BF and visitors(31 Posts)
OK, I know in the grand scheme of things this may be the least of my worries once the little one arrives but right now it's playing heavily on my mind and making me reconsider my decision to BF.
I'm really concerned about BF infront of visitors - it makes me feel really uncomfortable when friends have fed in front of me and my husband when we've went to visit (admittedly probably only for the first 2 mins) but I don't think I could feed in front of visitors and considering how long and how often new borns are expected to feed for I don't think disappearing up stairs for every feed is ver feasible with a stream of family / friends that I will want to see and want to see my baby.
Has anyone discovered a good method to combat these issues because although I want my baby to have the very best start I feel this could be enough to put me off especially if other difficulties present themselves (which I'm sure there will be)
Apologies for the long post and I do appreciate I sound a bit pathetic . . .
I hid upstairs for the first 2 days then got over it.
The 2 vests method is really helpful, you don't need to show any flesh- have one breastfeeding top which pulls down under a normal top you pull up, & all you need out is an inch of nipple which your baby will immediately cover up.
Honestly, I was worried/ shy too, but it just seems normal almost immediately.
You can develop a signal so your DH distracts visitors during the ten seconds you are getting the baby on, too -bringing out fancy biscuits is a good one!
You will feel different once the baby arrives. The thought freaked me out too, but I just got on with BF whenever Ds needed a feed.
Yes, BF makes some people feel uncomfortable, but BF is all about your baby and you, not other people. Friends who have babies will hardly bat an eye lid. However, I did find it a useful way to get rid of people who had overstayed their welcome!
Whatever you do don't disappear upstairs if you have visitors. it's your house, feed where you would usually feed when you have guests. Anyone who is uncomfotable, well it's their problem not yours.
no not pathetic but it makes me sad that our society leads to people feeling this way! what was it that made you uncomfortable watching others feed? i worried about this with my first (flashing boob etc) and did go to another room for the first few days then you get so good at getting baby on/off without showing anything and you are so used to doing it it becomes second nature and now i am on my third baby i don't even think about it at all just pop baby on.
honestly i wouldn't have it any other way now and i am so proud to feed my baby! most people don't even notice when you feed its your own feelings about this you need to address, why dont you visit some places frequented by feeding mothers and get used to seeing it happen around you and you will see it as the normal way to feed your baby. are you going to antenatal classes? i gained so much confidence feeding with others, it became the norm (it is the norm!) I find that if people are uncomfortable they will look away as you attach baby and then relax as feeding goes on. please dont worry about it, i would try and spend some time with other breastfeeding mums to address your issues.
I do agree with shel but I totally understand the concern.
Really, lots of visitors in the first few days aren't good anyway, so try limiting them to your closest friends and family who you may be more comfortable with anyway.
Once the first flush of people is past, you'll likely be left alone so if you can have a strategy to get through that it would be a shame to not BF if you wanted to do so because of that worry.
There are certainly ways of dealing with it. You can feed under a blanket if you wish. It's faffy and you will probably need help from your husband, but it's only for those few days and you can then get on with practising latching until you do it without thinking about it.
In a few weeks you'll be latching your baby with no one seeing anything and without even thinking twice
It is tough when you're not used to seeing people BF. But you have supportive friends - as they've BF too - so don't worry, they'll be fine. If you know that someone will embarass you then just avoid them if you can, or get your OH to take them away while you feed.
When you have the time, practising in front of a mirror can help.
What I did was found the best spot in the living room where I could feed discretely. For me it was the near corner of one particular sofa which was at right angles to the other sofa then I made sure it was obvious where i was sitting. Does that make sense? I hated it too and with DD1 went upstairs all the time or avoided having visitors so with DD2 I made sure I had a plan.
Also made sure I was dressed for public feeding - vest under loose floaty top. Top comes up, vest goes down - very little exposure.
The first time you feed in front of someone is nervewracking for most people I think, it certainly was for me. The second time less so and then before you know it youre answering the door while feeding!
Keep visitors away for the first couple of weeks - baby won't change much in that time anyway. We only had parents over for short bursts.
That gives you time to get used to BF.
Also why should the needs of your baby come before the feelings of your visitors? It's your baby's home too (ok bit extreme but you catch my drift).
Thanks for all the advice, I agree that my nervousness should definitely not be a BF'ing deal breaker but it's taking up a lot of my thoughts just now. I think my main issue is that although my friends will probably be fine with it I'd be the only person in either mine or my husbands families to have BF (and we have 10 neices and nephews between us) so our families have been surprised already that we plan to BF and I just can not imagine BF infront of my MIL and FIL . . .
Don't feel bad about the way that you feel, just do what feels natural and comfortable for you.
I went upstairs to feed my baby initially. My SIL had always chosen to go in another room to feed her baby, so it was seen as norm to do so, especially in dh family. Later I progressed to quietly stating 'Does anybody mind if I start feeding the baby?'. I say 'stated', because I had no intention of not doing so, but I felt it at least gave them fair warning to vacate the room. No-one ever did though. Except poor FIL who is banished from the room by MIL whenever I want to feed. Clearly she thinks he is far too sensitive to witness this, despite the fact that he, all his bros/sis and both his own children were bf.
