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Need Advice: Breastfeeding with 3 older (13+) stepson's



 
 
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  #1  
Old September 19th 06, 01:36 PM posted to misc.kids.breastfeeding,misc.kids.pregnancy,misc.kids
2drinksbehind
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Posts: 12
Default Need Advice: Breastfeeding with 3 older (13+) stepson's

I am about 3 months pregnant and I have 4 stepson's (one away at
college) ages: 13, 13, 16 and 18. The boys reside with my husband and
I on a full-time basis. I have a good relationship with all of the
boys and they were actually quite excited when we told them that we
were going to have a baby (something we've been talking about since we
got married in 2003).

Anyhow, I was hoping that someone out there can offer me some advice
about breastfeeding with older children, specifically boys, around. My
husband isn't entirely supportive of it 'cause he thinks that
breastfeeding is an inconvenience. But I've been reading up and I told
him last night that I want to at least try breastfeeding because I feel
that the benefits highly outweigh the inconveniences. The only thing I
am really worried about is how to talk to the boys about it and/or if I
should consider not breastfeeding for the sake of their comfort because
I am afraid that they might feel weird about it. Of course, those of
you that have teenage boys know how they can be sometimes with sexual
type issues.

I feel like it's a natural thing though and I want to explain to them
the reasons why it's so important that I breastfeed. Of course, I
wouldn't be hanging out exposing myself everywhere but just the same I
want to be considerate of their feelings and am worried there's no real
way to balance the issue.

Any help or advice, especially from someone who may have experience
with a similar situation, is appreciated.

  #2  
Old September 19th 06, 01:42 PM posted to misc.kids.breastfeeding,misc.kids.pregnancy,misc.kids
cjra
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Posts: 1,015
Default Need Advice: Breastfeeding with 3 older (13+) stepson's


wrote:
I am about 3 months pregnant and I have 4 stepson's (one away at
college) ages: 13, 13, 16 and 18. The boys reside with my husband and
I on a full-time basis. I have a good relationship with all of the
boys and they were actually quite excited when we told them that we
were going to have a baby (something we've been talking about since we
got married in 2003).

Anyhow, I was hoping that someone out there can offer me some advice
about breastfeeding with older children, specifically boys, around. My
husband isn't entirely supportive of it 'cause he thinks that
breastfeeding is an inconvenience. But I've been reading up and I told
him last night that I want to at least try breastfeeding because I feel
that the benefits highly outweigh the inconveniences. The only thing I
am really worried about is how to talk to the boys about it and/or if I
should consider not breastfeeding for the sake of their comfort because
I am afraid that they might feel weird about it. Of course, those of
you that have teenage boys know how they can be sometimes with sexual
type issues.

I feel like it's a natural thing though and I want to explain to them
the reasons why it's so important that I breastfeed. Of course, I
wouldn't be hanging out exposing myself everywhere but just the same I
want to be considerate of their feelings and am worried there's no real
way to balance the issue.

Any help or advice, especially from someone who may have experience
with a similar situation, is appreciated.


I think the best thing you can do for them is to breastfeed your new
baby and let them see it! Let them know it's the most natural thing in
the world, that it's what breasts are *for*.

  #3  
Old September 19th 06, 02:17 PM posted to misc.kids.breastfeeding,misc.kids.pregnancy,misc.kids
Ericka Kammerer
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Posts: 2,293
Default Need Advice: Breastfeeding with 3 older (13+) stepson's

wrote:

Anyhow, I was hoping that someone out there can offer me some advice
about breastfeeding with older children, specifically boys, around. My
husband isn't entirely supportive of it 'cause he thinks that
breastfeeding is an inconvenience. But I've been reading up and I told
him last night that I want to at least try breastfeeding because I feel
that the benefits highly outweigh the inconveniences. The only thing I
am really worried about is how to talk to the boys about it and/or if I
should consider not breastfeeding for the sake of their comfort because
I am afraid that they might feel weird about it. Of course, those of
you that have teenage boys know how they can be sometimes with sexual
type issues.


