to breastfeed in front of my parents?(110 Posts)
Sad question to be asking.
My parents and sister + family are visiting to meet DS, they're arriving next week.
When my sister had her DD, my mother told her breastfeeding in front of other people was disgusting, and my father stared so much at her breasts that she quickly felt too uncomfortable to feed in public at all. So she fed her DD in the bedroom and weaned her by 7 months. Parents thought that was appropriate and will often complain about women "who feel the need to show off their bodies in public just to make a point" - by breastfeeding.
I'm much older, have seen more of the world, and am far bolshier than my sister was. I've got to 5 months of breastfeeding DS wherever and whenever, in public, and have only had a couple of incidents where I've needed to employ the steely gaze.
However as is ofen the way I am reduced to a quivering teenager by my parents (who have never been remotely empathetic or seen any need to modify their own behaviours or judgements). I'm feeling worried and embarrassed and they're not even here til Thursday. I know their judgement on this is horrendously out of step with normality. I also know they'll be judgememental and my father will stare.
Also if I feed in front of my sister she's going to resent me. She'll be a cow about it. Her husband will probably be rude about it.
DS will pick up on the atmosphere and get distracted & grizzly.
It would be easier for everyone if I just went to the bedroom to feed while they're here. And that makes me furious.
Wow! What strange views to have on something that is so natural and is literally someone having their lunch/dinner etc!
When at home, I breastfed when ever DS needed to be fed and no one seemed phased. When he was around 4/5 days old MIL was round and he needed feeding; I have never seen someone move so fast! She was in my kitchen, hiding round the corner, quicker than quick! She stayed there till I finished. After that if he needed feeding I would just take myself upstairs.
So, your parents are only visiting for a week? Personally I'd save the peace and just go some where else, save the weird conversations!
Just go upstairs to make yourself comfortable. To be honest i have never fed infront of people unless i used a covering. People hve strange attitudes and it made me feel more comfortable. Go upstairs and you can feed in peace x
Your parents sound toxic and I'm not sure I'd advise having them at your house at all. They sound like the kind of people you need to have limited contact with.
Have you ever come across the Stately Homes thread?
On this particular issue, if you must have them in your home, I suppose it would be easier all round to breastfeed in a separate room, but you shouldn't have to do that - hence my suggestion of not hosting them in the first place My line would be that if they don't like you breastfeeding they can fuck off, but that might mean some drama that you don't want.
I would feed in front of all of them, and also argue with my parents very vigorously. It sounds like you are not close to yours though, if they haven't met your 5 month old, so you have a different relationship. This is something I feel strongly about; I would be furious and that would give me the energy to stand up for what I believe is right.
Assuming your DS is old enough to vaguely predict when he will feed (I.e. Not when you are trying to eat your meals), I would take advantage of getting peace and quiet from visitors and feed elsewhere. Such a shame you can't wash up/watch that shite your DF wants to/play charades, baby needs feeding....!
How on earth is breastfeeding "showing off your body"? They sound ridiculous and I'd be inclined to tell them not to bother visiting if they can't cope with you feeding your child. If you still want them to come though, use it to your advantage and go to the bedroom to get away from them for a bit. Relax, catch up on some tv, mumsnet etc. Stay there as long as you want, as long as possible in fact, just to wind them up.
Good luck spending a whole week with them, you have my sympathies.
Your father stared at his daughter's breasts while she was feeding her child?
Is your sister going to be there as well? Why would your sister resent you for sticking up for yourself?
The OP hasn't said how long they're staying for.
I sincerely hope it isn't for a whole week.
Also, what does your dh/dp think about this? I think this could quickly spiral in making you depressed if you don't have someone to support you. I would think twice about having them there at all if they don't respect you, your home or your decisions.
Your Father stared at your sister's breasts yet you're still in touch with him?
I'm confused by some of the timescales in the OP. Why would your sister resent you feeding your 5-month-old when she fed her son until 7 months? And 7 months isn't especially early to wean a child from the breast in the UK (unfortunately) - in fact, your sister did really well if she got that far, especially with your parents being so unsupportive.