Nowadays I feed in front of most relatives and female friends and no problem with strangers. I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I still haven't manage to crack feeding in front of dh male friends and still prefer to squirrel myself off somewhere, but I don't beat myself up about it
Next time round I feel like I'll be braver sooner. Plus I'll have the clothing techniques as described on this thread e.g. vest and loose top combo all worked out from the get go, which is half the battle of feeding in front of others ime
1. Breastfeeding is an excellent excuse to bugger off upstairs and be by yourself for a bit. Visitors are lovely, but you will be knackered and hormonal and "just nipping upstairs to feed" is the ace up your sleeve.
2. You know the point in an action movie where Jean Claude Van Dam says "Now I'm really pissed off" and ties on his bandana and kicks bad guy ass? Well, you might find that having a baby is that moment in your life. Frankly, having just pushed something the size of a watermelon through a hole the size of a grape, giving myself piles in the process; having sore boobs, trouble feeding; having 5 different body fluids on my t-shirt at any one time - all of those things are fine and I can deal with them, but you know what? FiL and his sensibilities can fuck off to potter around in the kitchen if he really can't cope with the idea of being in the same room as my boobs for the next 25 minutes. I was going to feed my baby, and big hairy bollocks to anyone who had even the mildest problem with that. In the nicest possible way, of course.
I have done this:
Thrown a blanket/sheet over me and DD to cover boobs and flab.
Gone to bedroom to do it.
Worn a cardigan to wrap around us.
I now have a wrap which I got from eBay - search for breastfeeding cover or nursing cover. It goes around my neck and is boned at the neckline so I can still see baby, and covers everything. It's pretty too! DD is 8 mths now but I still use it when out and about.
I'd limit visitors initially anyway - after that wear a vest under a floaty top as mentioned. No need to go upstairs yourself but you could always say something like "ooh, the baby needs feeding" to give people an opportunity to go and make a cuppa if they want to.
There is a good chance they'll feel like you did when you saw other people bf, or they won't be bothered at all. Either reaction will probably make you feel better.
Think of it as educating your friends and relations! Seeing a baby breastfeeding makes it more normal in society and then others are more likely to do it too
Another idea is to have a look at slings or baby carriers which can be used for feeding, they hide pretty much everything (as long as you choose your clothes carefully). My sling isn't ideal for feeding but I still had someone come up to me at the bus stop the other day asking to look at the baby- she had no idea DD was latched on and happily feeding.
I am now a BFing pro having Bfed two DDs for 12 months each and now 6m on with DS and I still find it uncomfortable feeding in front of my MIL! Mainly because she loiters centimetres from my boob and peers, and the first time she did, she talked to me about how she hadn't been able to BF my DH's younger brother because her nipples were too pale!!! WTF??!! Still sends shivers down my spine to think of that one
If ever feeling 'exposed' I would drape a muslin cloth over my shoulder to cover my boobs. Doesn't bother me with anyone else and the double vest top is a good one.
my 3rd baby is nearly 6months old, i fed my last 2 for 12months and think i've only ever fed in front of visitors when another bf mummy with her similar aged baby was visiting!
i was v.lukcy that my baby feeds v.quickly and used it as an excuse to get some peace and quiet and baby back to myself from the stream of visitors.
restrict the visitors and make the most of the newborn phase. they will only stress you out (and baby if it's passed round too many people for too long) .
allhailtheaubergine all hail indeed!
I used to love the excuse to go upstairs and feed and escape for a bit of peace and perhaps a little power nap. I don't feed now in front of FIL but in the early days if he popped over I would just put a blanket over us both.
Although it does feel like you are feeding your newborn 24 hours a day, you probably won't be. I was also a bit embarassed to start with (especially re. FIL) but actually both my babies slept for decent periods in the late morning/early afternoon (they were awake from early evening, all through the night though!) so I actually didn't have to feed them much in front of others. In the first few days I just tried to schedule visits for when suited me best.
If you really feel uncomfortable feeding in front of others, then go upstairs or in another room just for the first few days. Or encourage your DH to entertain any embarrassed visitors in another room just when you are feeding if that helps you feel less uncomfortable. I used to announce 'I am going to feed the baby in the other room if anyone wants to keep me company.' Chances are the people I really wanted to chat too (DSis, DM, close friends) would join me, and those less enlightened (FIL, MIL, BIL) could stay in the main room.
I know what you mean and I felt the same at first. I blush now at remembering asking the health visitor if she minded me feeding in front of her: in my house! That's what she had come to see! Ridiculous but it's all new to you at first. I found it best to warn people so they gad the chance to escape subtly and put the kettle on - just by saying "oh I think she needs a feed now" or "are you hungry little one?" you give them a bit of warning before baring all. Covering up is fine but don't let it get in the way of getting baby latched on properly.
Hello I was upstairs every feed for the first 2-3weeks when we had visitors and didn't like doing it but it helps you keep calm and relaxed making attachment easier! On a trip to mothercare I found the discreet feeding tops very expensive for what they were and decided to get an apron type thing! It's by bebe au lait and it is a piece of material with a rigid neckline so you can see what your newborn is up to! They are £25 ish and worth every penny I'm still using it now at 10weeks when we are out and about or have visitors! Everybody that has seen it has commented how good it is...it can be used as protection from the sun when your baby Is carried in a sling/carrier. I was advised that they are fantastic as your baby gets older as it prevents distraction whilst feeding!
zobofrags that sounds the same as what I use but got mine from eBay for a few quid. Fab aren't they?
I hung a muslin off my bra strap in the early days with ds1. it gave me some privacy to latch. until we both got the hang of bf, it did take me a while to get him on, and I am not comfortable with most people seeing my breasts. after a few weeks, I found we were able to bf discreetly in front of anyone. but it was a help in the early weeks.
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