How do you deal with missing out of things because of BF?

Kelsey - posted on 10/20/2010 ( 104 moms have responded )

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I am BF my 3 month old son. I'm not very comfortable feeding in front of my whole family (when there are guys around mostly). We get together often for family dinners and I always go into another room to feed my son. I feel like I miss out of a lot of conversations and great times. Sometimes he will eat in 20-30 minutes and other times he takes up to an hour. I feel so left out and I'm not sure what to do. I don't want to make my family uncomfortable but I don't want to feel like an outsider anymore. My son doesn't like being covered up while eating, he will squirm until he is uncovered, so this isn't really an option.

Thought???
Thanks!

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Minnie - posted on 10/20/2010

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Sometimes it can be a little awkward and uncomfortable to nurse in front of others when we don't have the hang of things yet. For me, becoming comfortable nursing in public was a gradual thing. I wasn't very comfortable doing it with my first, but now I nurse my two year old in restaraunts and while walking around shopping.

It might help to practice in front of a mirror, then in front of your partner, then gradually in more public settings. Many mothers find that they are more comfortable if they learn to nurse their babies in a carrier like a sling, wrap or Ergo. Most people won't ever know that you're nursing that way. Wearing a tank top under your shirt can help minimize exposure.

Alisson - posted on 10/20/2010

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Speak to your family and see what their feelings are on breast feeding openly while they're in the room.

I used to leave the room when my in-laws were visiting to feed but I felt really left out, I decided on my own to feed openly and all my father-in-law does is turn away a little to give me a little privacy. I wear a loose shirt that I can easily pull over one breast but keep the baby's face clear but shows no breast.

It all depends on your comfort level to feed in front of Family. Don't isolate yourself!

Christina - posted on 11/11/2010

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Okay so I don't have time to read the tons of replies that you got sooo....this is what I do. Whenever I get dressed to leave the house I dress the top part of me to make breastfeeding easy. Always have a cami or some sorta tank top underneath (that doesn't go too high as I need to be able to "plop out a boob" lol. And then I wear a shirt/blouse/tank top over that one. I choose ones that will lift easily up. Now when Lilly is hungry, I will sit down, have her on my lap or have someone hold her while I get a breast out of my bra and out of the cami (this is done under my top shirt), I then pick Lilly up and get her in position and manuever my top shirt up while holding my breast and getting her latched on. My top shirt covers the top part of my breast and Lilly covers the nipple area while she's nursing. (I have DDD's btw so I have a lot to hide lol) Both my girls were born in June (the dead of the summer) so I NEVER covered them and by the time winter came around I had already perfected my method of nursing in public. Now sometimes it is easier for me to stand in the corner or somewhere were people are not watching to get Lilly latched on and my shirt positioned and then I just go about my business.

Lori - posted on 11/02/2010

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Giving it a little time will allow you to feel more comfortable. I was the same way with my first son. I now have 3 boys (youngest is 6 months). I found my family began to look past the nursing, as if it wasn't even happening. However after my 2nd son, I found the greatest idea. I am not sure where you live but I live in Canada. We have a store here called Thyme Maternity. They sell nursing tops. They are the greatest thing going. They have little openings with a design over it to make it look like a nice shirt, but then out comes the taps! You can reveal as much as or little as you want. I love them, and have several. Dressier, casual, warmer, you name it they have it. So I would look around for them. I barely use a cover any more out in public, as there is only a limited amount of skin actually revealed! Congrats on baby, and enjoy your special time with him! You shouldn't seclude yourself, include yourself, even if you do not find the nursing tops!

