I’m not sure I’m comfortable breastfeeding around my 7-year-old: help?

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Nursing at the Pacific
I have a seven-year-old daughter and am pregnant with my second child. I plan on breastfeeding this baby as I did with my first — but I like to keep breastfeeding private. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with breastfeeding in front of others, but I’m just not personally comfortable doing it. I always went into a room or packed bottles if I knew I wouldn’t have a private place to go with my first child, and will likely do the same with my second.

Recently a friend was breastfeeding her newborn with her two older children running around, and one of them said something about the baby nursing. It suddenly struck me: how do I deal with my need for privacy while breastfeeding when my older child is around? I don’t think my daughter will be confused or repulsed… I just don’t feel secure enough to nurse in front of her. I’m worried that if I hide breastfeeding it will give my daughter the idea that breastfeeding is wrong or strange, but also that just freely nursing in front of her might cross a boundary line. How have other parents with privacy needs and issues handled breastfeeding around their older children? — Laura

Comments on I’m not sure I’m comfortable breastfeeding around my 7-year-old: help?

  1. I suggest a nursing blanket. It would send a message that nursing is great and not to be ashamed of while still giving you privacy. Plus it would allow you to stay accessible to your oldest should either of you need it.

  2. I’m not a mom, so feel free to take this with a grain of salt. But if there is another parent available, could you have nursing time be special big sister/other parent time too? That way you get to privately nurse, and the 7 year old can feel like the center of attention as well.

    • In theory this might work with a little bit older of a baby, but I remember those early days of nursing where he was on the boob for a good HOUR at a time…times 10-12 times a day. It was basically 1 hour on 1 hour off, round the clock for awhile. Not sure I’d want to be away from my other kid for that long (though while they’re in school it won’t be a problem).

  3. I think the best thing you could do is try to move pst these issues and let your daughter see breastfeeding. My personal take is that anything other than unhindered bf’ing DOES send a message that it is something to be ashamed of, hidden, not appropriate. Prepare and expect for lots of questions from her and then prepare for her to think it is totally normal and not even notice when you are doing it. And when it comes time for her to breastfeed her baby she will know it is normal.

    • I really disagree with this. The writer doesn’t have issues. She has a different perspective regarding the naked body, and it’s a completely legitimate perspective. Some families bathe together or spend other time naked, and some families don’t. Neither is right or wrong.

      To the OP, I think the most elegant solution is a good nursing cover. (I’m a fan of bebe au lait, $20 on amazon) That way, your daughter can be aware of your breastfeeding without getting an eyeful of boob.

      • True, and this is is something to try. But remember that not all babies will like the cover (mine didn’t).

        I think that the previous poster does have a valid viewpoint that the OP should definitely re-examine her feelings around public nursing for the sake of her daughter. It might not be possible, but it is worth at least thinking about.

      • “I just don’t feel secure enough to nurse in front of her.”

        This statement leads me to believe that there may, indeed, be issues of some kind.

        Regardless, one of the best things any new mom can do, in my apparently not-so-humble opinion, is to nurse in front of her children. Think of it as an unparalleled learning experience–for parent and child(ren), in some cases.

        • I’m not comfortable baring a boob in public either (for the most part), but I agree that it can be great for an older daughter, especially, to see her mom breastfeeding. I credit my comfort with breastfeeding in large part because I saw my mom nurse my little sister when I was 4-6. The part of the original post that gave my pause was the final line about boundaries being crossed… what boundaries do there need to be around this? I think going off alone to breastfeed, by contrast, might at the very least make your older daughter resent breastfeeding as time when mom isn’t available (when it actually could be, for example, time when mom IS available to read lots of books to the older daughter or talk to her). That said, I think it could also be great to show your daughter how it is possible to nurse discretely in her presence, if that makes the mom more comfortable– a lot of baby carriers (such as the Maya Wrap) make it easy to cover up while nursing!

  4. I have a 9-year-old son and an 11-month-old daughter. I have always nursed my babies anytime, anywhere, with an “IDGAF” attitude. I know this is not for everyone. I do, however, believe it is sooo important to show our older kids that breastfeeding is normal and natural and awesome. If you wear a nursing tank top under your regular shirt, or get a nice cover, no one (including your daughter) will be able to see anything.

