24 answers

Am I Being over Sensitive? Trying to Help 4 Yr Old with Understanding Breastfee

UPDATE - WOW!!! Did I say anything about being hung up on breastfeeding.. NO!! I asked how I can help my son get over it. And I said "traumatized in a sense" which to him Ya it was bit unusual b/c we haven't been around other breastfeeding moms. He hasn't really quit asking me to buy bottles for the baby so again, I am trying to help him understand this - not bash public breastfeeding. No where did I say I thought it was wrong that she was breastfeeding in front of my children. I didn't like the fact that tho the child was NOT hungry she decided to pull her breast out and show my children how a baby latches on. It wasn't her place to do so p and again baby was not fussing and baby was not hungry. Just out of the blue she decided to do this. So, thank you for the moms who are giving me encouraging support to help my kid understand it so that when I do breastfeed my 3rd child (b/c I apparently have a hang up on it) that he understands. Thanks again

So my neighbor just had a baby in August and I am due with baby # 3 in November. I did not breastfeed my first 2 but was planning on with my 3rd. Anyways, the other day the neighbor was over and my kids (3 and 4 yr old) and her older daughter (3 y/o) were playing. My son asked for some water so I went into the house to get water for the kids and when I came back out my neighbor was breastfeeding her baby and my son (the 4 yr old) had a funky look on his face. I kind of just ignored it b/c I figured he didn't really know what she was doing since he has never been around a mother nursing her child.

Well fast forward 2 days later I was bathing my kids and my son goes "Mom... is the baby going to eat from your boobs." and with out giving me a chance to respond he continues on that "I really don't want to see the baby sucking on your boobs like Miss X baby was doing the other day. I really hope we can buy some bottles and feed the baby with a bottle". We talked a few mins and apparently the neighbor lady had whipped out her boob just as plain as day in front of the kids and then proceeded to explain to my kids what breastfeeding was. Now, I am not ashamed of public breastfeeding, so please don't think that, but I am a bit irked that she did this while my children were watching and knowing that they had never been around it. I kind of feel like I am the mom and should have explained to my kids what breastfeeding was, not the neighbor. Now, I understand I am probably being a bit sensitve to this issue (b/c I am 8 months pregnant and those darn hormones love to work against us at times, haha) but my 4 yr old has been traumatized in a sense by this. He hasn't quit talking about how he doesn't want the baby sucking on moms boobs. Even though I have explained our way of letting him know that is how baby gets food.

What can I say to help my 4 yr old understand that mom is probably going to be feeding baby the same way? I justg feel bad for him b/c its like he already has a bad view of it b/c neighbor lady just decided to explain her version of breastfeeding.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Also, just wanted to add that the mom was making a point to "teach" my kids. So she wasn't just trying to tend a fussy baby. And also, just so everyone knows I didn't care that she was feeding her baby just the point that she thought she should make it a teaching lesson. Thanks!!

Featured Answers

I don't think you are over sensitive. I think she was insensitive.....

Personally, I hate it when I see a woman whip out a boob and feeds. When I was growing up I had relatives with babies and they just walked around with a boob out and baby attatched. I thought it was gross.. ( I was a teen)

I have no issues with boobs.. I'm one of the first at the topless beach but I hate watching someone BF.

3 moms found this helpful

I would tell him what I've told my kids , Boobies are for feeding babies. That's it , that's the only thing they are for. They need to do their job.

2 moms found this helpful

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I dunno... I would be the first to "whip it out" right there in front of everybody, if my baby needed to eat. We are trying to make breastfeeding the norm in our society, and people need to get over their hangups about breasts. They are for feeding babies. That's it. That is the only purpose of boobs. You don't have to cover up when you nurse, if you are comfortable not covering up. It was fine for my son, but my daughter would not tolerate me covering her head.

I don't think your neighbor did anything wrong, and I don't think your son is actually traumatized. Just tell him that nursing is normal and what boobs are for, and leave it at that.

I think we need to also put ourselves in this neighbor's position: baby is nursing, child is staring and wondering what is going on. What do you do? Your son probably asked her what was going on. What should she do? What any normal mother would... just tell him that the baby is eating or drinking milk. It's NORMAL.

I might actually be thankful that she provided you with this teaching moment. Maybe if your kids could be around more often while she is taking care of the baby, they would get more used to it and not even notice anymore. They are only obsessing because they don't think it's normal. Once they realize that it is, they will stop thinking about it at all.