Lisa - posted on 10/30/2010

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I wear a loose shirt sometimes with a nursing tank under it so it covers my belly, and just plop back into a deep comfortable chair or couch so that when I nurse my body is covered and the baby is comfortable. Though recently he likes to pop off and look around, so I generally take him into a bedroom to nurse. For when people visit, feed baby before anyone gets there, feed baby with baby food, to keep occupied, but if the visit is so long that you can't help but nurse, then find a corner that's a little away from the group, but so you can still talk if you want to. and so you can listen. otherwise just accept that you aren't going to be a part of the conversation unless you take someone with you. be like "hey Mary, I have to go feed the baby, come with me, i want to catch up with you" that way you aren't nursing in front of men, but can still have company.
(I just nursed in the same room as two guys I know only slightly and my husband and a g/f, and I doubt they even knew I was nursing. looked like baby was sleeping to them!lol)

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A - posted on 12/01/2010

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Another thing to remember is in the beginning I dreaded having to nurse all the time (and for so long) but now that I truly enjoy it- there's NOTHING i'd rather be doing that nurse my son. Its such a special bonding experience anything else that is going on isn't as fun or rewarding to me.

Beverly - posted on 12/01/2010

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My husband's family is mainly men so I did not feel comfortable popping out my boob to nurse my son, even with the covers they sell now or blanket. It's a generational thing. Out of respect for them, I went into the other room, I heard the conversations and when my son was done nursing, I came back out and made comments on the conversations i had missed. I just saw it as my son comes first. Try those covers or maybe pumping before and using a bottle to give him the breastmilk.

Mary Renee - posted on 11/13/2010

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My daughter doesn't like to be covered either. I've nursed her in public using a moby wrap (where I've actually nursed her while walking around and she was just eating while she was in the moby wrap) some clothes work better than others. I prefer to wear lose tank tops that you can just pull down at the breast you're using so that the other breast and your tummy are still covered. I've even used a burp cloth to cover the top of the breast too. I was afraid about missing out on things while I was breastfeeding too, but around the time my daughter was 3 months it go so much easier (for BOTH of us) to nurse with out too much fuss so I just do it in front of my family now.

Allie - posted on 11/11/2010

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i have recently seen these new covers that cover you and not the baby maybe try those

Sarah - posted on 11/11/2010

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I slowly got used to it and so did my family. After a while I just decided..."well if this is what we do this is what we do, no need to hide or go away". Still breastfeeding at 8 months. You just have to have the mid set that its not a boob its a meal!

Shannon - posted on 11/04/2010

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I agree you should talk with your family about how important bf is & if they feel uncomfortable they should leave the room! It may sound harsh but its important that you and bubs feel comfortable in any environment to be able to feed confindently! I choose just a seat in a corner or at the end of a table but do not leave all together that way not feeling left out or excluded! Most people dont even realise until you have finished! Also if I felt the need I would tie a white/light muslin wrap around my neck & drape over my shoulder & elbow it hardly touches bubs just the back of head a bit, I only did this if it was sunny or noisy just to get bubs to focus on feeding instead of everything else ha ha! Hope its givin you some ideas!

Brooke - posted on 11/04/2010

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Here's something funny: I'm more embarrassed when I lift up my shirt to nurse that people will see my flabby tummy than I am if they see my boobs lol!!

Brooke - posted on 11/04/2010

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May help to remember that thi is a special time with you and your baby, and it will be gone before you know it, so just treasure it. The family will always be there... But this specia time in your life won't always be there. You are doing a wonderful thing for your baby *hugs*

Melody - posted on 11/04/2010

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i got a nursing cover that is a cool pattern, just slips over my head which is great with one hand, dont miss out :). plus with the nursing cover you can look down on him while he is eating

Catherine - posted on 11/03/2010

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Practice nursing in front of a mirror so you can see just how much skin is showing and then nurse with your family. I like the two layer approach in which I lift one layer up and pull the other down. I also use a scarf not to cover my son but to cover my breast if I am wearing only one layer and pulling it down or to cover my belly and side if I am pulling it up. There is no reason for you to miss out on everything and if it is a family dinner then why shouldn't your son be able to eat dinner with everyone else, not to mention you? Your family can get over it - he is a baby, he needs to eat, and both of you deserve to eat with the family.

Jessica - posted on 11/03/2010

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That is a really good idea to do Nicole. I tried to pump and many times could not get enough to satisfy him. So I just had to straight nurse him. But definitely agree that if you can get enough and you are uncomfortable then pump. So Kelsey, no one should have an issue with it then and you won't have to be uncomfortable.

