Breastfeeding etiquette, Aibu to give mothers space?

(30 Posts)
WingsofNylon Sun 10-Apr-16 18:00:46

I will soon have a handful of close friends and relatives with newborns so want to get this right. My general feeling when a mother starts breastfeeding is to busy myself to give them privacy incase they want it. I don't make a song and dance but will take it as a cue to make a fresh round of tea or clear food etc. This is at my home or thiers, I obviously just carry on with our conversation if we are out.
Good, bad, ridiculous? Is there etiquette here that I don't know about? I am a little prudish about nakedness so part of the leaving is for my benefit.

PurpleDaisies Sun 10-Apr-16 18:03:21

This thread might be enlightening. It's a similar situation but the op is annoyed the dad always leaves when she starts feeding...
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/2609920-To-be-annoyed-at-my-dad-for-making-me-feel-awkward-breastfeeding?pg=1&order=

If you're good friends why don't you ask her what she's most comfortable with?

coconutpie Sun 10-Apr-16 18:05:23

No, don't do that because then it'll make them uncomfortable if the minute they start bf you jump up and "busy yourself". Ask them what they prefer. Would they like some privacy, ie you go put the kettle on while they get baby latched on, or are they happy for you to stay chatting? Some might want to just get baby latched on and then are happy to continue chatting. Others might be fine and feel comfortable with you there. Others may want to go to a different room for some privacy. Don't just assume though!

Birdsgottafly Sun 10-Apr-16 18:05:37

Ask, there's no one answer to this.

I never minded who was about, I also fed everywhere.

My DD didn't mind, either.

LifeIsGoodish Sun 10-Apr-16 18:06:15

Offer me a cup of tea when I'm breastfeeding and I will love you for life!

But please, don't ignore me or pretend that I'm not feeding. Obviously if baby is thrashing or unsettled then a "would you like a bit of privacy?" won't go amiss, but TBH once we've got the hang of it you won't see any nakedness.

I don't mind people asking about what I'm doing.

Nice of you to consider this.smile

OneBiscuitAtATime Sun 10-Apr-16 18:07:21

I second just asking. I found that people who had to leave the room made me feel awkward. I was much happier when friends just averted their eyes and kept chatting.

Sparklingbrook Sun 10-Apr-16 18:07:29

Unless they are going to be sat there starkers I don't think you need to worry too much about nakedness.

Just carry on as normal but if you are unsure ask what they would prefer.

Lollipopstick Sun 10-Apr-16 18:15:33

I breastfed two babies. I prefer when people aren't bothered and just carry on with what we were doing before i started.

If the person wants privacy they can always ask for it - but if they're happy to go ahead then they must be comfortable with you being there. I think asking if they want privacy might indicate you think it is something that needs privacy.

I felt comfortable with people who were comfortable with breastfeeding.

You could take it as a chance to offer tea as that's nice.

WingsofNylon Sun 10-Apr-16 18:15:48

Thanks, yeah with the friends I could ask each at the time. It hadn't really occurred to me! With my sister I don't think it would matter two hoots what I did which is good. I never stay away for ages just enough to let them give the baby full attention rather than have half a conversation while getting them latched on. I guess thats the moment I struggle with. I was hopping there was a nice easy rule though!

Lollipopstick Sun 10-Apr-16 18:16:44

And.. When I was breastfeeding you wouldn't have seen any nakedness - it just looked like I was holding a baby which was asleep

vichill Sun 10-Apr-16 18:17:29

I think to ask in the first months especially if theyre first time breastfeeders. I personally find it a bit awks when people (mil) get up to do something/stares intently at anything in the opposite direction.

Coldtoeswarmheart Sun 10-Apr-16 18:18:34

I wouldn't have expected anyone to do anything different while I fed mine, but a glass of water/ cup of tea would always have been welcome as I was constantly thirsty while BFing.

GabiSolis Sun 10-Apr-16 18:20:32

If they start to feed without a word, don't say a word about it. Take your cues from your friends, that's the best way to know what's appropriate.

