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  • "jen84288" started this thread

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Saturday, August 11th 2012, 8:20am

feeding in public

hi ladies - just looking for some opinions.

I quit breastfeeding early on with my first daughter. I struggled with her latch, thrush and a bit of PND...i also dont think it helped how uncomfortable i was with feeding infront of others. I live close by to DH's family but not my own. As it happens with my newest daughter i feel it is going much better and i am really enjoying feeding her. In my family it is (and always has been) totally okay to just feed infront of my mum, dad, brother, bil, sister etc and this is what my sister has always done when feeding her 3. but i have had a few comments from MIL which makes me feel uncomfortable. I remember her making me feel a bit uncomfortable with my first but yday we called round to their house and C needed a feed. I asked FIL if it would be okay to feed her in the conservatory ( they were sitting in the living room but you can see into the conservatory if you look) MIL quickly said i think you'd be more comfortable upstairs. it makes me feel really uncomfortable - especially because when im out in public with her i dont want to feel i cant feed my baby. She'd have had a duck egg if she'd have seen me yday afternoon- i had an urgent eye appointment (ive lost almost all the sight in one eye since giving birth) and i literally had to get out the door and didnt have anything with me except the baby. She needed feeding so i had to do it in the corridor of the eye hospital and while the eye dr examined my eye without a feeding scarf or anything....do you think this is okay to do? (not that i had alot of choice lol) do you ladies feed openly in public?
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Saturday, August 11th 2012, 8:29am

Hi Jen, it all depends who I'm with and where I am as to how openly I feed but ultimately if DS needs food then I'll feed him. I usually throw a muslin over just to show I'm feeding so if someone feels uncomfortable they can keep their distance.

I have a fantastic feeding top from h&m which is so discreet and people are amazed when they realise I'm feeding him. It helps to wear it when I'm around people I know less well as when I feel nervous DS picks up on it and it makes feeding harder.

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Saturday, August 11th 2012, 9:26am

It is unlucky your MIL is difficult with BF but you might be able to buy one of those feeding aprons (sorry not sure of proper name lol). I was feeding my first one in public with no probs (but both our families are ok with it and like your sis my SIL-s fed all theirs in public when needed) but saw one of my friends using this apron and it really is fab a lot easier than putting a muslin over. You can buy it for around £10 on the net so should be worth for the peace with in-laws. Some people don't understand the ease and benefits of BF so maybe taking your MIL along to a BF group might help too. Oh and if you plan to carry on feeding as long as your DD would like to expect to get a few comments on that too... but it really is the best, easiest & cheapest option :-) you will never have trouble packing your changing bag.

Congrats for your new arrival :-)

xxx Rianon

PS: hope you eye is OK!!

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "rianon" (Aug 11th 2012, 9:27am)


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Saturday, August 11th 2012, 1:18pm

Bah, it sounds to me like it's your MIL who would have been 'more comfortable' with you going upstairs!

I think a lot of it is down to confidence and experience. I had a breast feeding apron in the early days but once I'd got the hang of things I got fed up with it and just used to feed Freya with a muslin over me. TBH, most people don't pay you the slightest bit of attention, they are too wrapped up in themselves to really notice. I used to feed her in coffee shops all the time and I never received a negative comment. I fed Freya for 18 months in the end (by the end it was only a bedtime feed and she'd pretty much stopped needing anything in the day by just over a year) and I am very much hoping to due the same with my new baby.

I used to just wear a strappy vest under my T-Shirt so I wasn't baring any flesh and can also thoroughly recommend Lily Padz. They are silicone breast pads that are a million times nicer than the disposable ones. They don't show under your clothes and they don't get all soggy as they stick on and the pressure stops you from leaking too much. Not cheap as £15 a pair but if you look after them they last a good couple of months.

Stick with it, it sounds like you are doing a fine job. :)

I hope your eye can be sorted out, I can't imagine how scary that must be.

xxxxx

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Saturday, August 11th 2012, 2:10pm

What they said!

I remember asking an assistant in Asda if it was ok to feed my baby in their cafe, she looked at me shocked and said "OF COURSE IT'S ALRIGHT!!!! IT'S NOT AS IF YOU'RE GOING TO STRIP NAKED IS IT?!" and I thought, well, she's right. We do feel a bit exposed at the beginning but with a bit of time you'll have the bra unclipped, the top whipped up and the baby on before anyone's had a chance to notice. Your top will fall onto baby's face and you carry on eating one handed or drinking your coffee (or having your eye checked)!