Nicole - posted on 11/03/2010

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I always pump anytime I know I wouldn't be able to or feel comfortable feeding my daughter so that she can still eat from a bottle and I won't have to take her somewhere secluded. It seems to work great for me, I'm able to go about my life while still taking care of my daughter and it's made my transition as a new mom easier for me. Hope this was helpful, good luck!

Jessica - posted on 11/03/2010

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My son was like that too about not being covered up but I would just sit at the far end of the room or the couch with a big pillow so the I could be as discrete as possible. Most time I would keep a cloth diaper over my shoulder so that I could at least cover up mostly. I would also just turn my back to the room but I could still hear the conversation. Those are a couple of suggestions. I am a little more uninhibited so my family just had to understand that when the baby was hungry I wasn't going to care where I was. He was going to be fed.

Kristy - posted on 11/03/2010

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My advice was intended for the question asker...it was also based on MY experience. I'm not sure why people feel the need to judge my decisions for my child. Yes I pump a bottle for my daughter it is NOT the end of the world for a baby to have breastmilk from a bottle. This system works for me and I was simply sharing an alternative to explore. So being negative to advice that wasn't even meant for you doesn't make sense. I don't judge your decisions please don't to it to other people.

A - posted on 11/03/2010

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Kristin, great advice. I think whats hard for me is that my husbands family does not accept nursing in public. They are very modest and conservative. Its hard when your own family doesn't accept it. When we're over at their homes I want to be respectful so I end up going on another room or out in the car. If we're at my house I just don't want to get looks or comments and deal with it. We were at a birthday party once and someone's friend was there and breastfed their newborn with a nursing cover and all the family was making faces and comments and I felt so bad for the girl.

I think moms who have the courage to BF in public are wonderful. ANd hopefully as more people do it, it will become common place to see it done out in public.

Kristin - posted on 11/03/2010

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Motherhood is one fairly inexpensive store for nursing tops. You can find them just about anywhere. Use Google or Bing and do a search on nursing tops and you should be able to find loads of info on physical stores and websites. You might also consider a true sling (rings and a tail). You can use the tail to cover up as you are feeding. I have even gone so far as to just put my 5mo son inside a really big sweatshirt with me and feed him. I generally use a receiving blanket that is tucked into my shirt on the opposite shoulder from where he is feeding. Between his head and the angle of the blanket, we're pretty covered up and he can still see some stuff.

Alot of feeding around others is just owning it. You are his mom and he needs to eat. If someone has a problem, too bad! This is what nature or God designed them for. Be confident and practice.

One other strategy I can think of, feed him right when you get there or right before you go. Then you have a good block of time to interact before you have to feed him again. You might consider getting there earlier so that you can be feeding him as other are arriving. Then he won't be quite as distractable and you won't feel quite so on display. Your confidence will grow and they won't be so gawky. They may not feel as uncomfortable as you think they do. Good luck.

Lori - posted on 11/03/2010

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A N, I got a response back, and they do not have online purchasing at this time. The only thing i could suggest is going into some of the maternity stores in your area and ask if they carry nursing tops. Good luck in your search, they are a great item.

Shauna - posted on 11/03/2010

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I do miss out on some things, because while I believe breastfeeding is natural and fine, I don't feel comfortable being out and about. My son's only a month old. I made a cover, but I haven't tried it yet. Meanwhile, I pump occasionally and my husband can feed him a bottle when necessary. I figure that may be done at least once on Thanksgiving when we're around a lot of family. Plus, my husband enjoys feeding him.

Evelyn - posted on 11/03/2010

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I was kind of the same way with my first, but now with my 2nd son, I dont feel uncomfortable anymore, so I just use a "hooter hider!" the one nursing wrap you can buy at wal-mart isnt very restrictive, your son may be okay with that one...

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I felt the same way at first. I purchased a nusing cover, mine is by Baby Balboa, and practiced using it at home. Now me and my 3 month old are comfortable enough to feed anywhere.

