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I’m done breastfeeding my kids, but I have friends who are still nursing and we hang out with them socially. My husband is polite and he likes hanging out with them. He doesn’t say anything to them directly, but when we get home he tells me it’s weird and they should go into the other room when they are nursing. He says he “doesn’t know where to look “and is afraid to stare. I don’t even notice that they are nursing and certainly don’t want to tell them to go in the other room! Ack! How do I solve this?
– Sandy in HI
Unfortunately, your husband is not alone in his thinking. But what we need to do is support these breastfeeding moms! I’m curious; when you were nursing did you hide? Did you cover up in public? Does your husband cover his head when he eats? I am hoping the answer to all these questions is no.
It’s good that you have a relationship where he is honest with you about his feelings. I’m glad he’s polite enough not to say anything directly to your breastfeeding friends. They need to feel relaxed when nursing. It’s most definitely NOT weird. It’s pretty fantastic and amazing – and free, and the perfect temperature, and always ready, needs no bottles, or spoons, or mixing, and it’s exactly what a baby needs. If the baby is less than six months old, breast milk is the ONLY nutrition the baby needs. And the IBC and World Health Organization recommend breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years or longer as mutually desired by both mother and infant.
It’s so important for people to see mothers breastfeeding so that it becomes accepted and normal in our society again. It also encourages future parents to breast feed their children as well.
So, you might want to remind your husband about how no one covers up to eat and that she’s not exhibiting indecent exposure, she’s feeding a child. A baby over a few months would pull off a cover – even if Mom tried to cover him or her. Yes, breasts are pretty and nice to look at, but he can politely avert his eyes when she’s feeding.
Bottom line: if your husband is uncomfortable, it is he who needs to go into the other room.
International Breastfeeding Centre: http://ibconline.ca/
La Leche League International: http://www.llli.org/
World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs342/en/