Most people would much rather have a lady discreetly feeding her baby than have to listen to piercing screams.

I used to wear a jacket so that I wasn't exposing my back or side, the baby covers your tummy and your top will cover the top of your chest. There's no need to have anything exposed once your baby's on so it's really just a case of getting the nipple out of your clothes and into the baby's mouth as quickly as possible. It's very do-able without causing a scene.

Once you've mastered it I wouldn't ask MIL again, just feed your baby without mentioning it and they'll soon see how very little it actually involves. Maybe next time, assure her that you're not going to strip naked ;)

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Saturday, August 11th 2012, 7:18pm

I have to say that I felt so much more comfortable in Norway feeding my baby than in the UK. It is hugely accepted in Norway and i've had my boobs out in all sorts of places!! In saying that, I am not saying it isn't acceptable in the UK, but I have noticed a difference in attitudes towards this generally. I think it is getting better though. I think it is great you could feed during your appointment, good on you!

I think the others are right - don't mention it to your MIL and just have the confidence to go with it. If she says anything, then just tell her that it is perfectly natural, and that by feeding her grandaughter with your milk you are giving her the very best start in life. Also state that your little one needs food and food she will get!! If it is her problem, then she has to deal with it, not you. You are doing what is best for your baby.

The best thing I can recommend is getting a couple of vest tops which have the same feeding clip off as your bra does under anything you are wearing. That way you pull up the top you are wearing, but don't expose any belly and then you have the top to pull down over baby a bit as you feed. It was discreet and quick for you to organise. That is what I did.

Hope the eye is ok. That sounds scary. xxx

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Saturday, August 11th 2012, 11:20pm

I just wanted to second what the others have said. It's your mil's problem not yours, you were very sweet to ask even.
I generally don't feed in public but thats because theres two of them and they take ages to feed, but if it helps I did the same thing once before bf them in the waiting room at the walk-in centre and no-one else cared it was just me that was self conscious, I'm just impressed you did it through the appointment! well done you and keep it up!
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Sunday, August 12th 2012, 9:15am

Hi Jen.
Firstly well done with the BF, i felt very uncomfortable at first feeding outside of my home. But after six months i really couldnt give a damm who looks at me anymore.
Ive never used anything to cover up, i wear vest tops & a cardigans all the time.

Your MIL needs to understand that what you are doing is the most natural thing on this planet, maybe get hubby to have a word with her.

Please dont be ashamed in what you are doing, your doing a great job honey. :clap
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Sunday, August 12th 2012, 12:44pm

I am in a similar situation as my family are fine with it but my inlaws ( including BIL & SIL) mentioned when I was first pg that they would expect someone who is BF to go to another room! Thy live 3-4 hours away so we rarely se them but we are going to stay with them soon. They live in a large open plan house so I will move away from them to feed, but I won't be going to sit in the bedroom as I don't think I should be excluded just because I choose to give my DD a good start in life!!! When they visited us I didn't leave the room as it's my house!!!! If I am going somewhere that I need to be particularly discreet I wear a loose fitting top with a strapless top underneath, the strapless top covers my belly and side and the loose top covers any other flesh! As they get older it gets easier to be discreet as they get bigger and cover more and they latch on quicker.

I feed by baby anywhere and every where but I have admit in some situations I get a bit nervous and I think she realises and it's hard for her to latch on and then I get even more flustered. I went to a BF group last week and they have different discussions each week and I am going to suggest we talk about other peoples reactions and feeding in public as it is a big hurdle to overcome and it really shouldn't be!