A - posted on 11/02/2010

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thanks lori, keep me posted. Their clothes are so cute and I would love to have some tops like that!

Lori - posted on 11/02/2010

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I just took a peek, and it appears they do not have on line ordering. I did send them an email to ask them if they have any thing for outside Canada. I will let you know as soon as they email me back.

A - posted on 11/02/2010

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That's just one of the sacrifices. ANd its worth it. Still nursing my 18 month old. It does get better. Your son is still very little and each month it gets easier and easier. I noticed a big change around 10 months of age....he started getting more efficient at getting the milk out, so his feedings were shorter. I remember nursing for 45 minutes every two hours when he was a newborn! Now, even if he eats every three hours, his feedings are only about 10 minutes. So don't worry, it will be get better.

But I do still feel like I miss out on some things. For example, we have bible studies or game nights sometimes and I have to go nurse my son and so I either don't play the games and just watch or I just have to ask whats going on, etc.

Its inconvenient but its the best thing you can do for your child, and don't let it deter you. Things will get better and freedom will come.

3 months post partum I was still a disaster. I hope you're doing better than I was. Just be patient!

Sylvia - posted on 11/02/2010

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Honestly? I never felt like I was missing out on anything. I felt a bit awkward for the first couple of weeks, while DD and I were getting the hang of latching on, and I would sometimes leave the table and go sit somewhere more padded when she needed to nurse, but by the time she was 6 weeks old I could nurse her anywhere, and I did. The only people who ever tried to make me feel uncomfortable were some of my in-laws, who would make various kinds of snide comments, but I got really good at ignoring them after a while ;) They have some weird hangups about nursing -- like, my one SIL thinks you should wean babies as soon as they get their first tooth! -- but I fortunately am from a family that does not have those hangups (of course, we have our own...), so I was never tempted to wonder if they were right, if maybe I *should* be isolating myself and DD to protect them from the risk of an accidental 2-second glimpse of boob ;).

Listen, if you're being reasonably discreet (i.e., if you still have your shirt on) and people are still uncomfortable, that's *their* issue, not yours. don't let their hangups make you feel left out or isolated! Mothers have been nursing their babies for millions of years. It's not weird or icky or embarrassing; it's a perfectly normal thing to do. If you treat it that way, either people will get used to it, or they'll continue to be uncomfortable -- but if they're still squicked out, that's on them, not on you or your son.

Angelina - posted on 11/02/2010

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My daughter hates to be covered so I do not.i do bring my shirt down so my whole boob is not exposed.A boob is a boob.You have seen one you have seen them all.

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I consider myself lucky in that I grew up in a family in which long term breastfeeding was considered the norm, and most of my peers are long term breastfeeders who could give a S*** about who sees them doing it. So, when it came to be my time to nurse, I fortunately didn't have a lot of hurdles to cross. That being said, I do try to stay sensitive to the fact that other people may not be so comfortable, and I don't want them throwing my daughter, who is now 11 months old and still nursing all the time, mean looks when we are in public. She absolutely will not deal with being covered up and never have, so I don't even try. I just try to keep my boob from flopping all over the place and figure if somebody gets a look at my nipples, well, it's high time that people in this country learn what boobs are really for anyway. The only reason I've ever sought out another place to nurse was when it was too busy and loud where we were. Otherwise, I nurse her wherever and whenever she wants to. And in terms of family, if any of them have any issues with it (and I don't think they do) they can just deal with it. It's not MINE or my daughters problem.

Emily - posted on 11/02/2010

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Breastfeeding in public without a cover took me a long time to feel comfortable to do. With lots of at home practice with discretely latching and lots of support from other breastfeeding moms, I feel confident enough to do so in most situations. If it is too distracting for your little one though, you may still have to find a more quiet place. Since you are mostly asking about doing it around your family, maybe you could try sitting over to the side rather than leaving the room entirely, or covering to latch and then removing the blanket/cover from the baby's head. You can even just use the baby's head to shield your breast from view. Just keep practicing.