  5. I agree a nursing cover is an easy solution.

    You may consider talking to someone about any insecurity issues you may have since you mention not feeling “secure enough” for your daughter to see you breastfeed. Breastfeeding aside, this kind of insecurity is possible to pass along (passive teaching via implication) whether or not your older daughter sees your breasts while you feed your baby.

    As for covers, the ones with the frame in the neckline are the easiest to use from my experience.

    You could also set up a corner in the main room you live in and put a swivel chair in it. You could just turn away toward the corner while you nurse so you can have a balance of privacy and presence with your older girl.

    Good luck!

  6. I had my second when the oldest was 5 (both boys). We have always been really open with body parts so I didn’t think twice to nurse in front of him [It was also the first time I nursed a baby, so I didn’t find a groove for a while, which made things messier). You need to do what you are comfortable with and just be open in your dialogue with your daughter. She will then learn from you that her body is her own as you are taking the privacy you need for your own body. At 7 she is old enough to get it, so there’s no need to lie. Good luck mama!

  7. Nursing blankets can work, but be aware that some babies don’t like them and won’t nurse well with them, especially older babies. If that’s the case, you could also try using the nursing cover just for getting latched, and then maybe wearing a nursing tank top under a regular shirt for the rest of the feeding – in which case nothing will show once the baby latches. Either way, you might want a backup plan, whether that’s to nurse in front of your daughter or to nurse in another room.

    I’ve nursed my son freely in front of anyone who happens to be around, including older kids. Sometimes they had questions but they never seemed to feel at all uncomfortable about it. I think in large part kids will be comfortable and feel secure about the boundaries involved if you are comfortable – which I was. But if you yourself are uncomfortable, your daughter will pick up on that and IMO that would be more likely to cause her to think nursing is weird or shameful than your matter-of-factly saying that some people prefer to nurse babies in private. Or, you could choose to work on your discomfort – maybe experiment with nursing in front of others in a really supportive environment like a breastfeeding support group? Even visit one now while you’re still pregnant just to be around more moms nursing in front of one another might help. And I love some of the other suggestions about creating a nursing corner, turning away to latch, etc.

    I think your daughter’s boundaries will most likely be fine whatever you decide – you’ll pick up on it if she’s uncomfortable – but you alone get to decide your *own* comfort around all this, and I hope that you find a balanced way to honor it. Good luck!

    • Thanks for pointing out that not all babies like the cover! My son also never took a bottle–when we got near him with one, he just screamed. So it always grated when people said that I could “just pack a bottle” to avoid breastfeeding in public. Not everyone can.

      My moment of testing was picking Dad up from the airport when my son was 4 weeks old. We were sitting alone next to some luggage and the baby was hungry. I couldn’t carry everything at once to a different area. I was stuck. I’d never bared the boob in public before. But my son’s hunger took precedence over my own feelings. I bit my lip, sucked it up, and fed him.

      Every time I did that, it got easier and easier. Now I happily breastfeed my toddler in public. But it wasn’t always as easy as it is now. So I just wanted to say that feelings of comfort around breastfeeding can change over time and familiarity.

  8. I agree with the idea of getting a cover or a nursing tank if you aren’t totally comfortable with breastfeeding in front of your older daughter. I think at some point the reality of having two kids is that “alone time” and “privacy” become much harder to find. And with a demanding nursing infant you aren’t always going to have the ability to be in a separate room to breastfeed.

    I find most of my friends who weren’t totally comfortable breastfeeding around others (or had latch problems and didn’t want their breasts hanging out for extended time periods) felt much much more comfortable breastfeeding with a cover.

  9. A “Hooter Hider” or similar thing could be a nice solution.

    Another option would be to tell your older child that it’s distracting for the baby, so you go to a quiet place where he/she won’t be disturbed and can nurse. Then, you don’t really even have to mention YOUR need for privacy. And really, once the baby is a few months old, they are easily distracted.

    I’m currently nursing my second and I’m a lot less modest about it. I used to use my hider whenever other people were around. This second time, I care a lot less.

    Perhaps you will feel less inhibited? Or, perhaps you can work on feeling less inhibited? It will certainly be a lot easier for you if you can nurse in front of her.