Okay, first things first, and repeat it as many times as
you, your husband, or your boys require until they get it:
BREASTFEEDING IS NOT SEXUAL. Second, the benefits of breastfeeding
are so overwhelming as to make it a no brainer that it's best
for the baby and best for you barring unusual situations. Third,
do you want to be a tacit supporter of the idea that breastfeeding
is "icky" and should be kept super private--an idea that causes
many women not to attempt breastfeeding or end it early (with all
the attendant health issues for those women and babies) because
they're so afraid of what others will think?
One of the best health benefits you can give your
baby is to breastfeed. One of the best health benefits
you can give *yourself* is to breastfeed (it provides a
rather dramatic reduction in breast cancer rates, for
example). One of the best things you can teach your
husband and your sons is that breastfeeding is a perfectly
normal activity that they *SHOULD* be comfortable with.
What better time than now to learn? When you have the
perfect teaching opportunity, why would you let them leave
your home believing that breastfeeding is so sexually
charged and taboo that their own mother couldn't even
nurse in their home in order to preserve their delicate
sensibilities?

I feel like it's a natural thing though and I want to explain to them
the reasons why it's so important that I breastfeed. Of course, I
wouldn't be hanging out exposing myself everywhere but just the same I
want to be considerate of their feelings and am worried there's no real
way to balance the issue.


If they cannot tolerate your breastfeeding around
them, there is a serious problem that needs fixing. Do
you really want to send potential fathers out into the world
thinking that breastfeeding is so icky that women shouldn't
do it? Do their future wives and babies a favor! They
will come around. My first two boys were 8 and 6 when their
baby sister arrived, and 10 and 7 when I stopped breastfeeding.
There were never any issues. They are now 11 and 9 and are
not infrequently around other nursing mothers. It would
never occur to them to think there was anything wrong or
uncomfortable about it--and that's the way it should be.
It's one thing to argue that women should have the choice
to breastfeed or not, but to my way of thinking, there is
no rational argument to be made for why it's okay to send
adolescent boys the idea that breastfeeding is so
unimportant that it should be ditched in favor of protecting
their delicate sensibilities--which probably don't even
exist to any significant degree!

Any help or advice, especially from someone who may have experience
with a similar situation, is appreciated.


They will be fine. Whatever trauma they might
go through has already happened now that there's nearly
indisputable proof that you're having sex with their
father. They will deal with this just fine and will get
over any squeamishness quickly. What is more important
right now is that *you* get over *your* squeamishness.
Breastfeeding is not particularly inconvenient unless
you think that you have to be consigned to back rooms
and never leave the house to do it. There are
nursing moms everywhere. You've probably been
around many of them without even noticing that they
were nursing. You don't have to be an exhibitionist
to nurse, but at the same time, no one will be scarred
for life if they catch an occasional glimpse of skin
if something slips. This is normal and appropriate
behavior that should be encouraged.

Best wishes,
Ericka
  #4  
Old September 19th 06, 02:30 PM posted to misc.kids.breastfeeding,misc.kids.pregnancy,misc.kids
2drinksbehind
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 12
Default Need Advice: Breastfeeding with 3 older (13+) stepson's

Thanks for the advice. I COMPLETELY agree with you about everything.
I'm not squeamish about the issue at all, and I know that feeding
your child is what breasts are really for...

But I also know it might be rather difficult to explain that to a 13 yo
boy. I certainly want them to know, understand, realize the intended
purpose for breasts and set a good example but I guess I'm just
afraid because of their age and they're not *my* children.
Unfortunately, society does set a "standard" and "boobs" are a
funny thing that little boys talk about. If they were a bit younger, or
mine, I would have no issue with it. To be honest, I don't really
have any issue with it, I was just wondering how others in the step-mom
role may have dealt with/approached it with their stepchildren.

Then, of course, I've got to really get my husband on the "same
page" with me so that he can enforce the normalcy that is
breastfeeding and not contribute to the phobia.

Ericka Kammerer wrote:
wrote:

Anyhow, I was hoping that someone out there can offer me some advice
about breastfeeding with older children, specifically boys, around. My
husband isn't entirely supportive of it 'cause he thinks that
breastfeeding is an inconvenience. But I've been reading up and I told
him last night that I want to at least try breastfeeding because I feel
that the benefits highly outweigh the inconveniences. The only thing I
am really worried about is how to talk to the boys about it and/or if I
should consider not breastfeeding for the sake of their comfort because
I am afraid that they might feel weird about it. Of course, those of
you that have teenage boys know how they can be sometimes with sexual
type issues.


