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A culture of silliness about breastfeeding

(69 Posts)
thatbags Mon 21-Oct-13 14:32:25

Read the full story in the last three entries of this blog

gracesmum Mon 21-Oct-13 15:30:01

Ouch! I am so glad that I was never in that position - I fed DD3 who was strapped to my front in a "Snuggly" while watching a play at a London theatre - OK discreetly whatever that means (presumably not flinging the boobs over the shoulder?) but I have to admit that 6 years earlier with DD1 I was too chicken to try in a posh London tearoom and retreated to the "Ladies' Powder Room " (sic)

JessM Mon 21-Oct-13 16:33:08

Sillyness on both sides isn't there. I'd give an earful to anyone who implied that breastfeeding is rude or offensive. Sod discrete when tits all over page three and magazine stands for the last several decades.

On the other hand the person who took their baby (presumably inside their coat) to a contemporary dance performance (cheapest seats £30 that kind of thing) who let is squeak and fuss all through the very-quiet-music first piece just being inconsiderate. If people want to take their babies to things like that, get an end seat and go outside if it starts to make noises.
(i'm feeling a bit stroppy today it seems smile )

thatbags Mon 21-Oct-13 16:41:21

There can be silliness on both sides, jess. I didn't see it in this story except on the part of the HT. It's a sad comment on our culture that anyone thinks six year old boys might be giggly and distracted (any more than usual!) by seeing a woman breastfeeding a baby.

thatbags Mon 21-Oct-13 16:42:40

I agree about taking noisy kids out of concerts, etc so as not to spoil things for others, but that's a different issue.

Nelliemoser Mon 21-Oct-13 17:23:14

It is so easy to dress so that you can feed a baby without your boobs being fully on show. I never sneaked (?snuck) off to a ladies toilet to feed mine.

A bit of discretion is needed to not go waving bare boobs about yes! I think one should have a little thought for the sensitivities of others.

ninathenana Mon 21-Oct-13 17:30:34

Makes me think of a time years ago before I had children. I had not had any contact with babies. I was working as a market researcher in a town hall. I had my head down concentrating on the questions. When I looked up the lady I was interviewing was breast feeding and she certainly wasn't being discrete!! I managed to keep my composure.

Galen Mon 21-Oct-13 17:42:23

Gary (gardner) blushes if he inadvertently enters the room when dd is breast feeding. He then looks in the opposite direction!grin

janeainsworth Mon 21-Oct-13 18:44:20

Hmm.....the blogger says
"I continued to feed my son, and then my daughter (and not just to be contrary), the harvest festival went according to plan, the year 6 boys behaved impeccably and all was well

My italics. So the mother breastfed the toddler daughter as well as the baby.
Is that ok?
While firmly believing that a mother should be able to feed a babe-in-arms without harassment, I can't help feeling that feeding a toddler during a public occasion like a school harvest festival is perhaps unnecessary and, dare I say it, a little provocative.

wisewoman Mon 21-Oct-13 19:00:56

More blogs from the breastfeeding mafia! I do feel so sorry for any young mum who can't or doesn't want to breastfeed. Of course breastfeeding is best for babies - ok - but it doesn't make you mother of the year. There are lots of things that are best for babies that we don't all do! The language used by those who do about those who don't can be very inflammatory. Mums are under enough pressure to do everything "right" but those who turn breastfeeding into a campaign of them and us really do make me angry!! I have some experience of this with a young mum who was made to feel bad though she couldn't breast feed. This just touched a nerve.

janeainsworth Mon 21-Oct-13 19:05:42

Completely agree, Wisewoman
I remember the late great Dr Hugh Jolly's advice to anyone who was feeling guilty about being unable to breastfeed - he suggested going along to the local school and watching the children in the playground to see if you could tell which ones had been breast-fed grin

thatbags Mon 21-Oct-13 19:41:33

Nobody would have objected if the mum had given the baby a bottle. Or the toddler, for that matter. THAT is the problem, the fact the breastfeeding is objected to. It shouldn't be. It really is as simple as that.

This woman is not campaigning to get other mothers to breastfeed if they choose not to. She is saying that she, and those who choose to, should be allowed the same freedom as bottle feeding mothers.

And she's right to do so imo.

