Breastfeeding Banned in … PRIVATE?

15 Nov

How private is private when you’re at home?

While I was pregnant with the twins, I mentioned to Hubby that I was not going to be retreating to the bedroom to nurse every time the girls were hungry.  Breasts have always been a very sexual organ in his mind, and I knew this was something I needed to announce.  I didn’t have a problem with either DD, MonkeyFace (13) or DS, PunkBoy (12) seeing me nurse.  I didn’t plan on flaunting my naked breasts or walking around topless, I’d still be discreet – but I wasn’t going to throw a blanket over their head every time they were eating either.  My concern was how my 12 year old stepson, BonkerHead, was going to react – and how Hubby would (or wouldn’t) address it.

Hubby wasn’t thrilled, he wanted to know why I couldn’t just go to the bedroom for feeding time – since that’s what I did when I was pumping for the surrobaby the year before.  In my mind, pumping is completely different.  Breasts HAVE to be hanging out, nipples are being contorted as this machine whirs uncomfortably next to me.  Hell, it’s uncomfortable for ME to watch myself while I’m pumping!  It’s not natural!  Feeding babies is more natural than most anything else we do daily – I refused to hide it as if it were dirty or I should be ashamed.

The first encounter happened in the hospital when the kids visited.  I set myself up to feed them, acting natural.  I could see Hubby a little uncomfortable that his brand new daughters were eating, but not the REAL uncomfortable feeling I was expecting from him.  MF & PB acted as if nothing were different, continuing with whatever activity they had been doing prior.  BH, however, was turned completely sideways on the couch and was staring out the window like there was a circus in the hospital parking lot.  I ignored it & continued nursing as if nothing were wrong.  I later asked Hubby if he had addressed it with him – he had confirmed he was uncomfortable, but didn’t address it further.  As a stepmom, I prefer to tread lightly where BH is concerned, even after 11 years of being in each other’s lives.  Talking about it, “addressing it” myself, seemed to be calling attention to  it – I decided that meeting it head on would make it seem like there was something wrong with it … I would just continue acting it was as natural as it was.

After coming home from the hospital, BH would disappear every time I nursed.  He became a recluse to his room. When he DID come upstairs to go to the kitchen or something, he would loop around the back of the house to avoid me – possibly nursing – in the living room.  Within a week or two, if he was watching a show with us in the living room & feeding time presented itself, he would stay – but slumped down in the couch & never glancing in our direction while speaking.

I don’t know when, exactly, we got over the hump – but the girls are now 8 weeks old & he’ll actually carry on a conversation, making eye contact, while I nurse.  I’m never topless when I feed the girls in front of him, but there is usually some breast exposed if someone were to look.  He doesn’t.

In other “Uncomfortable Breastfeeding Issues in my Own Home” topics … it’s also taken me 8 weeks of training to teach my unsocial butterfly, PunkBoy (an Aspie), that he can NOT kiss the babies on the head while I’m feeding them – and that him sitting beside me, or talking to the babies, or rubbing their heads while I nurse makes me uncomfortable.  That was a problem I never expected.  I must keep reminding myself that “personal space” is nonexistent to him.  I had read posts about woman claiming that they were teenage boys, of course they’d want to sneak of peek of boob if they could – and that thought had me worried about my own son.  Is that why he didn’t have any issues coming so close while I was nursing?  I had the 2 extremes, one who was staying too far away & another who was entirely too close.  This past week I realized, PunkBoy really has no idea when I am nursing and when I’m not.  Once he was talking to Sophie [in his super high pitched baby talk] & said, “Are you upset because you know your sister’s eating right now? Are you jealous?” (I wasn’t feeding Olivia) and another time he asked if I wanted him to bring me the other baby so she could eat too (also wasn’t nursing that time either).  Thank God.

MonkeyFace’s room is upstairs, while the boys are in the basement … I have found myself – first thing in the morning, or last thing at night, running back & forth between our room & the nursery TOPLESS.  Or leaving my bedroom door open while I breastfeed topless.  MonkeyFace never acted like it was any different than me wearing a shirt when she came out of her room one day, & so I’ve continued.  She’ll occasionally come into the nursery or the bedroom to help or tell me something.  It’s another one of those things that makes Hubby uncomfortable.  I’ve tried explaining to him that I have no issues with her seeing me like that.  I’d rather she see my normal body than to grow up with unrealistic expectations of what her own body should look like.  There’s some baby flab here, my boobs aren’t shaped perfectly – EVERYTHING from neck to waist is pretty unattractive these day … and ya know what … it’s all me, it’s all natural, and it’s a part of life … my life.

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2 Responses to “Breastfeeding Banned in … PRIVATE?”

  1. Laotian Commotion November 16, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    I was going to politely inquire about PunkBoy and the behavior characteristics and noticed at the end of your post you tagged “Asperger’s Syndrome.” I am a failed special education teacher and enjoyed reading your experience!

    My husband makes off-hand comments about breastfeeding and, not going to lie, it hurts my feelings when he says, “Oh, if you can carry a whole conversation with your kid, he shouldn’t be breastfeeding!” (I am planning to breastfeed until Humnoy self-weans) Well, our kid has always been advanced so what if he starts talking about the age of one, ya know? But then he’s the first to claim our son’s greatest abilities is attributed to Mama’s boobie juice! Men… 😉

    • alyson75 November 16, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

      I’m definitely no expert on Asperger’s, but I could talk about our experiences & what we’ve learned all day long. Mostly complaints 😉 When I would talk about breastfeeding with anyone, my running joke is … when they’re old enough to unbutton my shirt, I think it’s time to wean. 😉 Breastfeeding twins has definitely challenged me, I don’t know how long we’ll make it. I didn’t know with the older ones either … we only made it to 6 months. I’ve read about where moms will refer to their breasts by some nickname so their children won’t be yelling, “Mommy, I want boobies”, or something equally appalling, in the middle of the mall. I hadn’t really thought much about it, and Hubby & I haven’t discussed it. I would imagine his response would be similar to that of yours! Hehehe

      I think as long as momma & baby are comfortable, it’s really none of my business. That doesn’t mean I won’t tell my friends about the 6 year old I saw nursing today – ’cause I will! – but it’s still none of my business! 😉 Now … I agree … dealing with Hubby may be a whole ‘nother ballgame. If your hubby is able to acknowledge the benefits of breastfeeding, perhaps he’s only joking? Or, as you mentioned … perhaps he’s just a man. lol

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