    • Personally, I think it actually sends a better message to tell the older child that YOU feel more comfortable nursing in private rather than saying that it’s the baby’s issue… our needs matter too, and I think that’s a healthy message to send!

  10. In my experience, the best thing to do is just DO it. When my first was born I was for sure uncomfortable in certain public nursing circumstances. I was uncomfortable but I just DID IT. I think it helped that though it was strange to have part of my breast exposed, I really did want to feel more comfortable. After the first few times it was not a big deal for me. And after the first couple of weeks I learned how to nurse while showing little to no belly/breast. All about a nursing tank underneath a regular shirt. Nursing tank flap goes down, shirt goes up, latch baby on, and keep it adjusted so that nothing is exposed. You could perhaps try doing that at home and using a cover when out other places? I really do feel it is important for kids to see that nursing isn’t something that should be hidden away. That said, almost anything goes if you talk about it enough. By explaining to your older child what you are doing, why, etc. they will likely be comfortable with whatever you are doing when it comes to breastfeeding.

  11. I applaud you for nursing even though you are uncomfortable doing it around other people, not because breastfeeding is the be-all and end-all, but because it takes a lot to work through those emotions and do it anyway.

    Maybe you could try experimenting with nursing around your daughter under difference circumstances, to test your own comfort level? Try different clothing/cover combinations, or going into another room, or simply turning around. Nursing in a carrier, once you learn how, can be pretty private. I wonder if, by experimenting, you might discover that you’re more comfortable than you expected.

    I was comfortable nursing in front of just about anyone, but what made it work for me was having a nursing tank under my shirts. I didn’t want to show off my squashy belly, which has felt like a more private part of my anatomy since becoming a parent. But I also didn’t want to be like, “HERE IS MY BOOB!” With that clothing combination, I was able to nurse practically invisibly. I sometimes used our sling or Moby wrap as a nursing cover, in the airport or similarly public places. Please don’t take this as a suggestion that you need to nurse in public if you don’t want to.

    Maybe it would help you at home, though, if you increased your own comfort level with other people nursing. Despite being comfortable nursing my own child, I was apprehensive about other people doing it — kind of nervous and giggly, like, “that baby is sucking on her breast!” It helped me a lot to normalize the idea for myself, which I did mostly by exposure. I’ve watched a lot of nursing instruction videos, and looked at pictures of women all over the world nursing their babies. It’s also helped me to be around other mothers breastfeeding their babies, in playgroups and other social settings, even if I wasn’t nursing there.

    Good luck. I bet you can figure this all out, as daunting as it may seem right now.

    • This is a very thoughtful and considerate response. I am definitely open and comfortable nursing wherever and in front of whomever, with just a few exceptions, so I can’t really relate to your challenges. That said, I also agree with lots of folks that a blanket may not work with your kid. Two other cover-up suggestions:

      1) A friend had a giant “sun” hat that her daughter wore that covered her boobular area.

      2) Peek-a-boo shirts are wonderful if it is too warm to wear a nursing tank underneath another shirt.

      Best of luck!

  12. I just wonder why you’re not comfortable to feed in front of your older daughter? I get why that might be the case with other adults but I feel like the relationship between a mother and her kids is different. This is not to judge you at all, I’m just curious.

    I agree with the previous poster that if you can move past that to breastfeed openly in front of your older kid (at least at home when it’s just the three of you) then that would send her a great message. I’m the oldest of four kids and my mum always openly breastfed in front of me, as did our friends and relatives (I come from a very breastfeeding positive family and my mum is a breastfeeding counsellor and midwife)). It really set me up well for breastfeeding my own son. I had a lot more confidence than many of the mums I’ve met. When I was pregnant I couldn’t wait to breastfeeding, I was so excited.

    I’m also guessing that pretty quickly there’s going to be a situation where you need to feed the new baby and your older daughter also needs your attention, so it may very well be impossible to avoid breastfeeding in front if her, but maybe having a cover to hand would make you feel better about it.

