Children's reactions to breast-feeding mothers

For any of you Doper mothers who fed your babies straight from the pump, what kind of reaction did you get from your older chldren while you were doing so? Did they think it was interesting? Gross? Were they jealous? I’m specifically wondering about the reaction of children say 4-6 years old, of either gender.

Well I’ll let you know about 4 and 6 yr olds in Feb when I’ll have one of each and a new baby.

When I had my younger son, my older son was 2 1/2. Sometimes he would watch for a little bit and I remember a conversation in the early days.

son#1:Whas he doin?

me: What is he doing? (i’m trying to elicit if he does have any idea)

son#1: he’s drinking

me: drinking what?

son#1: drinking MILK!

me: that’s right!

son#1: can my try it?

me: um, it’s just for babies

( Disclaimer:I am well aware of the practice and benefits of extended nursing and child led weaning well past his age, but as he’d weaned himself at 20 months I wasn’t about to have him take it up again)

son wanders off.

Mostly he used the time I was nursing to create all kinds of mayhem because he knew I was a little tied down.

Apparently when I was nearly four and had a newborn brother I would try to bite his toes when he was nursing. Now that brother has grown up and has his own 3 yr. old daughter trying to bite the toes of their newborn son.

My older son was almost 5 when the second child was born. It didn’t seem to be a big deal. We explained that was how babies got their milk sometimes, that nature made sure mammals could feed their babies even before there were stores and look, it’s free!

He never really even paid much attention to the whole process.

I’ll tell you what I did.

Mom told me my younger sister was feeding from the breast.

I came back later and asked, "Is that like the moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow?

Yes, I was a weird kid…

My older son was six when he became a big brother. Growing up in Scandihoovia, of course, he already knew what breastfeeding was all about. His only comments were along the lines of “he oinks like a pig when he’s eating!” and “boy, he’s sure taking a long time today!”

(And yes, totnak did sound like a little piglet when he was nursing…)

My oldest daughter is almost six and she has a two month old baby sister who breast feeds. We just tell her that’s the normal way that babies eat and she thinks nothing of it. Sometimes if the baby’s crying she’ll say, “Mommy, I think the baby wants to nurse.” She calls expressed milk, “nurse milk.”

My nearly four year old son was fascinated for all of a week before he got bored and simply didn’t see it any more.

He fed his baby doll from his own boobies, as I fed the baby, and twice or so he wanted to feed the actual baby, so I let him! He soon scooted off as he felt that grabby wet mouth come at him!

I did tell him that milk only comes out of mummy-boobies, but he said “Milk comes out of mine, because I’m a tough guy.” So there you are.

My daughter was 2 when my son was born.

Initially, she was a little bit jealous, but not of the nursing itself. More because she knew that that would be uninterrupted time that the baby had with me. She would even say sometimes, “No, don’t feed the baby!”

I would have her come sit next to me and I’d read to her while he nursed. Sometimes she would lie on the couch next to me and put her bare feet on his head—not so much to kick him in the head (although I did have to stop that from happening more than a few times) but because his head was fuzzy and warm and she liked how it felt on her feet.

She never asked me to nurse, which I had been expecting from a child her age. After a few months, she started nursung her baby dolls, and a few times, she would pretend to pump as well, which was hilarious. She did ask to drink out of a bottle a couple of times, but I told her that was just for babies.

My oldest child was four when I got pregnant with her brother. I spent time talking to her about how we’d take care of the new baby, diapering, clothing, etc. Of course, I explained how I’d be feeding him. Well, one day we had a guest–a older teenaged girl who was a friend of my youngest sisters. Charlotte proceeded to tell her about the new baby, how it was a boy, and it would be about this big, etc, etc, and finished up by saying, “And the baby’s gonna drink outta Mommy’s noonies!” I thought we were going to have to get oxygen for the poor girl–she laughed so hard she could barely breathe!

My 15 year old is completely grossed out about my breast feeding my eight month old. I think she’s a tiny bit jealous of all the attention too.

Sorry my age difference doesn’t match your question though.

My 11-year-old boy doesn’t pay much attention to it at all.

My 4 year old nephew was very excited about my son, his cousin, being born and when I would nurse him he would often ask 'What is he doing?" and I or my sister would say, he is eating, or his mommy is feeding him. He seemed interested for a while and then dropped it. His mother would remind him that is how babies eat, and when he was a baby he ate that way too. It seemed to satisfy his curiosity and he would just say ‘oh yeah’ and then move on to something else.

Usually older kids are interested in babies and baby-related things for a while because they are new, but then lose interest when they figure out the baby can’t do anything. Kids imitating nursing with dolls or wanting to nurse the baby themselves is common even with boys and no big deal, as others have pointed out.