Okay, first things first, and repeat it as many times as
you, your husband, or your boys require until they get it:
BREASTFEEDING IS NOT SEXUAL. Second, the benefits of breastfeeding
are so overwhelming as to make it a no brainer that it's best
for the baby and best for you barring unusual situations. Third,
do you want to be a tacit supporter of the idea that breastfeeding
is "icky" and should be kept super private--an idea that causes
many women not to attempt breastfeeding or end it early (with all
the attendant health issues for those women and babies) because
they're so afraid of what others will think?
One of the best health benefits you can give your
baby is to breastfeed. One of the best health benefits
you can give *yourself* is to breastfeed (it provides a
rather dramatic reduction in breast cancer rates, for
example). One of the best things you can teach your
husband and your sons is that breastfeeding is a perfectly
normal activity that they *SHOULD* be comfortable with.
What better time than now to learn? When you have the
perfect teaching opportunity, why would you let them leave
your home believing that breastfeeding is so sexually
charged and taboo that their own mother couldn't even
nurse in their home in order to preserve their delicate
sensibilities?

I feel like it's a natural thing though and I want to explain to them
the reasons why it's so important that I breastfeed. Of course, I
wouldn't be hanging out exposing myself everywhere but just the same I
want to be considerate of their feelings and am worried there's no real
way to balance the issue.


If they cannot tolerate your breastfeeding around
them, there is a serious problem that needs fixing. Do
you really want to send potential fathers out into the world
thinking that breastfeeding is so icky that women shouldn't
do it? Do their future wives and babies a favor! They
will come around. My first two boys were 8 and 6 when their
baby sister arrived, and 10 and 7 when I stopped breastfeeding.
There were never any issues. They are now 11 and 9 and are
not infrequently around other nursing mothers. It would
never occur to them to think there was anything wrong or
uncomfortable about it--and that's the way it should be.
It's one thing to argue that women should have the choice
to breastfeed or not, but to my way of thinking, there is
no rational argument to be made for why it's okay to send
adolescent boys the idea that breastfeeding is so
unimportant that it should be ditched in favor of protecting
their delicate sensibilities--which probably don't even
exist to any significant degree!

Any help or advice, especially from someone who may have experience
with a similar situation, is appreciated.


They will be fine. Whatever trauma they might
go through has already happened now that there's nearly
indisputable proof that you're having sex with their
father. They will deal with this just fine and will get
over any squeamishness quickly. What is more important
right now is that *you* get over *your* squeamishness.
Breastfeeding is not particularly inconvenient unless
you think that you have to be consigned to back rooms
and never leave the house to do it. There are
nursing moms everywhere. You've probably been
around many of them without even noticing that they
were nursing. You don't have to be an exhibitionist
to nurse, but at the same time, no one will be scarred
for life if they catch an occasional glimpse of skin
if something slips. This is normal and appropriate
behavior that should be encouraged.

Best wishes,
Ericka


  #5  
Old September 19th 06, 03:10 PM posted to misc.kids.breastfeeding,misc.kids.pregnancy,misc.kids
Rosalie B.
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 984
Default Need Advice: Breastfeeding with 3 older (13+) stepson's

wrote:

Anyhow, I was hoping that someone out there can offer me some advice
about breastfeeding with older children, specifically boys, around. My
husband isn't entirely supportive of it 'cause he thinks that
breastfeeding is an inconvenience. But I've been reading up and I told
him last night that I want to at least try breastfeeding because I feel
that the benefits highly outweigh the inconveniences. The only thing I
am really worried about is how to talk to the boys about it and/or if I
should consider not breastfeeding for the sake of their comfort because
I am afraid that they might feel weird about it. Of course, those of
you that have teenage boys know how they can be sometimes with sexual
type issues.

I feel like it's a natural thing though and I want to explain to them
the reasons why it's so important that I breastfeed. Of course, I
wouldn't be hanging out exposing myself everywhere but just the same I
want to be considerate of their feelings and am worried there's no real
way to balance the issue.