    Most of all, I’d say don’t be scared. You know what you’re doing, you’ve fed one baby already. Be confident! You’re doing a great thing. If you feel you need to cover up, then that’s ok and a nursing cover would probably be a good compromise, but if you can share this with your daughter that would be awesome. Show her what a strong, confident mother you are (even if you don’t feel it!).

  13. I can relate to your need for privacy. My son was born 12 days before my Spring semester of seminary last year and was with me in class when he was 12 days old. On one level, breastfeeding made it really easy for me to bring him to class with me, but I was really nervous at first (particularly because the church has a long history of shaming the feminine body and its functions, and while I am proud to breastfeed and find it to be a spiritually moving experience, I didn’t want to offend any of my male classmates who grew up with a different perspective). I sat toward the back or on the side of the classroom so that I wasn’t front & center, and my mom bought me a “Pashmama”, like a large pashmina with a hole cut in it for your head which worked GREAT. I was completely covered, it was black so inconspicuous, and it was soft like a blanket so when my son finished nursing and fell asleep I’d lay him in his infant carrier and wrap the nursing cover around him so he felt safe and secure. That’s how we navigated my need for privacy in that circumstance.

    Honestly, I feel a lot more comfortable breastfeeding in front of children than I do in front of adults because they’re innocent and still find the human body amazing. For a year and counting now, I’ve nursed in front of both my 6 year old nephew and 5 year old goddaughter whenever they visit because they find it fascinating and really special and I think as fewer and fewer women choose to breastfeed, it’s really important to take the opportunities we have to normalize breastfeeding. When we have another child in the future, I plan to breastfeed in front of my son for those reasons, but also to allow him a glimpse of the very special bond he shared with mommy in his earliest years.

    I am not trying to persuade you, just sharing my personal experience, but I do understand your anxiety, I felt it too in some environments. I didn’t really have a choice after about 6 months though, once summer hit my son refused to wear his cover. At that point, if we were out and about I just learned to dress in layers and nursed discreetly in public or sat in my car with him so that we were at least in “our” space even if passersby could see us.

    And now, at a year, really I try to nurse in more secluded spots when we’re out an about (like the car or a nice dressing room) not because I care what other people think, but because my son gets so distracted that he won’t nurse properly and then isn’t satisfied.

    I hope you feel encouraged by the love surrounding you in this community. One way or another, your baby will be fed and you will learn with your baby how it’s best going to work. Blessings on your journey!

  14. Older kids don’t really freak out about things if they sense that all of the adults are comfortable with the situation. I have breastfed in front of a dozen nieces and nephews, aged 2-16, and none of them made a fuss about it, beyond maybe asking, “What is the baby doing?” or “Is the baby eating?” I would expect your daughter to ask one or two questions, on one or two occasions, and then probably not much more. It’s AMAZING how quickly it can be normalized for children.

    If you can feel comfortable with it, I would suggest allowing your daughter to fully see the breastfeeding and your breast, just the first time, to quell her curiosity. From that point forward you can cover up and just say it’s to keep the baby warm or comfortable. It won’t be curious to her after that, it will be totally normal and a non-issue.

  15. I agree with much of what’s already been said and recommended, so there’s no need to reiterate…but I would definitely encourage you to explore a bit deeper about what boundary you are worried about crossing.

    You say that you don’t want to give your daughter the idea that breastfeeding is wrong or strange, which leads me to wonder whether your apprehension has more to do with wanting to maintain a healthy container around sexuality. Please remember, though, that only adults (and only stunted ones, at that) might project any untoward sexual meaning onto the sight of a baby latched onto your breast.

    If anything, by nursing in from of your older daughter you have the opportunity to subtly teach her a valuable lesson about her own body as being more than just a potential sexual object.

    Best of luck to you in sorting all this out and finding a workable and empowering solution for you and your family!

  16. Honestly I don’t think there is anything wrong about explaining that you prefer to feed little brother/sister in private. She’s old enough to understand that people like to do things differently and have different emotions and feelings. Don’t try to hard to tell her “why”…the “why’s” are what will give her the hang-ups. A simple “Mommy just likes to be in the bedroom when she feeds Little” will suffice. It becomes a personal preference rather than an ISSUE.