10 moms found this helpful

what was she supposed to do? you weren't there, and your son clearly needed information. if you wanted to be the one to explain it, you could have done so any time in the preceding 4 years.
sorry if that sounds rude, but people who expect hungry babies to take second place to ridiculous sensitivities about boobs frost my nuggets.

10 moms found this helpful

Yes, my opinion is that you are being a bit over-sensitive (hey, you asked). I think the mom was being nice to explain what was happening and to use it as a teaching moment.

Even if you had not stated it in your post, I could tell you did not breastfeed your children, because I feel that any mom who has would never criticize another mom for 'whipping out her breast' in any situation.
I also think that if you end up exclusively breastfeeding, you should come back and read your post about 4 months into it, I'm sure your feelings will have changed drastically.

If you do plan on breastfeeding, I encourage you and your hubby to attend a breastfeeding class, and talk with your son about what you learn at the class, it is so important to have your family's understanding and complete support during those first few weeks of breastfeeding, especially hubby's.

Good luck with your new baby! :)

9 moms found this helpful

To put it bluntly, you obviously have some serious hangups about breastfeeding that your son has picked up on. If you're planning on breastfeeding your new baby, you need to work on those both on your own and with the rest of your family.

8 moms found this helpful

Do you think she was "making a point to teach" or responding to your son's natural curiosity? Kids ask a LOT of questions, and even if he was shy and didn't ask, if he was standing there staring at her she might have felt the need to explain what was happening.

You can explain that that is how people and all other mammals are designed to feed their babies. Maybe go to a petting zoo or farm that has some baby animals that he can see nursing.

If I was in public or even at a friend's house, I tried to cover up with a blankie or something, so my breast wasn't "hanging out", and it was most uncomfortable if I was at an event with a lot of friends from my office, mostly male. So everyone's comfort level is different, you don't have to be "flaunting" your breastfeeding, but it would be good if you could "de-sexualize" breasts a little for your son and let him learn from you that breastfeeding is natural and normal.

6 moms found this helpful

Gosh - I would have done the same thing as your neighbor! If you went inside and then I was going to feed the baby....and your son didn't understand I would have explained it. I think it would have gone something like, "After I had my baby my body produces milk for the baby to eat. She is hungry so I am feeding her. Some mamas feed their babies with their own milk and some mamas feed their babies with formula....good thing babies can eat both!" and left it at that.
I think I would explain to your child that when the baby comes your body produces milk. It's natural. He wont be traumatized, especially if you talk about it. I don't even think it's something that needs to be talked about a lot...just very matter of fact. I dont' think he has a "bad view" at all...it's just something very new for him to be seeing.
Also, I think that there are always teaching moments. WHile I am a bit baffled that you are so sure that she used this as a teaching moment (did you ask her that), they happen all the time. I point out women that are breastfeeding and remind my boys that that is what's going to happen with their new sister (also preggers!), just to make sure that they understand (my boys are 5 and 8).
I think that everything will work out fine in the long run. It will be good for your son to see your baby nursing (which, may take some time!!), and it will NOT traumatize him, in fact it may educate him a bit.

5 moms found this helpful

If YOU don't/didn't/wouldn't make a big deal about this, neither would your son. We just had our third a couple weeks ago and I'm bfing. Our 3 and 5 year olds never thought twice about it! In fact, our 3 year old made the comment to my husband, "Mommy feeds the baby from her tummy..... I don't know how she does it!" Too cute in my opinion. But the kids know it's NORMAL and that's how God made mommy's! TO BE ABLE TO FEED AND NOURISH THEIR BABIES!

4 moms found this helpful

I would explain to your son that "Yes, I do plan on breastfeeding this baby. However, I plan on doing it in a way that others will not see my whole breast, like the neighbor did the other day."
I would also explain that "God made our bodies in a very special way that enables us to provide the milk for our babies and that I was unable to do that with you and your brother, which makes me a little sad, but I would like to try it with this baby." (Maybe he is a little jealous that you are going to BF this baby?)
I would also explain to him that the neighbor was just trying to help show him what BF was all about... and that you are sorry if it kind of scared him in a way. Ask him why it bothers him so much to have the "baby sucking on the mom's breasts" as he states? Maybe he thinks it will hurt you... you need to find out what is really bothering him about it. Kids have wild imaginations!
Also, tell him that you would appreciate it if he would use appropriate words for body parts... that might help change the situation around a bit... just a thought. Maybe your husband stepping in and talking with him would help too!

Congrats on your new baby and great job not getting upset with your neighbor, even though she kind of overstepped her boundaries there... she was just trying to be helpful and you saw through that despite how it negatively impacted your child.

3 moms found this helpful

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