old DD took to BFing like a duck to water. She's a very efficient eater and is doing brilliantly. I needed to BF her at SIL house when she was 4 weeks old and I asked if there was somewhere I could go and do it to be told "oh if you're comfortable with it, just stay there. Do you want a drink?" more concerned about me feeling ok feeding infront of people. you may find she's fine about it. Like PP's have said, it's highly unlikely she's not seen BFing anywhere in the past 6 months. Have you spoken to her about it?

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