    That being said, be prepared for her to be super curious. Your polite bowing out might not be enough for her, and she’s going to want to watch and learn. I was six when my brother was born, and I was totally obsessed with breast-feeding. I just found it completely cool that you could FEED YOUR BABY WITH YOUR BOOB!

    I’d say to let her curiosity level lead the discussion. If she seems totally not interested, then a simple “Mommy is going to feed Little in the bedroom now” might be totally fine. If she wants more information or to watch, that’s when you have to consider letting her do that so she can see it’s a natural, cool thing.

  17. Just a thought, I have 4 younger siblings and my mom breastfed all of them. I asked her if she ever covered up or just didn’t nurse in front of us and to my surprise, she said no. I have no memory of her breastfeeding and I was 12 when she stopped nursing my youngest brother.

    • Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I’ve seen pictures so I know my mother breastfed with me around. I also remember going with her to La Leche League meetings so I know there was lots of breastfeeding going on, but I have no memory of it actually happening or of seeing breasts or anything.
      And modesty was a big deal in my house – low cut shirts were totally out etc. so there was a definite distinction drawn between breast feeding and breast…um…display.

      I do appreciate the reminder though that some people prefer privacy. I committed a bit of a faux pas once a few years ago when I didn’t move to leave the room when a new mother prepared to feed. My boyfriend at the time looked at me kind of funny and said we should give the mother and baby privacy. I realized that was what the mother wanted too, so we left, but I never would have drawn that conclusion on my own.

    • Yes, I’m the oldest of four. The other day, mum asked me what age I thought my sister, 10 years younger, weaned at.

      I thought for a bit, and guessed 10 months – I have a single memory of mum reading a story whilst feeding… no breast in the memory at all!

      Turns out mum had just found my sister’s baby book… and she was weaned at 3, when I was thirteen! I have heaps of other memories of my sister from the first three years of her life, but clearly the feeding left no impression (and I don’t remember my brothers feeding at all). Mum tells me she fed us all in public, so I think it’s that it just didn’t leave an impact.

  18. Thank you for all of the responses so far! I do appreciate it!

    I can’t say for certain where my privacy issues came from…in fact, I’ve had both of my nipple pierced twice, so my boobs were out in front of complete strangers, and I used to do fine art/photography nude modeling….none of which freaked me out at all and I was very comfortable. For some reason when I started breastfeeding, I developed a different mentality that, in that particular situation, this was something more private for me and my bonding/over-all experience, and because of that I strongly avoided feeding in public. I also had a very difficult time breastfeeding for several months, so the frustrations also deterred me from allowing others to see me struggle, and I wound up becoming more private.

    I am only really speculating here as to if I would be uncomfortable or not feeding in front of my daughter….maybe it will work out just fine. I just am already sensing a little bit of fear. But I also realize that while I am in the hospital confined to my room, I may not even be given a choice and may need to feed if my daughter is there with me…so perhaps that will force me to re-evaluate my concerns.

    And I never even knew breastfeeding tank tops existed! Lol nice to know! That may definitely help, as well as some sort of cover. I have heard that feeding gets more comfortable with each child, as I have several friends that whip them out anywhere when they got to their consecutive children. I can’t foresee myself being that bold, but perhaps just more comfortable in general.

    Thank you!

    • Just a tip… breastfeeding tanktops are pretty pricey for what you get, so it may be a good idea to look on ebay or craigslist for them. Also, unless you are VERY well-endowed, a regular tank with a deep v-neck or a surplice (wrap-style) neckline can also work just fine and be far cheaper, the whole idea being that you can just pull your boob out the top while pulling your overshirt up. Takes a little practice, but reveals next to nothing. I’ve breastfed in public this way many times and I don’t think anyone even noticed.

      As to your previous breast-feeding struggles, for me, nursing my second son was WAY easier: no pain and no problems with supply, despite the fact that he was a month early, spent two weeks in the NICU, and I wasn’t allowed to breast-feed for his first week of life. Just think positively. It’s been seven years since you last tried, so a lot of things could be different for you!

      • I’ve seen a tutorial for making your own nursing tank. You just cut the strap off the back of a spaghetti strap tank, sew a little loop to put over the clasp of a nursing bra and voila! You can get tank tops cheap at a lot of places.