You will get more confident as the weeks pass so stick at it. xx


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  • "jen84288" started this thread

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Monday, August 13th 2012, 6:55pm

Thanks for the brill advice and reassurance ladies :)

I think i just need to make sure im wearing the right clothes. I had a buttoned blouse that day at the eye drs but have started wearing 2 vest tops now so im covering up a bit more. im sure i'll get better at this lol It doesnt bother me at all but i worry about what other people think which i know i shouldnt. i need to be able to do this though as i dont drive it can take us quite a while to get places so chances are a trip out will involve a feed (unless DH is off work and driving us somewhere)

It really does annoy me at mil/fils house but we were invited yday and we went home again before C was due a feed. I guess i just dont get peoples views on it...even before i had children i used to think it was great when i saw women nursing their babies out in public. It seems to be the idea or thought of breastfeeding itself rather than what you can actually see (as you've said the baby's head covers most)

thanks for the recommendation gracie. I will look into this. i think this would be especially good at night because at the moment i am using lots of cloth nappy inserts which seem to soak quite quickly...ive actually got a fantastic product for the day time feeds i bought while i was pregnant as i leaked so much with dd1 when i fed her. its called milkies milksaver and it catches all the leaking milk and i have been freezing it.

p.s my eye should be okay - i was born with cataracts and have had one operated on several years ago...i think the pressure of pushing in labour has caused a problem but something they can correct in a couple of weeks - on the plus side both of my daughters (who each had 50% chance of being born with cataracts) havent got them :D which makes me a very happy mummy :) xxx
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  • "jen84288" started this thread

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Monday, September 3rd 2012, 10:12am

grrr i feel so on my own with this ( i know, hormones hormones hormones!!!) MIL asked us to go on a walk to the park with the girls. I fed LO before we left but as im feeding on demand and still seems to be every 2 - 2.5 hrs and she is still only 4 wks old we are still not in any sort of pattern. We went for a walk and then went to a park - 10 mins after we arrived at the park DD1 was playing with some other children and the baby woke up (partly because MIL and FIL were talking to her trying to get her to wake up!) She started rooting and i picked her up to take her to a bench to feed her...mil says "oh shall we head back now" (WHAT? do i really want to walk all the way back to the car with a crying hungry baby and a tantruming toddler who has just been dragged away from the park that we've just arrived at!?!) I said to her no i would feed on the bench several feet away...she insisted again we go home but i just went ahead and fed the baby. grrrr she makes me feel like im being so inppropriate. The next day we were invited to a get together for a buffet tea at her sisters...we kind of had to go so everyone could see the baby. i'd already decided in my mind to feed upstairs or in an unused room due to the confined space and the amount of people but when i arrived as soon as DH was out of ear shot MIL says to me " when C needs a feed you can feed her up in my sisters room"....i HATE being told where i can feed my baby - as it happens i would have anyway but i just dont want her to feel like everytime we go out somewhere she will pick an appropriate place for me to feed! am i being too liberal here!? i mean i dont know how i would ever go out anywhere with my baby and toddler if i didnt feed in public! do i really want to be sat on a public loo toilet seat feeding my baby and trying to keep my 3 year old entertained for 30/40 mins . makes me mad ! :(
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Monday, September 3rd 2012, 10:54am

You are doing everything right Jen. I would say if your MIL wants to see the baby she should accept the way you are looking after them. I haven't seen anyone being confined to the loo with a bottle so why would those of us who BF?? Pretty sure she never fed your DH in the loo.

Good luck hope you get more support from others around you xx

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Monday, September 3rd 2012, 11:01am

When My LO was 4 weeks old she was never off the boob, partly for food, partly for comfort. You have to feed in public or you'd never leave the house! I think you need to either have a quiet chat with your MIL and approach the subject, or spend less time with her just now as you don't need this stress. Or maybe just ignore her(!) and if she brings it up again then discuss with her. You should be able to feed your baby wherever you like and is comfortable for you both. I have fed N in a bus stop, the waiting line in the chemist(!) and bang in the middle of the shopping centre, among other places too!

You are being an excellent Mum by meeting your child's needs. Your baby comes first. Stick to your guns. Xx

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Monday, September 3rd 2012, 11:23am

I have so much to say on this that I want to explode but I'll just say you're right, you're not too liberal, you're feeding discreetly, you're more patient and diplomatic than me (!). I'd suggest to MIL that you're perfectly capable of judging situations and that you're getting very capable of feeding discreetly too. Assure her that very few people object to the idea of feeding a new baby once they realise that the casual observer can't actually 'see' anything.

She's getting herself into a right old tizz isn't she!

