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Breastfeeding in someone elses home

(27 Posts)
ConsiderAteMyChips Mon 22-Sep-14 15:18:55

Me and dh went to visit his parents a couple of weeks ago with our 1 month old ds. At first only mil was there and we were sat chatting in the dining room. She left the room for a bit and I started breastfeeding a hungry ds. When mil came back in the room she didn't really comment beyond "is he feeding?" or something like that.

I stopped thinking he'd finished but he clearly wanted more. I started to latch him back on when we heard the front door opening. It was fil, their daughter my sil and her dh. My dh went out the room to greet them.

None of them could see me as I was still in the dining room. Mil hissed at me "do it discreetly" and then went out the room holding the door shut and telling them I was feeding. I took a while to get him latched on because I felt really nervous/upset at her tone. By the time I had, a few of them, lead by my dh, had entered the room. Everyone followed in and I don't think anyone realised she had been trying to stop them.

I felt upset at the time but after we got home felt angry. I'm not an extrovert by any stretch and I am discreet. We are supposed to be visiting again and I'm feeling nervous. If ds wants to eat should I leave the room? Part of me wants to say to dh I'm not going somewhere I feel uncomfortable feeding my son. I haven't told him what happened.

Should I have left the room or asked her permission in the first place? I'm sure I am being oversensitive but the way she said it made me feel like crap.

ConsiderAteMyChips Mon 22-Sep-14 15:33:21


DuelingFanjo Mon 22-Sep-14 15:45:34

I am of the 'do it where ever you want' persuasion and would be angry too but I am now feeding a three year old and actually do move to a more discreet place when in other people's homes because I know most people find feeding a three year old a bit weird, plus he is very wriggly ... but A ONE MONTH OLD?! I would be pissed off too.

I think you need to talk to DH maybe, see if he has any inkling what his mum is like RE feeding, how much of a battle it's likely to become etc. Then base your action on that. Do you want the hassle for example?

Are YOU comfortable feeding in front of people? If so then I think you need to grit your teeth and get on with it because they need to learn that this is how you will be feeding.

BiggerYellowTaxi Mon 22-Sep-14 15:53:16

My MIL had a tendency to usher everyone out of the room when I was feeding which left me alone and lonely as I was feeding so often at first. She did it at my house as well as hers. It got better though. I've had a second child no one cares when I breastfeed. MIL is in no way anti-breastfeeding but just got anxious about other people getting uncomfortable.

I'd get your DH onboard and give it one more go. If she's funny with you this time, you go home. I hope she's chilled out a bit.

ChilliMum Mon 22-Sep-14 16:01:56

Hmmm. I was going to say I always asked before feeding at someone else's house I think it is just good manners. That said I don't think I ever asked my ils. We were there so much and I just felt comfortable enough to do it (even though my lovely fil would suddenly remember an important job he must rush off and finish smile ).

Do you have a good relationship with your mil? Could you ask her? I think her reaction was odd for what it's worth but I also think it might be a generation thing I know a few people who didn't bf in public because to them it was a private thing.

I hope you work it out. I don't think you can realistically pop out to another room every time your baby is hungry.

Congratulations on your baby by the way.

MrTumblesBavarianFanbase Mon 22-Sep-14 16:04:38

I always went upstairs at my in-laws,but tbh they do long visits (cultural) and I liked having g the excuse for time alone grin

ConsiderAteMyChips Mon 22-Sep-14 16:08:12

Yes I am bumping again whilst wishing that I had been brave enough to post in aibu.

ConsiderAteMyChips Mon 22-Sep-14 16:09:12

Sorry ignore my last bump blush my phone obviously didn't refresh properly blush

TheOriginalWinkly Mon 22-Sep-14 16:12:02

DD is almost 3 months. I figured I would start the way I meant to go on with her and just fed her where I was when she was hungry. Otherwise I would have been bobbing up and down, in and out of the room when she was having a growth spurt (which has felt like almost all the time!) and there would be no point in visiting. So in my opinion, they can make you welcome when you visit or you don't visit.

milkingmachine1 Mon 22-Sep-14 16:16:53

I think you should ask your DH to speak to his parents about this. The reality is that babies feed a lot, especially newborns! I don't know how much time you are going to spend in the company of your in-laws but you don't really want to be worrying every time baby needs feeding.
Obviously you don't want to feel uncomfortable and I'm sure you don't want them to be uncomfortable but really I think your mil was being a bit ridiculous. You've just had a baby and babies needs trump anyone else's in my view!! Good luck with it and congrats in your little one.

ConsiderAteMyChips Mon 22-Sep-14 16:30:14

Thanks everyone. I've been nervous about feeding but have done it in front of my own family. When friends and other family visited in the first 2 weeks I went into the bedroom but didn't plan to keep that up for good.

Mil didn't breastfeed and has (unprompted) given me several different reasons why. I don't know if she feels guilty or what but I am not judging her. I was going to bottle feed if breastfeeding didn't work out. She's the same generation as my dm (maybe 5 years older) and dm doesn't think I should hide away.

She's recently made comments about awful working mothers who have their children in childcare until 6 or 7pm... She must know that my single parent, working mother did this. She also told me lots of labour horror stories in my last couple of months of pregnancy.. What every first time mum needs to hear.

I've never been a massive fan of her or fil. They've got some very narrow racist, sexist views and I often bite my tongue in their company. I don't think either of them are malicious though.. Just very ignorant perhaps. I do feel like mils attitude towards me changed since I got pregnant. I don't think dh would do anything.. After telling him how appalling I found their racisim at the start of our relationship, I tend to refrain from saying anything now. It is his parents after all.