I've only had one friend who was skittish about feeding in front of people (not sure why) and I'm pretty sure it was less about how she personally felt and more about not wanting to get comments or making others feel uncomfortable. Once she realised no one cared, neither did she!

kinkytoes Sun 10-Apr-16 18:20:44

I'd personally feel a little offended on behalf of me and my baby if you disappeared every time I breastfed. Baby has to eat, and in the early days it'll be quite a frequent occurrence! Offer me a drink or tidy things away by all means, but don't wait till I'm feeding to do it.

TimeOfGlass Sun 10-Apr-16 18:23:12

I preferred it when people just carried on as normal - if I'd wanted privacy I'd have excused myself and gone to another room or asked them for privacy.

But if you're unsure, then yes, ask your friends what they'd prefer.

cornishglos Sun 10-Apr-16 18:24:15

When I am breastfeeding it feels so normal as I do it so many times a day it doesn't really occur to me that I might need privacy or space.

AlleyCatandRastaMouse Sun 10-Apr-16 18:25:30

Tbh I would think you were uncomfortable if you did as you suggest and I associate people's discomfort with BF by their lack of exposure to it. I definitely would not think you were leaving for my benefit so I might start to feel uncomfortable too which is a pity.

My parents used to be dreadfully uncomfortable when I had DD1, they used to ask me to go upstairs to BF supposedly for my own benefit. Then DSIL had her DD and BF and they did not have the nerve to ask her which was just as well because she would have been gone for years grin her kids have BF for 4-5 years a piece so they got used to it and now they have had many more long term BF grandchildren so it would not even occur to them to remotely care so you can actually acclimatise because they were pretty bad.

ShebaShimmyShake Sun 10-Apr-16 18:37:19

I prefer people just carry on as normal. I'm not doing anything offensive. In public or with men around I use a nursing cover simply because I prefer to. I would be a bit upset if the vicinity cleared because I was feeding my daughter. Mothers who prefer privacy will seek it themselves.

SnuffleGruntSnorter Sun 10-Apr-16 18:40:54

I was bowled over by the thoughtfulness of a friend who got me a glass of water when I was breastfeeding because she'd asked a similar question on a parenting site and that was the response. I was so very thirsty every time I fed for the first few months and it meant a lot that she had wanted to make me happy.

Kr1stina Sun 10-Apr-16 18:44:21

Once the baby has the hang of it, there will be no nakedness . Sometimes it's hard in the first few weeks, when baby is a beginner . But unless you are staring hard at precisely the right moment when the baby is latching on/ off , you should be safe smile

Noodledoodledoo Sun 10-Apr-16 19:00:49

Agree with the offering to get drinks etc if you feel a little awkward whilst they get sorted but don't show it. Once established feeders it will barely stop conversations at all!

I was the last of my group of friends to have a baby so spent a lot of time around breastfeeding mums and picked up my cues from them.

BeALert Sun 10-Apr-16 19:17:53

In the early days when it took forever to get the baby latched on I preferred some privacy for the first couple of minutes.

Once we'd got the hang of things I'd have loved a cup of tea and someone to chat to. It can be quite lonely breastfeeding.

ollieplimsoles Sun 10-Apr-16 19:26:31

When baby is first born and feeding all the time (in my case anyway) offering a cup of tea, snack or asking if I need anything passing would be soooo helpful.

Now shes older and its easier the same applies! But I don't mind people asking questions too.

The worst thing though is my nanna- she loves babies and everything about them and when I would sit down to feed she would sit right next to me and literally peer at dd latching on and make comments, It was so terribly off putting.

You can't go wrong with asking 'do you like a bit of privacy when your feeding or are you ok to still talk?'

WingsofNylon Sun 10-Apr-16 19:31:26

Ah, thank you. This is so helpful! I am going to be more relaxed about it now.

ALongTimeComing Sun 10-Apr-16 21:16:36

Basically ignore it but yes don't get right up close and start doing things like stroking the babies hair or cheek.

Also be aware that on the odd occasion milk can spray when the baby pulls off smile. If that does happen laugh it off.

A drinks a good idea "So and so told me that BF makes her really thirsty, can I get you a glass of water?".

Complimenting your friend on how well she is doing will also be well generally well received I think.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now