I bf all of my children, and even at home, I wasn't exposed very much,
especially when the kid was little. [When they got older, mine
sometimes stopped to interact (smile - play) but when they are very
little, mine concentrated on eating.] I was at a meeting one day, and
the baby needed to be fed, so I did it. Afterwards the lady sitting
next to me made some comment about that she was glad I wasn't one of
those people who bf. I didn't tell her that I'd been doing that right
next to her.

IMHO the person that is going to be the most problem is not your sons,
but your husband. If their father is on board with it, the boys
should be OK.

I did not have older boys around, but at one point my sister's
brother-in-law was TAD (Temporary Duty) down where we were, and he was
parking his boat and boat trailer in our driveway. (Dh helped him
lubricate the bearings and brakes on it.) He formed the habit of
hanging out at our house.

Now he was a young bachelor, and I didn't know him at all well. (He
was the youngest of my BIL's brothers).

We had one TV and it was in the living room. The Olympics were on (if
you want to know how long ago this was, it was the Olympics in Mexico
City), and I wanted to see them. I had three choices
- leave and bf in the bedroom and miss the Olympics
- tell him to leave (not very hospitable)
- bf in front of him.
I decided that it was my house, and I wouldn't be driven out of my own
living room, and that if he was uncomfortable with it, he could leave.
I didn't express this in words, but he basically ignored the whole
thing, so I don't know if he minded or not.

I had the advantage that this was my third child, so I was
experienced.


  #6  
Old September 19th 06, 03:13 PM posted to misc.kids.breastfeeding,misc.kids.pregnancy,misc.kids
Irene
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 118
Default Need Advice: Breastfeeding with 3 older (13+) stepson's


wrote:
Thanks for the advice. I COMPLETELY agree with you about everything.
I'm not squeamish about the issue at all, and I know that feeding
your child is what breasts are really for...

But I also know it might be rather difficult to explain that to a 13 yo
boy. I certainly want them to know, understand, realize the intended
purpose for breasts and set a good example but I guess I'm just
afraid because of their age and they're not *my* children.
Unfortunately, society does set a "standard" and "boobs" are a
funny thing that little boys talk about. If they were a bit younger, or
mine, I would have no issue with it. To be honest, I don't really
have any issue with it, I was just wondering how others in the step-mom
role may have dealt with/approached it with their stepchildren.

Then, of course, I've got to really get my husband on the "same
page" with me so that he can enforce the normalcy that is
breastfeeding and not contribute to the phobia.


I just want to say, best wishes for bf'ing your new baby! I don't have
any specific advice for discussing bf with 13 yo boys - most of my
discussions have been with much younger or older people. I have bf
around teenage relatives a few times, and didn't have any issues - they
simply averted their eyes or moved away if they were uncomfortable.
But, they were my cousins' kids, or dh's cousins' kids, so not nearly
the same type of relationship. It was also after I had gotten through
the initial learning curve. You will likely find that at first, you
will need to expose your breast a bit simply to be able to see the baby
latch on (and then you can cover up). Later, once baby and you get
more accustomed to bf, you will probably be able to turn aside and
latch on very discreetly, if you so choose.

I will say it is probably likely that teenage boys will be embarrassed
- but it's a healthy type of thing for them to learn. Since I don't
know your step-sons, I don't know the best way to approach them. Maybe
leave some books about nursing lying around for them to find and read?
I've heard So That's What They're For is a good, non-preachy book (by
Janet Tomaro, iirc) - maybe someone else can say whether they think it
would be good for teenage boys? (I haven't read it, I've just seen it
recommended frequently) I don't know if that is better than trying to
sit them down and talk about it, because that seems like you would be
setting yourself up for thinking it is a big deal, iykwim?

(Ok, I guess I had more ideas than I originally thought I did!)

(And of course, I agree with everything Ericka so eloquently said!)

Irene

  #8  
Old September 19th 06, 03:31 PM posted to misc.kids.breastfeeding,misc.kids.pregnancy,misc.kids
Sarah Vaughan
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Posts: 443
Default Need Advice: Breastfeeding with 3 older (13+) stepson's

Ericka Kammerer wrote:

Okay, first things first, and repeat it as many times as
you, your husband, or your boys require until they get it:
BREASTFEEDING IS NOT SEXUAL.


Actually, I wouldn't start saying to them that BREASTFEEDING IS NOT
SEXUAL unless there seems to be some specific reason to make it an
issue. While I have very limited experience with teenage boys, I
strongly suspect that they'll be far more uncomfortable with their
stepmother making a big speech about how BREASTFEEDING IS NOT SEXUAL
than they would with you breastfeeding.