Ann - posted on 11/02/2010

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My oldest would kick out of his cover up. I always wore a nursing tank plus what ever shirt I picked out for the day so what I did if I was sitting down.is pull up one side and get him started to nurse. (while behind my husband holding up a receiving blanket) then when my kid was set I would take the blanket and bunch it up to kind of make a wall around my sons head but not covering him up. He was happy not being covered and I was happy with the privacy. good luck

Katie - posted on 11/02/2010

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wear a loose fitting shirt - you can cover up the breast without covering your baby. Most ppl will justtt think your baby is just resting in your lap. It draws a lot less attention then cover-ups.

Merry - posted on 11/02/2010

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Yay heather! I completely agree and plan on having a 100% bottle free baby!

Heather - posted on 11/02/2010

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The problem with pumping is that 1. Not every woman can do it (despite oversupply, I cannot), 2. Not every baby will take one (mine wouldn't and I had a 6 hour surgery--she spit out the entire pitiful stash I'd put my surgery off for 3 months to build up), 3. It can damage supply and 4. nursing will never be normalized if we keep hiding behind bottles :(

Kristy - posted on 11/02/2010

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I know alot of people have strong opinions on this but: When I know people are coming over (not family) or I am visiting a friends I will pump a bottle. As much as people talk about nipple confusion if a baby knows both there is no issue. When it is only once in awhile she doesn't mind and she is still getting my milk. It gives me a break AND my husband will feed her the bottle making it a bonding experience for him too. It is win win! When I get home or my guests leave I will nurse her to make her comfortable. She is 4 months now and we have had no issue with this system at all!

Diane - posted on 11/02/2010

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I would suggest going to a La Leche League meeting (you can find local meetings on their website) and ask other moms there about discrete public breastfeeding and see if anyone has any tips they can show you in person that might help you become more comfortable, also try looking in a mirror while you nurse and when you get set up to nurse to how much you are actually showing, this may make you feel more comfortable to notice how much you don't show and help you to figure out ways to adjust to make yourself more comfortable. Good luck.

Stephanie - posted on 11/02/2010

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When I'm in a situation where I'm uncomfortable with breastfeeding I just pump ahead and use a bottle....if you pump and keep some stored in the fridge/freezer you have it whenever you need it.

Tine - posted on 11/02/2010

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Hi, firstly, I think you're doing a great job! Good on you for persevering although you feel you are missing out.
I think perhaps you should talk to your family about this. I think that most families just get used to it. You might be surprised about what a non- issue this really is. You are just feeding your baby in the way nature intends, after all! I always feed my daughter (now nearly 2) in front of whoever is there - she wants boob when she wants it, and I have just never made any sort of issue, just simply feed her when she wants it. A bottle - feeding mum would do this, and you are doing a much healthier and better thing by breasfeeding, so you should be able to share family ocassions and feed your baby at the same time. I find the less fuss I make, the less embarassed I am, the less anyone else even notices. If you just accept it as normal, you will probably find that everyone else falls into line pretty easily!

Heather - posted on 11/01/2010

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It took me a few months to learn that I didn't have to come out the TOP of my shirt OR cover up not to show anything. I've never had any friends or family complain and they always invite me back and I've always nursed when my babies need to. I've asked if they'd want me to leave the room, but the answer has always been the same: whatever's comfortable for ME and baby. That's the way friends and family should be, regardless of gender.

I nurse by popping out of my bra under my shirt and latching baby on from underneath the shirt. Almost nothing is shown when I do it (I use my hand to cover up what would be shown until baby is latched and I keep it there to cover up quickly if baby looks away).

I've never had a problem and it helped me feel less isolated than leaving the room every time did until I figured that method out.

Amber - posted on 11/01/2010

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I never went and hid while breastfeeding. I knew it bothered my brothers,so we kind if made a joke out of it and I would yell "booooooob" when I was about to pull it out, they were able to avert their gaze while I got lil man settled. It never really caused any issues and I did not have to hide.

