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1st pregnancy - advice on covering up please.(12 Posts)
Hello all. I'm currently 10 weeks pregnant with our first baby. I know this is early days but I'm starting to think ahead regarding feeding our baby.
I absolutely want to breast feed but I'm quite anxious for a couple of reasons. Firstly because I actually don't know anyone in my personal life who has sucessfully breast fed their baby. Leading to my second concern of not wanting to be in the 'spotlight' when feeding. We are likely to have lots of friends and family visiting for the first few weeks, as most people do, and I'm very nervous about how I would cope with 'learning' how to feed my baby and not feeling comfortable doing it in front of other people other than DP.
Those of you who feel similar, do you use anything to cover up in public or in company? Does this feel comfortable? Or would you leave the room?
I didnt know anyone who breastfed either. In the early days i left the room it was actually great because it gave me an excuse the escape and have a nap at the same time or mumsnet quietly when it was all getting a bit much for me and the baby downstairs. After i had perfected the latch etc and there was no faffing anymore I used to just put a blanket arond her not over her head but pul it up so it created a shield. Sometimes even now at 11 months i just go upstairs because i just like peace and quiet.
I have a new baby (12 wo) who is exclusively breastfed - no expressing etc. Here's my experience just to give you an example. (Long)
What worked for me was to limit visitors during the first few weeks. I didn't want anyone to expect to visit on day x so I ensured everyone knew beforehand that we'd be in touch to let them know when suited, and visits were timed to suit us. To be honest, people who care are happy with this arrangement - the baby doesn't change much in the early days - and anyone who thinks it's more important for them to visit than for us to establish BF / recover from childbirth etc are not people that I'm bothered about keeping happy.
In the end this was the best decision as I had a bit of recovery to do and DS needed the right environment to encourage him to latch on and feed at all (another thread.) You may know that it helps if your baby is mainly held by you when establishing BF rather than being passed around lots of visitors. Being with mum helps the hormones and it's time you won't get back.
BF was important to me while pg but became a real priority once my baby was born. This meant that any nervousness about BF in public (i.e. in front of others) was quickly replaced by the feeling that if my baby wants fed, he'll be fed. If that meant us going to a quiet room or me getting my boobs out in a shopping centre then fine. While I can get him latched on reasonably discretely now (e.g. in front of visitors) I definitely couldn't in the early weeks. Boob had to be out and feeding was very on/off. Doing this in front of some friends was fine (supportive ones) but I wasn't comfortable doing it in front of other people. Tbh getting DS latched on was difficult enough without wondering what others could see, but that's because of our childbirth experience. I feed confidently in public now and wear my normal wardrobe. Usually with a stretchy vest (from Primark) and do the vest down / top up approach but I often don't bother with a vest anymore. Any top that's easy to pull up (i.e. not too fitted) is fine. Wear an open cardi on top to restrict the side view. Or use a pashmina etc. Practice at home, you'll be surprised how easy it is.
In summary, BF was more important to me than keeping visitors happy. To me, BF meant putting my baby first, so it was no issue to arrange visitors around him. Once we'd practiced a bit it became easy to latch him on discretely and I now feel that BF is a lovely thing to do. We can be spontaneous about staying out longer than planned and if we were ever stuck in a traffic jam or life or whatever, he'd be fine as long as I'm there.
Most women who are breastfeeding barely show any flesh at all, even without using a breastfeeding cover but it can take a bit of practice. You can either wear two tops, one little strappy one which you pull down and another covering one which you pull up, practice in front of a mirror and you will be surprised how little is showing once baby's head is also in the way. I also got a few breastfeeding tops and dresses and most of them showed very little at all.
A few ladies on here have got nursing covers for feeding. I got one but never used it for feeding, only when I was expressing in the car with a breastpump.
Also, don't be afraid to ask people not to visit until you are ready. Tell your dh/dh to act as visitor-police and not to be afraid to say you are resting/in the shower etc. Some people will try to barge in regardless but you are entitled to a babymoon!
