what NOT to say to a breastfeeding mom

I am now 14 months into my breastfeeding journey.
It’s a huge accomplishment for me and it has been a roller coaster that I absolutely adore. But there are cons along with the pros.

As if dealing with
-the newborn phase of raw, sore nipples being latched on every hour
-the occasional episode of SUPER painful thrush (thank you, gentian violet!)
-the biting phase, where one minute you’re peacefully nursing and the next minute you got bit so hard it brings blood and you’re seeing stars
-constantly feeling like a leaking, hungry host to a screaming little parasite that you just gave birth to
isn’t enough, you’ve also got to deal with the rude, hateful, and sometimes just completely ignorant things that people say.

So to celebrate 14 months of breastfeeding, here’s
14 Things NOT to Say to a Breastfeeding Mother

1.  “Do you not feel better when you’re covered up?” or “There’s a bathroom you could do that in.”
Nope. Because first off, my son will not LET you cover him up. Trust me. I’ve tried it. His tiny little legs kicked that cover off so fast and no matter how I rigged it to stay up, he refused to latch until he could look around. I mean, do YOU eat with a blanket on your head? I don’t. So why should he have to? Rest assured that I’m not trying to seduce all the husbands when I whip out a saggy, milk filled, veiny boob to feed my child. To a breastfeeding mom, boobs are no longer sexy. I mean my child knows them as WOOGIES for God’s sakes. How sexy can a freaking WOOGIE be?
And as far as nursing in the bathroom goes… I have trouble peeing in a public bathroom without feeling like I’ve picked up every disease and germ that exists. Why would I ever in a million years want to bring my baby in there to chill and eat? No way. Don’t like it? Don’t look. I hate to see people chew their food with their mouths wide open, but I’m not going up to their table demanding that they chew with their mouths closed. I just don’t look.

2. “How will he ever learn to self-soothe?”
Ugh, I know right? It’s going to be tough whenever my son doesn’t score a touchdown at his high school football game and comes screaming into my arms ready to breastfeed.

3. “Are you sure that baby’s getting enough milk? He sure is eating all the time! Leroy never ate that much on the bottle.”

Well. That’s what babies do. They eat. A lot. Breast milk metabolizes much faster than formula so it seems like they are constantly eating, especially younger babies. Saying this to a mom who is already worrying about her milk supply just makes the struggle SO much worse. So word of advice: mind your own boobs. Unless I’m asking you to breastfeed my child, and I won’t, don’t worry about how much milk my baby’s getting. That’s for me and his pediatrician/lactation consultant to worry about.

4. “She’s just using you as a pacifier!”
Which came first? The breast or the pacifier? I’ll wait… Yep, the breast was there first. Long before the pacifier was there to save the sanity of moms everywhere. So ask yourself: are breastfed babies really using breasts as pacifiers? Or are babies using pacifiers as replacement nipples? Because a pacifier is literally just a substitute for a breast. And you don’t see me going around to moms of babies with binkies saying, “Ugh. He’s just using that as a nipple. 🙄” And besides that, breastfeeding is so much more than just a way to deliver milk into a baby’s stomach. It really IS a pacifier. Nursing brings comfort, helps ease a hurting tummy, builds a bond between baby and mom, among a hundred other things. So yeah, if my baby starts to cry and I know I can soothe that by nursing him, I’m going to do it. And it helps build up my milk supply in the process. Like I said, unless I’m asking you to breastfeed my child, don’t worry about it.

5. “So… When are you gonna wean him? Is he not too old to still be nursing?”
This usually happens the literal SECOND that your baby turns one, I have learned. First off, it’s none of your beeswax. Secondly, the American Academy of Pediatrics states, “The AAP recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months of life. This means your baby needs no additional foods (except Vitamin D) or fluids unless medically indicated. Babies should continue to breastfeed for a year and for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby.” FOR AS LONG AS IS MUTUALLY DESIRED BY THE MOTHER AND BABY. By who now? Mother and baby. Not mother, baby, and lady at Wal-Mart. Not mother, baby, and grandma of the child. Not mother, baby, and in-laws. Just mother and baby. The World Health Organization recommends that a woman breastfeed “up to the age of two years or beyond.” As if I NEED to elaborate further than that, there are so many benefits of nursing beyond a year. Look them up. Seriously, the stuff isn’t called liquid gold for nothing. Besides, who says just because my child turns one means that he needs to have the one thing that brings him comfort, security, and protection ripped from him? Especially when it’s still extremely nutritious and good for him. No one bats an eye at a 14 month old holding a bottle, which need I remind you is a imitation of a breast, but let it be the real thing and everyone loses their 💩. If my little one makes it to two and is still breastfeeding, I’m already mentally prepared for the “Now it’s just plain perverted!” comments that I’ve seen thrown around to moms who practice full-term breastfeeding (the practice of letting the child naturally wean off the breast on his/her own terms). Listen to the AAP. Between mother and baby. Find a hobby, Brenda, and leave my boobs out of it.