Elizabeth - posted on 11/01/2010

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I was uncomfortable for a few weeks with my first child, I soon realized, not only was I feeling left out, I was making my baby wait to eat and I wasn't getting much done. I started wearing looser tops or tank tops underneath so I could feed discreetly, I also found a real, lightweight, knitted blanket to cover with when I out in public. Most people never even knew what I was doing. I just had my 5th baby and can discreetly feed like a pro. Sometimes I use a cover and sometimes not. Last night I was breastfeeding the baby, with a cover, while taking the other children trick or treating. I had one little girl ask why I kept my baby covered while she slept, no one can tell, if they do, I don't care, my daughter is hungry and needs to eat.

Kendra - posted on 11/01/2010

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I don't miss out, I NIP! You are FEEDING him... why doesn't he get the same privilege as everyone else to be able to eat at the table?! That is how I feel about it... I understand some are not comfortable with NIP, but I don't know how I would survive without doing that...

Liesl - posted on 10/31/2010

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Will he take a binki? He really does not need to nurse for an hour. He is just enjoying being comfortable and snuggly with mom, which is wonderful, but at times he needs to learn that he just can't nurse that long. Try giving him a binki and just holding him close and snuggly.
I found that people are uncomfortable for a while, but then get used to it. I would definitely practice with him at home to get him used to being covered up though. I think that it is good to be considerate of others feelings and at least cover up.

Julie - posted on 10/30/2010

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Here's what I do. My daughter is 2 months old and she does not like to be covered up either. I wear layered shirts and a nursing bra. When I need to nurse her, I can pull the outer shirt up, leaving the tank top to cover me. Then I just slip my nipple out and she takes care of covering that. Sometimes I just use a blanket to get situated and avoid a peep show and then I keep the blanket around her and use it to cover as needed. I think it's much easier than my nursing shaw. Hope this helps :)

Vicki - posted on 10/30/2010

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I nurse anywhere, everywhere and don't take particular care to cover up although of course I'm not flashing anything. I've even fed while talking to a roomful of 100 people at a strata meeting.

To get more comfortable feeding in public maybe attend a LLL (or ABA in Australia) meeting. Everyone is breastfeeding so you feel more comfortable.

April - posted on 10/30/2010

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Hey Mama! I understand your concerns. This may sound absolutely stupid, but - have you ever thought about just turning a chair around and turning your back to the group? That's what I did with my father. I'm a major believer in public breastfeeding *but* I just felt weird breastfeeding around him, so I just turned my back to him. It was a little weird to get used to, but the great thing is that I could still carry on a conversation with him and not miss what was going on. Also - if your little one is 3 months, he'll likely be becoming a much more efficient nurser soon and will only require 5-10 minutes to eat then. =)

HTH!

Tanya - posted on 10/30/2010

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have you fed you wee'un infront of a mirror?
you should try it, you can't see anything!

The more you feed infront of them the less awkward they would be likely to feel

I quit feeding my eldest for the exact same reason, I feltsegregated but have actually realised that I should have made it normal for them.

I wear layers to feed, a stretchy vest under what ever top I have on. That way if A ever pops off suddenly I can just pull one top down or the vest up and no-one sees anything, not even my tummy.

I hope this helps.
You're doing the best thing for your baby and have done well to get this far. xxx

Bianca - posted on 10/30/2010

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I was such a prude before having kids. I have three adult brothers and a grandfather who I breastfeed in front of, I am as discrete as possible. I quickly got over removing myself from the group. Now that I am onto our second child I breastfeed whenever and wherever I like, you normalise breasfeeding by going public. Those around you will just get use to it. Good Luck,
Bianca

Raven - posted on 10/29/2010

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I breastfeed while walking around the store. Other people cannot 'see' anything, but they know what I am doing. It was difficult with my first, but after the second was born I decided who cares! I agree that once you force yourself to just do it, you will see that it really isn't a big deal to most people around you. If someone does have a problem with it, smile and keep giving your child the best start possible! :D

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