My 12 year old cousin was much more embarassed at even the mention of nursing and she didn’t even want to be around at all when I did (even though I always kept covered.) I never pushed or made her talk to me while I was nursing.

When my older son was born, his sister, then 2-1/2 wanted a sample. She didn’t remember how and ran off giggling. That was the end of it. Seeing her brother nurse was, as many have mentioned, just part of the landscape.

Now, ages 8 and 10, they’re used to me nursing their baby brother, 1. To them, it’s the normal way babies eat and they think nothing of it.

My little one is quite a comedian, though, and likes to fake us out by acting like he’s going to nurse from Daddy. Ha!

I remember when I was in kindergarten I was absolutely disgusted by the site of my aunt breast feeding my cousin. Apparently I declared then that I would not have children because of it.

Mine’s an only child, but when he was 3-4 his babysitter had babies 11 months apart. Like everyone else’s kids, he was curious at first and then it was just background.

What cracked me up about it was how he would parrot back the nursing explanation she apparently used. If someone asked him about breast-feeding, he wouldn’t answer “how babies eat” or anything simplistic, it was an entire “the infant drinks the warm sweet milk from the mommy and then drifts off to sleep” answer all in one breath. :smiley:

Our twins are almost three, and the baby is almost one.

It is background for both kids, really, except that my daughter will sometimes pretend to nurse her dolls and stuffed animals. Her twin brother doesn’t do this.

And I bet you’re glad he doesn’t. :cool:

My son nursed his dolls and stuffed toys. He was 3 when his brother was born and had only weaned a few months previous, so our situation required a lot of gentle refusals and reminders that he could eat pizza while the baby only got milk. At 5, he still says “that baby needs some booby” whenever he sees a cranky baby.

My older daughters were jealous when the littlest was born. They could remember nursing - my oldest nursed to 5 (she was 6 when littlest was born) and the next was 3 1/2 when pregnancy brought her nursing career to an end (she was 4 when baby was born). So they were jealous, and I simply didn’t want to allow them to resume nursing. I have, since then, occasionally given a teaspoonful of milk in a cup every so often to pacify revenant jealousy; it’s always enough.

The other day my 2 year old had nursed, and was sitting on my lap lovingly patting my breasts through my shirt with both hands, my oldest grinned and said “She’s fluffing them up!”

It’s the most natural thing in the world. They think so, and why shouldn’t it be true?

Our second child was born when our first child was just under three years old.

I was successful at breastfeeding our first child until she was about seven months old, and she refused to breastfeed anymore. By that time, though, she was eating almost 100% table food, so formula and breast milk were unnecessary.

I was not terribly successful at breastfeeding the second child, for reasons completely beyond my control. He (the second child) was born with low muscle tone, and he simply couldn’t suckle hard enough for a sufficient let-down on my part. The pediatrician did not pay any attention to my complaints and worries, especially since he was a healthy infant who gained weight on a regular, if slow, basis. We only found out about the low muscle tone when he was 11 months old, and by that time, it was too late to correct the recognizable problems.

Breastfeeding was so miserable for both of us that I decided to start giving him breast milk by bottle until he was about six weeks old. I pumped several times a day–often at work–to make sure that he had enough milk.

However, I don’t remember our daughter (the older child) having any negative reactions to my breastfeeding her brother, or pumping milk for him when I got home from work.

Part of it may have been due to the fact that I went back to work when the second child was only two weeks old. I was a graduate student, without any rights to maternity leave of any kind, and I had to pay for my substitute out-of-pocket.

She was a little jealous of the attention he got, but she liked her daycare program, and was very worried about him when we found out he was deaf, and then again when we found out that he had low muscle tone, and needed therapy to learn how to crawl and walk.

We moved to a different town when she was 3 and he was not quite a year old, and I became a SAHM. She went to all of his therapy appointments (speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy). That probably had more impact on her than my breastfeeding/pumping did.

After the first year or so, she became very protective of him. She is 14yo now. Son is 10yo (almost 11yo). Son wears hearing aids to improve his hearing, and remembers only a handful of ASL signs we taught him when he was a deaf infant. Daughter still uses the ASL that we taught him as an infant, before he had surgery to improve his hearing well enough to make hearing aids effective.

As siblings, they rarely fight at all, since they have very little in common. However, they both care very much about the other. When Son has been hospitalized (broken femur when he was 3, then Guillain-Barre Syndrome when he was 7), Daughter wanted to see him every day, to be sure he was all right. Daughter has been hospitalized a couple of times for depression in the last year, and Son has wanted to make sure she was all right, and has gone out of his way to help her feel better.