What I would do is this: Make sure the fact that you're going to be
breastfeeding gets mentioned at some point before the birth, but, if you
possibly can, do this in a way that works naturally into the
conversation. "Got to go out and buy some more baby supplies this
weekend - what do we still need? Let's see - at least we don't have to
worry about getting more than one or two bottles, since I'll be
breastfeeding." "The antenatal class was cool. I got some good advice
about breastfeeding, and it looks as though that's going to go OK." Get
the picture? Probably better if they're aware - but definitely better
_not_ to make a big thing out of it.

Then, after the birth, just go ahead and breastfeed. If they look
awkward about it, try to ignore that and continue to act as if it was
natural. (It can be an awkward moment for _anyone_ at first. My family
were all completely pro-breastfeeding and would probably have been
astonished and shocked if I hadn't breastfed, but when it came to the
actual reality of sitting there and talking to me while I breastfed, my
mother and sister were incredibly awkward the first time it happened. I
still remember how acutely uncomfortable it was to sit there with the
two of them staring at me as though I was a zoo exhibit while making
stilted must-try-to-act-natural conversation. A few days down the line,
they were used to it and nobody cared any more. The same may very well
be true for your boys - don't read too much into it or get too worried
if they need a little time to get used to it. Acting natural and not
saying anything is probably a much better way to get it to seem natural
than making a big deal out of it.)

If it really seems to be a problem that isn't going away, you may have
to discuss it. And this may even be something you can do as a joke,
depending on how they raise their objections - if one of them complains
loudly that it's ICKY, then just grin at him and make some teasing
comment. If you really do feel that one of them is having a lot of
difficulty with it, have a gentle chat with him at a private moment.
But don't assume that this is going to be necessary - just act as though
breastfeeding is the natural and obvious thing to do, and see whether
they'll accept that.


All the best,

Sarah

--
http://www.goodenoughmummy.typepad.com

"That which can be destroyed by the truth, should be" - P. C. Hodgell
  #10  
Old September 19th 06, 03:42 PM posted to misc.kids.breastfeeding,misc.kids.pregnancy,misc.kids
Anne Rogers
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Posts: 1,497
Default Need Advice: Breastfeeding with 3 older (13+) stepson's


You might ask him what exactly, is inconvenient about breastfeeding,
in his mind? After all, it's not as if he's going to have to do it
;-)
Point out to him just how *convenient* it will be. No bottles to
fiddle with, no boiling water or mixing formula, no *buying* formula
which is pretty expensive, no toting bottles on outings or worrying
that the formula stays fresh, etc.


absolutely there is no way that a bloke can consider breastfeeding
inconvenient, it's definitely more convenient for them! He may be saying it
out of concern for the women and he does have a point, breastfeeding can be
very tieing, but it's all about attitude, heck, I'm the child's mother I'm
going to have to look after them whatever way I feed them, breastfeeding
infants are fairly portable anyway and there is aways pumping and bottles
for special occasions (though if you want to do that, you do usually need to
get them started on bottles in a timely fashion, usually about 4-6 weeks).

To the OP, I realise these are not your kids, so I can see you are concerned
about how you are going to explain things to them, but presumably they
either already know about how babies are made, or this pregnancy has raised
questions? If they already know about how babies are made, there are likely
to have some vague awareness of the existance of breastfeeding. I know the
book that I had from fairly young about "how the body works" had conception
on one page, then pregnancy and the next had a picture of women
breastfeeding, chances are they have done something about it at school and
without having gone into any details, they will have some awareness that
that is how mammals feed there young.

I suppose there are two approaches, one is doing it face to face, bring it
up in conversation as a general baby care issue, "have you thought about
what the baby eats?", "where does the babies milk come from?", talk about it
as if it is the most normal thing in the world, because it is! I would
totally understand if that is not a conversation you want to have, so there
is the other approach of finding a decent book (others have suggested some)
and leaving it lieing around. Oh and there is one final idea, don't even
mention it, just do it, which makes it seem all the more normal, I'd be very
surprised if they would dare make a comment even if they wanted to!

Cheers

Anne


 




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