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Breastfeeding was one of the most challenging things about being a new mother for me. Okay, pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting are also challenging. But you know breastfeeding has a learning curve, it doesn’t always come naturally, and it’s something we have to learn on the job. All the crazy questions and advice during pregnancy are just a warm up for the real deal, parenthood! Here are 10 things not to say to a breastfeeding mom. If you are breastfeeding you are bound to hear some of these as you begin your breastfeeding journey.
“Didn’t the baby just eat?”
Well meaning family and friends come over and they want to hold your new baby. Then, you take your baby away so you can feed your baby. They then get upset when your little screaming angel wants to eat again 30 minutes later. They may ask you innocently, “didn’t the baby just eat?” Well yes the baby did just eat, but the baby eats whenever the baby wants and as her mom there is no way I am making her wait so you can hold her a little longer.
“Are you worried your breasts will get stretched out?”
I mean.. just as it is really inappropriate to comment on someone’s size during pregnancy, maybe you should keep this one to yourself. Pregnancy is usually more of a culprit for this than breastfeeding. I am sure most women really don’t want to think about or answer this question.
“I support breastfeeding, but…”
No, just don’t. If you say the phrase “I support breastfeeding, but…” then what you are really saying is that you do not support breastfeeding. Either you support it and everything it encompasses or you do not.
Please don’t say:
But why can’t you be discreet?
But I think if they are old enough to ask for it they shouldn’t breastfeed.
But I think a cover is needed in public.
Whatever your but, it just isn’t supportive, so please keep it to yourself. I personally have heard all of these. I am not sure why anyone makes these comments. I think society is just getting used to the normalization of nursing in public. Hopefully when they think about it, most people will realize it’s really none of their business!
“You must never leave the house.”
I have had people say this to me. And at the times it occurred, I was actually out of the house with my baby. I get it. Maybe you think breastfeeding is something done in privacy, and you realize that breastfed babies eat A LOT. So you have come to the conclusion that I never get to leave the house. But the truth is I find leaving the house with a breastfed baby easy. My breasts are always with me so I can feed wherever, whenever I want. I find packing up everything I need for my toddler a lot more work than toting a breastfed baby around.
“Breastfeeding is too much commitment.”
Going along with the never leaving the house comment, I have heard comments regarding the level of commitment involved with breastfeeding, but not in a good way. It’s usually something such as “I could never handle that level of commitment or being tied down.”
While breastfeeding is a huge commitment; pregnancy, childbirth and raising a kid is also a pretty big commitment. I look at breastfeeding along the same lines. I do not feel any more tied down than I was as soon as I saw those pink lines. Even if this is your personal feeling, which is fine, what’s the point of saying it to a mother going through it right now?
“Let me give you some privacy.”
Look, when I am in a large group of people I am pretty discreet about keeping myself covered. Every mom should do what makes her comfortable and I am comfortable nursing around people. I usually have a blanket or something I kind of throw over us. So it drives me nuts when friends or family will offer me privacy and then all vacate the room quickly.
“How long are you planning to breastfeed and when will you wean?”
I’m not sure why anyone believes this is their business, but I suppose it is curiosity or a conversation starter. Since I did/do not have a set amount of time in my head for either of my children, a simple response like “we will wean when we are ready” or “when my baby wants to” is usually my answer. Other responses I have heard that work to stop questioning include “we’ll stop sometime before he goes to college” and the always useful “why do you ask?”
“What will happen when you wean?”
I have heard this one. The question was in reference to how exactly will my breasts dry up without discomfort. Hopefully with a gradual weaning process things will work themselves out. Like all things parenting, we have enough to figure out as we go along. Let’s not put added stress on moms to figure out something in the future that may go smoothly anyway.
“You’re still breastfeeding?”
This one. It goes along with all the weaning comments. I am going to chalk it up to the fact that a lot of people feel entitled to comment on all aspects of pregnancy and parenting, and this is just another thing to comment on. It’s really no one’s business since it’s your baby and your body.
“In my generation we thought breastfeeding was gross.”
Have you ever heard someone say breastfeeding is gross? It’s not gross, but I have heard this from more than one person from another generation. This was not directed at me, but if you tell me about it while I am breastfeeding I am not sure what kind of response you expect.
And a couple other thoughts you might want to keep to yourself.
Anything that involves making fun of nursing bras or clothing. Yes believe it or not I have heard this.
Anything that involves remarks about being bitten once the baby has teeth.
Just like all things parenting, breastfeeding brings out the advice, comments and remarks. Sometimes they are helpful but sometimes they can make a new mom or even an experienced one doubt herself or feel self conscious! Just think before you speak and we should all get along just fine.
Let me know moms, do you have any to add?
*By the way this post was not intended to insult anyone. Please don’t take it to heart if you have uttered one of these phrases. I am sure we are all guilty of saying things like this in our lives!