      • I’ve personally found nursing tanks to be a little bit tricky to unfasten and refasten, and, as Lex suggests, I almost exclusively wear surplice/deep-V/scoopneck tops. For me, these end up being more discreet than nursing tops, because it just takes a second to whip my boob in and out, as opposed to fiddling with it for five minutes.

        When I am in a situation where I do feel the need for a little extra coverage, I’ve found the American Apparel jersey circle scarves to be super handy. They’re something I’d wear anyways (so no need to have an extra nursing cover type thing) and because they’re circles, there’s no effort involved in keeping them on. You can sort of put the baby in it like a sling and be totally covered up while breastfeeding, or you can do what I do more often than not and just have the scarf covering the top part of your boob while the baby’s head covers the rest of it.

        I also want to say that I’m one of the many steadfast believers in breastfeeding openly and comfortably. However, just because I believe this is the way it should be doesn’t mean it’s always easy to feel open and comfortable about it. Be kind to yourself; take your time and respect your own comfort. Give your feelings space to evolve if that’s where they’re going; give yourself a break if your feelings stay exactly the same. There’s no right way except what feels okay to you in any given moment.

        • You can also just take a regular tank and cut out boob holes (and wear it with a nursing bra) 🙂 A bella band (or another pregnancy band) also works great so that your stomach isn’t exposed while you nurse.

    • Just seeing this as I am looking for similar advice on step kids…. The problem with the advice is people don’t really care about your feelings or thoughts. It’s like it’s not okay to want to be private with your body. I asked the same thing in a mom group about my step kids (one is a boy!) and was made to feel absolutely worry and that I have some kind of issue and I’m doing my step kids a disservice…. It’s ridiculous we can’t just get help according to our feelings. I wanted cover suggestions or if it’s okay to send them away instead of being locked up in my room all the time. Their responses and attitudes made me not want to even try 🙁

  19. I will preface this by saying I have never breastfed. However, I am of the opinion that it is completely valid and normal for people to have varying levels of comfort showing parts of their body in front of others. I believe that if someone wants to breastfeed in public and not cover a single thing, do it in a private space, or anything in between, it is just fine and up to the person making the milk.

    That being said, I wanted to add two things to the discussion. First, I think one of the important things to incorporate into the situation is good communication. If I were in this situation, I think I would try to have open conversations with an older child about breastfeeding. I would want to make clear that breastfeeding is a normal thing, not a shameful thing, and does not have to be done privately; everyone that breastfeeds gets to decide what is right for them. This is also an opportunity to talk about things others have mentioned like how breastfeeding can be a very special time for a parent and baby, some babies don’t like being covered, some do better without distractions, etc.

    Second, I think this is a great opportunity to talk with an older child about boundaries. I would use this topic as a way to explain that we are all the boss of our own bodies and we get to decide with whom we share our bodies. Some people are comfortable showing parts of their bodies (in order to breastfeed or otherwise) to others and some other people aren’t; both types of people are okay. Of course I would also want to make clear that bodies are special, beautiful, and amazing and that they are not something we need to be ashamed or embarrassed of or keep secret and not talk about. To me, modeling setting boundaries and having this conversation seems like a really important message to share with any child.

    Best of luck finding a solution that works well for you!

    • So true about people having different preferences on whether or not to show their bodies. I know people who don’t like to show their arms or their feet… much less their breasts!

      • Exactly! And for a variety of reasons, too. Some people just aren’t comfortable showing certain parts to others and that’s that. But I know sometimes it is related to a bigger issue. For example, in the case of survivors of trauma, abuse, and/or assault, it can be especially difficult to navigate bodily boundaries. And even if a person is working on some larger issue that impacts their body and level of comfort sharing it with others, that might be ongoing work that is still very much in-process. So sometimes folks have to find a sort of workaround for daily tasks while they continue their work.

  20. I disagree with a lot of what’s said above. I don’t think taking a private moment with your little one sends the message that breastfeeding is wrong or strange; it says just that it’s a private moment. Not every moment or bodily function has to be shared with everyone – do what you’re comfortable with. I’m not sure that a nursing blanket would fix this, so make sure you have some bottles ready when your other daughter wants to take part or needs attention, and then go to a private space to feed when you want to do that.