Then again, I also wondered how you managed to go 5 months without your parents meeting your baby. If this is correct, you don't seem to have a particularly close relationship with them. This would probably make me less inclined towards confronting their unhealthy attitude to breastfeeding, to be honest.
I'd tell them that because you are breast feeding and your sure they'd feel uncomfortable they should stay in a hotel.
Your house, your baby, your boobs, your rules.
Through six children all breastfed to around two years, the only negative comment or look I ever had was from my mother. With first she pointed out where lavatories were when we were out having coffee and she was very uncomfortable with me feeding in front of my husband and early adult foster son (who thought it was the coolest thing ever). I decided it was her hang ups about her body and it wasn't going to derail me from being comfortable with mine. I was never 'get both the girls out fully' brigade (nothing wrong with that but not me) always fed reasonably discreetly without a big song and dance. Even if she couldn't see anything my mother started bristling just imagining what I was doing. I didn't want you to deliberately make her feel uncomfortable so suggested she did something else (make a cup of tea and put some washing on usually) whilst I fed. I didn't skirt around the issue but wasn't going to be forced to hide so felt explicit discussion was best.
With several of them it might be trickier and rather than total relationship meltdown it might be simpler to pop upstairs to feed so you're still relaxed and baby gets fed without judgement. In discussion I'd simply say "You're wrong, extended breastfeeding has huge benefits for the intellectual and physical development of Fred".
I'd like to say feed in front of them.
I think I'd be rather glad of an easy (and frequent) opportunity to get away from them.
Just tell them before they come and make it a condition of their visit that if they do come no comments or staring takes place.
That way they can decide not to come and you'll be off the hook.
claraschu yes that would be my inclination, but as you point out the relationship is not close at all, so it's not as though arguing would achieve anything other than a miserable visit.
serialrejoiner neither of my parents has any empathy much. It wouldn't occur to either of them to deliberately try not to do or say something in order to make someone else feel comfortable. So more self-centred 70 something year old man who gives no thought to others, than actually creepy. That doesn't stop that kind of thing feeling incredibly intrusive though.
In your position I'd use a feeding apron. There's is no point being bolshy about it- your parents sound bloody minded and stupid, and I'm not sure whether you're saying your dad is a pervert. Your sister will be resentful. For the sake of your sanity and just getting your baby fed just use a apron
Yes I'd maybe feed in a separate room. However, it's your house and it's them with the weird issues, so if you're sitting comfortably in the living room and the baby wants fed, then I'd stay where you're comfortable and tell your weird parents to go elsewhere for half an hour. They can mill around the kitchen or something.
Why would your sister be annoyed?
Your house, your baby, your boobs, your rules.
They sound like bullies. Personally I would feed around them and wouldn't go upstairs unless I wanted to be alone. I would use a scarf/shawl to stop the staring though. I fed in front of my mum/step dad but not fil because that's how I felt comfortable. My mother was a bit like this. But I just ignored her crap and did as I felt was right.
I would just do it, loose top and a muslin to be discreet but I wouldn't be hiding upstairs in my own house. If my parents had an issue I would say they didn't have to be there.
Do whatever makes you feel more comfortable. Your parents views are massively wrong, but you know that already.
I didn't feed in front of my dad until baby no 2 though and even then hardly at all. I found it very hard to be discreet with no 1. I could tell dad felt very uncomfortable (dived into kitchen to wash up even though there wasn't really any to do!) so I tried to be sensitive to that and not put him in the position. It's different as dad would never have dreamt of criticising me for feeding, but avoiding them whilst feeding wasn't hard if that's what you choose to do.
inthrnickersoftime sister would resent me for breastfeeding in front of people because she resents everyone who chooses to do something she herself has not dared to do.
caspergutman see above re sister. My family haven't met DS because my mother went round telling anyone who would listen "oh we offered to help but we weren't welcome" until about a month ago. She and my father refused to discuss the pregnancy with me and DH, bitched behind our backs to relatives about it, and when she first said aggressively/dismissively "we'd come and help but you wouldn't want us there", on the phone 2 hours after DS had been born, our response was "we would love to see you whenever you'd like to visit; we're probably fine re housekeeping but we'd love you to meet your grandchild".
DH has my back on all this. He agrees my family make the Addams family look normal...
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