Breastfeeding has become such a controversial topic, has it not? It’s truly amazing how something to necessary and natural has become the brunt of so many silly jokes and arguments. Today’s post is about those pesky comments and opinions we’ve all gotten (or will soon get) from family, friends, and even bold people we pass in the mall (I’m not even kidding!). Whether you’re breastfeeding uncovered in broad daylight, or huddled with your 2-year-old in a nursing room – people have AAAAAALLLLLL kinds of opinions and no qualms about sharing them!
Here are some simple ways to respond when facing criticisms for breastfeeding your child.
Educate Them: So many other moms – maybe even your own – think that breastfeeding for so long, or at all, is a selfish way to keep your kiddo all to yourself and dependent on you. Response? Why, yes, yes I am being selfish, but here are some ACTUAL reasons why:
Get The Specifics: Find out what exactly about your breastfeeding is the issue. Is it the fact that you are in public? Perhaps it’s because you are breast feeding your 18 month-old. Whatever the issue is, get to the bottom so you can quickly and easily address the problem and move on. No matter who you’re dealing with, the largest issue is that they want their opinion heard. By pinpointing their specific opinion, you will not only adequately respond to it, but likely resolve it all together by simply acknowledging it.
Quote The Experts: Many friends and family members won’t value your simple choices. Combat that with expert advice! Tell them that your doctor and/or pediatrician agrees with and encourages your infant feeding choices. You can also remind them that The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mutually desired.” The World Health Organization also recommends that babies be breastfed for at least two years. Whatever the problem, the authorities have answers. Quote them! It’s hard to refute official evidence. 😉
Make A Joke Of It: If none of the above tend to work, or if you really just don’t want to get into it, crack a joke about it! It’s crucial to be able to laugh at ourselves once in awhile – make this situation your “once in awhile” if necessary. Something like “yeah, we’ll wean her once she starts college”, will hush the critics right up.
Brush It Off: Sometimes you just don’t want to deal with ONE.MORE.BREASTFEEDING.COMMENT. In this case, change the subject, mamas! You have the right to ignore, brush off, and minimize anything you want. As individuals, we often forget our own right to comfort in conversations.
Be A Punk: We all know those people – even strangers – that just won’t care about the expert’s recommendations, or your own personal opinions and choices. There’s really only so many annoyingly critical and invasive questions a mama can take about breastfeeding. Here are a few choice phrases for them.
Oh wow, you’re still breastfeeding?
“Why, no. I weaned when I was 2, but I mean, if you still are don’t feel embarrassed!”
“Oh! I hadn’t even noticed!”
“Sure am! Thanks for asking – it’s so great when [strangers, family, friends, etc] show a concerned interest in my baby’s awesome form of nutrition!”
“Yep, this little guy sure is! I know so many other mamas start using formula after insensitive people treat them rudely, but not me!”
So, when are you going to stop breastfeeding?
“Hmmm, I’m not sure – ask him” (pointing to baby)
“What do you suggest, based on your clinical research?”
“Never” (Seriously this is my fave hahahahaha. People never really know what to say lol)
“Ya know, I’m just not sure. Parenting tends to be one of those “learn as you go” things.”
When all else fails, mamas, rely on the strength and support of those in your inner circle of trust. Hold your supporters close, and don’t get sucked into the lie that outsiders can determine when breastfeeding is or isn’t a valid choice for your kiddos. Whether you choose to breastfeed for 6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months, or 6 years – it’s YOUR choice. Stay informed, and do what’s best for you and your little.
Have any successful comebacks for breastfeeding criticism? Leave it below for us to use and enjoy!! 🙂
-Milk Mama Heather