HAve to say, I am now expecting my fifth baby, and this has become less and less of an issue with me. With my first, I always covered up/went to feeding rooms/ went to a different room to feed. Now, I honestly feel that if someone has a problem with bfing then it is their issue and I won't pander to it. I particularly feel that you shouldn't have to go to another room in your own home to feed your own baby and any visitors who feel otherwise should NOT be welcome to come again!
I have a 4wo baby, and bf in front of people really worried me when I was pregnant. The reality has been much better than I imagined The first times in front of visitors made me a bit nervous, but now I don't care. I don't really feel 'in the spotlight' like I thought I would as now it just takes a couple of minutes to get set up and latch her on, and then I can just join in the conversation again.
My technique is to hook a blanket under my bra strap which then hangs down in a triangle over my boob. The baby's head and any flesh are then hidden away, and I can easily peek without showing anything. I have some 'nursing' tops (e.g. From Jojo Maman Bebe) which are very discreet.
The other thing I did at home was make sure I sat on a particular seat that I arranged at an angle with cushions so that I could hide the action from visitors without leaving the room.
Having said that, I didn't have many visitors in the first week, and I spent most of the time in bed with the baby so had lots of chances to practice. Plus baby got the hang of it and can latch on well without too much guidance from me, so I'm lucky in that respect.
Lots of breastfeeding support groups welcome pregnant women and you'd get more of an idea of what it entails and also what it looks like. It will also mean you are going to a friendly face if you do have an issues that need ironing out once your baby is here.
Lots of people start by draping a scarf or tucking a muslin in their bra but some babies object to this kind of thing! I was nervous to begin with but honestly you will relax about it after a while (I know sounds odd now) but you are doing a wonderful thing for your baby by breastfeeding and you should feel proud of giving them such a great start in life.
Random members of the public will probably never realise you are feeding or will studious look away, the odd mum might give you a little smile. Family and friends will either ask dumb questions (I know I did) or suddenly need the loo or to make a cuppa once you announce the baby is hungry. And yes it is a great excuse to slope off to the bedroom and get away from it all.
I actually found that my friends and family were almost as awkward as I was about me getting my boobs out in the first few days. They kept offering to leave me to it when it was time for a feed. I took them up on the offer for those few days - they'd go and do something else while I faffed around getting him latched on (which wasn't easy) then when we were settled they'd come back in.
I also found a nursing cover useful. I only used it for the first few weeks when we were still getting the hang of things, then found I didn't need it after a while. They're good for confidence boosting though.
Thanks guys you've been really reasuring and lots of great ideas! I'll be checking in on this thread as my pregnancy progresses to keep myself calm!
This takes me back!!!
I remember when I first came home from hospital with DD I used to draw the living room curtains before feeding her on the sofa. We live on a cul de sac with only 8 houses and they are quite well set back from the road. I look back now and it seems ridiculous that I did that, but it is odd at first.
The first week after DD was born I was in hospital. I had a private room (our local hospital had just re-built its maternity unit so the postnatal ward is all private rooms now - which is nice, but it gets a bit lonely!) and I limited visitors. After the first day when everyone and his wife and dog came to see DD, I stipulated no visitors and the midwives enforced it. As another poster said above, bf was more important to me than visitors.
After a couple of weeks I was still pretty nervous about feeding in public and I would leave the room rather than feed in front of FIL, but it all got a bit of a faff in the end so I started public feeding and nobody batted an eyelid. It became very comfortable very quickly, and now I wish I had felt more relaxed about it from the start. Next time (assuming I am lucky enough to have another baby and bf) I will be much more relaxed about feeding in public etc.
Good luck with it all.
I always found a cardigan very useful for covering up when feeding, also the two tops technique - a vest to pull down underneath a top which you pull up, to save my back I used a widgy cushion which is very padded and keeps baby supported. I used it with my son until he was 2 by which time most of his body was hanging off one end! IME a breastfeeding cover or muslin drew more attention to me than simply getting on with it, most people just think you're having a lovely cuddle with your baby.
Forgot to say, a lot of people seem to have an issue with feeding in front of their FIL as I did initially but sometimes the FIL can be surprisingly good. When I did feed my babies in front of FIL, he would often comment on how the milk straight from the cow was much better for the calf( he came from a farming background) and how the boys would turn out really healthy!
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