    • But the thing is–breastfeeding isn’t a private moment, at least not for the first 8 weeks or so, because it isn’t a moment. It takes way more time than a moment to do, and happens very frequently. You can’t just be like, oh hey daughter, brb, I’ll just toddle off to a private room for 45 minutes 10 times a day.

      I remember holding my nursing son with one arm while preparing food or brushing my teeth or something with the other. I’m not even sure if it would be physically possible to care for a child at home while also breastfeeding another child only in private. This may become a non-issue as the OP discovers this.

    • “Making sure you have bottles ready”, if you plan on exclusively breastfeeding, can do Very Bad Things to your supply during the first 8 weeks. If it works for you, great, but be careful depending on your priorities / plans…

  21. I’m thinking back on my own early breastfeeding days, and while I think it would be very possible to just go into a private room to nurse once the baby is a month or two old, for the first few weeks, at least for me, breastfeeding was a 24/7 deal. My daughter ate for 45 minutes out of every two hours, and when she was cluster feeding during a growth spurt it was literally constant breastfeeding for hours on end. (We also had some latch issues, so I don’t know if that was part of it as well.) I would have had a really hard time spending all of that time in a room with just me and the baby, and I imagine with an older child who wants your attention as well it might be even more difficult.

    I’m curious about what specifically bothers you about breastfeeding in front of others. Is it showing skin that’s usually covered? Is it wanting to focus 100% on your baby? You mentioned in your comment that you struggled last time–is it not wanting others to see you struggle or see you frustrated? My gut feeling is if you’re able to get more specific about what bothers you about the idea of breastfeeding in front of your 7 year old that may spark some ideas for solutions or workarounds.

  22. There are lots of great suggestions here, and I don’t have much to add in terms of practical stuff.

    I’m not sure if you’re really looking for ways to be more comfortable breastfeeding in front of your daughter, and if you’re not there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Do what works for you guys! But one of the most useful comments I’ve heard about breastfeeding in public was simply “That’s what they’re for!” Somehow that particular phrasing helped me get a lot more confident with it (though of course I was still self-conscious at the beginning when I didn’t know how to get him latched and he’d scream and everyone would stare). And this is extra true with kids – as far as they’re concerned, breasts actually have no other purpose.

    I hope that’s helpful in some way!

  23. Different kids will have different reactions to breastfeeding, too. I’m breastfeeding my infant son right now, and he’s our first, but we’re very close with the family next door; they have a 5yo girl and a toddler boy who’s still breastfeeding. The girl has made me rather uncomfortable in the past by putting her face almost in my baby’s face as I’m breastfeeding him. I think her curiosity is lovely and innocent, but having her stare at my breasts is a little beyond what I can tolerate. If the OP’s older kid turns out to be like this, it might be a real trial for her to breastfeed in front of Older. A calmer kid might respect a swivel chair or a request for privacy. Only OP will know how far she has to go if she wants privacy from Older! But there are a lot of great suggestions here; I hope one works for her.

  24. I personally think that it´s good for kids if at home, in a save environment breastfeeding is just a normal thing.
    In my opinion that helps a lot to develop a good “relationship” with one´s own body.
    Still kids also have to learn that its ok to want privacy (for example when going to the bathroom).
    But it makes me wonder why breastfeeding would be one of thoses situations when you need privacy and can´t be with your older kid. I mean, it´s just the younger sibling´s mealtime! I don´t like the message that this could send to the older sibling… She is probably allowed to be around the baby when it´s bathed, when it´s diapers are changed.. but not for mealtime?
    But of course the mom has to be comfortable with the situation.. i would suggest to consider the reasons for feeling uncomfortable.. Is it because the kid would see mom´s breasts? Is there generally a “problem” with being naked in that family? May be thats something related to culture, but I can´t figure out a reason why a mother would have a problem when her primary school aged kids see her breast.

  25. I enjoyed reading this question and dicussion. From what I could tell from the comments no one has yet mentioned the moboleez nursing hat! (Maybe I missed it). I hated to cover too, and finding/buying a large sun hat for growing heads seemed too much for my postpartum self. But the moboleez hat was great for the money. I doubt your daughter would even notice you were nursing. My six year old didn’t..

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