6. “You’d get so much more sleep if you would switch to the bottle!”
Hahahaha. Wrong. I formula fed my first child and let me tell ya. I was exhausted then too. We’re moms. We’re tired. No matter if the kid is screaming for a bottle or a boob, we’ve got to wake up regardless and feed them.

7. “Has your husband tasted your milk?’
Okay. Creepy. Breast milk isn’t a fetish. And I’m not a living Sam’s Club giving out samples of my milk. Weird.

8. “I didn’t breastfeed and my kids are perfectly healthy.”
Good for you! What’s that got to do with me? I made the choice to breastfeed. I’m allowed to make that choice. How you chose to feed your kid has nothing to do with me.

9. “How is your husband ever going to bond with your baby?”
Well, luckily, feeding isn’t the only way to bond with a baby. Believe it or not, there are times when that baby isn’t eating and I think I speak for all nursing moms when I say that husbands are MORE than welcome to spend a little time with the baby during those times. That way we can shower. Or go lock ourselves in a closed room for five minutes in complete silence. If you can’t possibly think of a way to bond with a baby besides feeding, you need to be a little more creative.

10. “Breastfeeding is going to ruin your boobs.”
How RUDE, for one. Like how hated would I be if I was someone who went around to anyone I saw eating a cheeseburger and said, “Eating that is going to ruin your physique.” Uhh, okay? Why is that so acceptable to say to a nursing mom?! When did it become okay to make insulting comments about another person’s body like that? Like… It’s 2017. If I want to breastfeed and then celebrate the end of our breastfeeding journey with a breast reduction, boob job, whatever, then I WILL with zero shame in my game.  Or if I want to feel happy and comfortable with my “ruined” boobs, I’ll do that too! It’s my body. As long as I am comfortable and confident, leave me alone. And that statement is a myth anyways. Pregnancy is the real culprit of boob “ruining” here. Plenty of women breastfeed, even multiple kids or breastfeed into toddlerhood and still love the way theirs look. And breastfeeding lowers a woman’s risk for breast cancer, so even if they don’t look the best according to society’s standards (which, frankly, I don’t give a rat’s tail about), that’s just one more pro to add to the list of why breastfeeding is the bomb.

11. “I 100% support breastfeeding but…”
If you’ve got anything to tack onto the end of that sentence concerning someone else’s breastfeeding journey, it’s as simple as this: you don’t fully support it.

12. “When are you going to introduce formula?”
Never unless I NEED to. Babies do not NEED formula if they are getting adequate amounts of breast milk. Some women do need or choose to supplement with formula, but that’s none of your business. For an exclusively breastfeeding mom like me, there is absolutely no need for formula. Formula was made to be a substitute for breast milk. Formula is literally made as an attempt to duplicate breast milk. So why would my baby need formula if you can clearly see him eating and thriving off of my milk?

13. “Once they’re able to ask for it, that’s a sign that they’re too old.”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a newborn crying usually asking for milk? They literally come out asking for it sooo…? Should I deny my three year old his breakfast, lunch, and dinner because he ASKS for it?

14. ANY comment that makes breastfeeding sound sexual.
No. Just no. Please don’t do it. It makes us uncomfortable even if you’re trying to be funny. I promise you it’s not.

Moral of the story is, us breastfeeding moms already have a lot on our plates. Don’t add to the stress by putting your two cents where they don’t belong. Keep your unnecessary comments to yourself. No, I’m not going to be offended at any comment I hear about breastfeeding. But seriously, use logic. If you wouldn’t say it to a formula mom, don’t say it to a breastfeeding mom. Mind your own boobs. Breastfeeding is natural and beautiful. Don’t try to make it anything less.

– ASL 🤱🏼

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