As for bf-ing a toddler, why is that provocative if the child still takes milk from the mother?

janeainsworth Mon 21-Oct-13 20:26:29

Bags I was just wondering at what age breast-feeding changes from being considered the right thing to do by most people, to being a slightly odd thing to do, to being very odd.
My grandfather was a policeman in Stockport in the 20's and 30's and in those days it was apparently a common sight to see women sitting on their front door steps, breastfeeding their babes, and the older siblings would join in too.
My bookgroup recently read Room by Emma Donoghue and one of the things that was discussed was whether it was healthy or not for a 5-year old boy to be breastfed, as described in the book, though the circumstances of the book were of course quite different from normal life.
What age do we all think children should be weaned? 2? 4? 10?
Just throwing the question open for discussion really.
Personally I can understand a toddler still having a little comfort suck last thing at night, but I would have felt uncomfortable feeding any of mine in public at that age.

thatbags Mon 21-Oct-13 20:33:16

So would I, but that's beside the point. There is nothing wrong with breastfeeding young children just as there's nothing wrong with bottle feeding young children. The problem is that we have, as a society, got completely screwed up about it. I admire women who fight that stupidity.

As for 'shoulds', who knows? Deep in my bones, I feel there shouldn't be any shoulds about when a child is too old to be breastfed. I know there have been news stories of people carrying on in a very public way but these are exceptions. The bast majority of breastfed babies wean themselves within the first few years of life, as do other mammal babies.

I think we've just forgotten that we are animals.

thatbags Mon 21-Oct-13 20:33:48


Galen Mon 21-Oct-13 20:34:10

Dd is still bf her 2yr 3month old with another due this week!
She intends to continue with both.
I couldn't bf! No milk. I gave up at 6/52 with first as he was getting malnourished even with supplementary bottles (which he took better than the breast)
With DD. My father (and senior partner in general practice) died 10 days after she was born and the milk flow stopped!
I've felt guilty ever since, that I couldn't breast feed.

thatbags Mon 21-Oct-13 20:35:35

And the stupidity is not helped by headteachers apparently thinking little boys can't cope with seeing a baby being breastfed. She supposed to educate them not give them idiotic hangups.

thatbags Mon 21-Oct-13 20:38:44

You shouldn’t feel guilty, galen. flowers

A friend of mine got pregnant while she was still bf-ing her first child (less than two years between them) but the child soon weaned herslef. Friend thought perhaps the milk changed during pregnancy for the sake of the foetus. How will your new GC get colostrum if milk is still flowing?

That has always puzzled me. Perhaps it doesn't matter?

janeainsworth Mon 21-Oct-13 20:43:21

Bags I do think there is a norm about when children should give up baby things.
Feeding from the breast, or from bottles, is what babies do.
Children learn to drink from cups.
Babies stuff food into their mouths with their hands and smear it all over their faces. Children learn to use cutlery.
Babies play with their genitals. Children learn that it's not ok for them to do that in public.
Toddlers have tantrums. Older children learn to control their anger.

Why is breast feeding any different?

Galen Mon 21-Oct-13 20:44:15

DD says its colostrum!

vegasmags Mon 21-Oct-13 20:45:59

I guess the age of weaning is culturally determined, as is the age of discarding nappies and using the toilet. In China, where nappies aren't used at all, I was momentarily taken aback to see a little boy having a massive pooh right on the Great Wall, to applause from his relatives!

thatbags Mon 21-Oct-13 20:47:06

It isn't any different, jane. But there are no set times for these changes and when children achieve the progressions is very variable. I'm talking about pre-school kids. Of my own acquaintance, the latest weaning was at about three and a half. The child was just having a wee suck now and again. That seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Galen Mon 21-Oct-13 20:47:33

DGD feeds easily from a cup! Still wants 'mummy milk' although it's actually colostrum at the moment!
I think it's a comfort thing!
She doesn't like dolls. Is not interested in the coming sister.
Now, if mummy was giving birth to a helicopter!
She'd be delighted?thlhmm

thatbags Mon 21-Oct-13 20:48:14

galen, my friend thought that the taste of colostrum must be different and that's why the child went off it. Seems plausible.

thatbags Mon 21-Oct-13 20:49:32

So, I think I'm saying that to bf a 'toddler' is within the norm, whatever the norm is.