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Monday, September 3rd 2012, 1:59pm

I second everything that Bells has said. You are doing something wonderful, don't let your MIL spoil it for you and your DD. As Rianon said maybe MIL spends less time with you until she's gotten over it or you stop bf (so could be a long while!!)
Keep up the good work and don't feel at all guilty!
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Monday, September 3rd 2012, 2:41pm

I think you should invite your MIL around your house for a meal then send her up to the bedroom to eat it or better still go out for a meal and send her to the toilet to eat, maybe then she'd see how unreasonable it is.

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Monday, September 3rd 2012, 2:49pm

What the others said! I would be tempted to ask your MIL what her problem is, she clearly has an issue for some reason. Keep going, it sounds like you are doing a fab job and I wouldn't worry about what she thinks.

Polly, great post rotf






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Monday, September 3rd 2012, 5:31pm

Oh rotf!!! Definitely PP's idea!!! Yes, invite her for a meal, take her gently to one side and say "I've popped your lunch in the guest bathroom for you so that you can eat in peace", wink at her, hand her a knife and fork and gesture towards the door.

Go onnnnn!!!!!! :snigger:

At least think about it the next time she says something to you, at least it will make you smile.

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Monday, September 3rd 2012, 6:07pm

I love the ideas above for a meal with your MIL...


You should not be made to feel awkward about breast feeding. You really are doing a great job with your little one.

For myself, I found I was able to feed anywhere - even in the checkout queue at the local supermarket (on more than one occasion) and I seldom got even so much as a second glance. I don't think many even realised that I was feeding - I would a loose-fitting, sleeveless (not strappy) vest/tanktop under an unbuttoned man's shirt and found I had more than adequate cover.
The one time I got a nasty look from a "gentleman" (and he wasn't even an old one - prob in his 40's) I asked him whether he would like to see my boob without the baby in front... He went totally red and disappeared and I noted that a number of women who were within range to overhear were trying to hide their smiles.

In the end it is your MIL who has the problem. Have a word with DH about how her attitude makes you feel and the next time you are at her place and she suggests that you retreat to another room to feed you have hubby back you up and you leave straight after the feed with a - (I really am not) Sorry, but you are all so uncomfortable having me and baby around that I think we will just go and then every time MIL walks in somewhere where you and baby are visiting, get up and leave once again saying that you are leaving as having you and baby around obviously makes them feel uncomfortable so you are leaving. Even in your own home, lock yourself and bubba in your room when they come around. Maybe that will make her realise that she needs to accept every facet of how you are caring for your baby, including the fact that you breast-feed in company if she ever wants to spend time with her new granddaughter...


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Monday, September 3rd 2012, 9:15pm

I love PPs idea too!! Brilliant!
I reckon Rene is right, I'd probably say that the baby needs to eat and go somewhere else to feed so that most of MIL's visit she doesn't get to spend time with you or DD. And when she questions why you're feeding so much well it's a growth spurt!! She'll soon regret making you feel uncomfortable when she doesn't get to cuddle her granddaughter.
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Monday, September 3rd 2012, 11:42pm

Brilliant idea Polly!

Fi has a cape thingy that she wears if she has to feed in public, but not in family's homes. Perhaps you should just tell mil that you won't be visiting until the baby is weaned, as you don't like her telling you where you can and can't feed your baby.

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Tuesday, September 4th 2012, 7:45am

I second everything everyone has said, especially PP!! :)

You are not being too liberal, you are caring for your baby in the best way possible. You are doing an amazing job and your MIL has got the problem. I am presuming she didn't BF...?! I think it is plain rude to tell someone to leave the room, if she has that much of a problem with it she should go somewhere else, not you! Stand your ground, you're doing great! Xxx



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Tuesday, September 4th 2012, 10:15am

Could your DH say something to MIL? Although he has never said anything I know my dad feels awkward when I BF as he suddenly has something to do in the garden or kitchen! None of my inlaws hve BF and I am spending the weekend with them soon for our nephews christening. They will be horrified if I have to BF in church! whoops3

It is difficult, and I am usually sweating when feeding infront of people I know feel awkward but my baby comes before anyone else!!!xx


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Monday, September 10th 2012, 5:07pm

Thanks for the great advice :) concequently i havent seen mil for about a week now. I was invited over on saturday but made an excuse not to go :S if it persists i will ask DH to say something. as far as feeding everywhere else goes - i'll carry on as i have been doing :) Jasper - my mum was a regular breastfeeder in church! p.s love the idea about making mil eat in the bathroom! very tempted! lol lol
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