MediumOrchid Mon 22-Sep-14 16:39:09

I'd be really angry at that too. Your baby is tiny and needs food regularly. Why on earth shouldn't you feed your ds when he needs it, if that's in front of other people so what, no-one would mind if you gave him a bottle in front of them.

In other people's houses I generally tended to say 'you don't mind if I feed her do you?', whilst starting to get ready to - no-one ever said 'yes I do mind'! You shouldn't need to say this though, I just found it was a way to warn people who perhaps weren't as familar with breastfeeding what we were about to do.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 22-Sep-14 16:44:54

Were you actually doing it indiscreetly or merely not shut away by yourself? Most women I've ever seen BFing are doing it discreetly.

I really don't think you should have left the room. You're legally entitled to BF in public, it is a totally normal, natural thing to do.

You probably should talk to your DH and ask him what he thinks - perhaps he can have a quiet word with his mother to update her to the 21st century.

In terms of the generation thing... I was a bit unsure of what my ILs reaction would be so I took DD round the corner of their L-shaped room. FIL - who was a very proper gentleman in his 80s, and this was 15 years ago - turned up a few minutes later with a cup of tea for me and chatted a bit.

ConsiderAteMyChips Mon 22-Sep-14 16:45:08

Thanks medium that's a good tip for what to say when at friends houses and so on. I'm assuming in your own home you just start doing it without asking? Hmm will be interesting to see how mil reacts if she is at ours.

I thought the same no-one minding a bottle. I understand why but it does make me angry because logically both mothers are feeding their baby so should get the same treatment.

duchesse Mon 22-Sep-14 16:50:07

FGS. Just try to to ignore your MIL if you can OP. Of course you shouldn't need to ask for permission! I'm just guessing that it's their first grandchild? MIL will get used to it, as will your DH entire family. The only way that's going to happen is if they see it happen. Your bloody weird MIL was only airing her own neuroses.

ShergarAndSpies Mon 22-Sep-14 17:09:40

I find saying to the baby quite loudly something like 'right baby, time for your feed' is a useful way of giving unobservant in laws the heads up what will be coming next and if they decide they have urgent business elsewhere then fair enough.

But after saying that, I do just get on and feed anywhere and everywhere and I would certainly be telling your DH and expecting him to have a word with MIL in your position.

Given that currently you are the sole person feeding their DGC and going to considerable time and trouble to do so in the way that is proven to be ideal for the baby, they should be worshipping the sodding ground you walk on. And then bringing you a cup of tea while you do so.

merrymouse Mon 22-Sep-14 17:16:16

I think you should clearly say what you are going to do before you visit and let them be awkward and embarrassed if they want to be.

Having said that I had many a happy hour at my in laws reading a book upstairs while I was 'discretely' breast feeding. It can be a blessing in disguise. Months of happy discrete visits. Got through lots of Ian rankin.

Littlef00t Mon 22-Sep-14 17:23:06

Yep I'm another who says you don't mind if I feed dd do you? Doesn't really give them the option to say no!

NotCitrus Mon 22-Sep-14 17:25:19

Some people think you'll want to be alone, especially for the latching on bit. My dad was uncomfortable being around the latching bit just in case, so it was best to say ds needed a feed, and ask for a glass of water/coffee. Dad soon treated it as routine and would then be fine around me.

If your MIL is just looking for a whinge, though, you're a bit stuffed - retreating with a good book may be easiest.

QuintessentiallyQS Mon 22-Sep-14 17:26:59

I just would not go until baby was feeding less frequent. Let your husband tell them the reason you wont be coming is that they were clearly uncomfortable with you breastfeeding in their home, and future visits will be when baby is older and you can time your visits between feeds.

That might make them think a little. And if not, their loss.

(what inconsiderate oddballs they are)

LoveBeingAwakeInTheNight Mon 22-Sep-14 17:31:14

Excusing myself to bf was a brilliant way to get away from the in laws grin

At there's, or some friends I was ask if I could borrow another room to feed in good friends/my parents/ out and about I just got on with it. Let her approach you if she's got a problem with it.

ConsiderAteMyChips Mon 22-Sep-14 18:18:09

Errol your fil sounds absolutely lovely.
I was not being indiscreet in my view..well there was absolutely nothing on display.. You'd have seen more if I was wearing a low cut top.

ConsiderAteMyChips Mon 22-Sep-14 18:20:39

Oh and duchesse this is their fifth grandchild! I think all the others were bottle fed though so wouldn't have been an issue.

ProudAsPunch92 Wed 24-Sep-14 17:02:29

Let me ask you this - would she stop them entering the room if you were feeding your baby a bottle? I am pretty certain the answer is no. I really don't understand why you should have to ask to feed your baby, it baffles me!

Pifflingcodswollop Sun 19-Oct-14 15:18:01

I'm always surprised by people's reactions,a close friend of mine was giving off about her SIL breast feeding her nephew in her parents house saying it was 'totally unnecessary'??? Surely feeding is one of the most necessary things for a baby,but she obviously meant when he could be having a bottle.
I found the conversation pretty uncomfortable as I'm sure I breastfed in front of her several times with mine.
I would give it another go at her house and if you get the same treatment not visit for a while,if she asks why your DH can explain. You shouldn't worry at all about it,you are doing nothing wrong!

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