Just like every other aspect of parenting, feeding infants comes with unsolicited advice and comments from others. You see posts on Facebook and read articles that describe, in grueling detail, the comments that breastfeeding mamas hear other people say to them. Some of the things that are said are downright rude, make you shudder and kind of make you wonder what the heck people are thinking. Or, if in fact, they even think before they speak.
Everyone has the right to their opinions on breastfeeding, however, sharing those opinions is not a right– especially with moms who are trying to nurture their babies, and especially when those mothers are strangers!
This experiment really made me shake my head and feel even more compassion for breastfeeding moms. The truth is, while breastfeeding might be offensive to some (I still don’t understand how people find such a natural act disgusting and offensive,) that doesn’t give anyone the right to make nasty, negative, or inappropriate comments. The real issue here is with individuals, not the breastfeeding mama!
So, what types of things are nursing moms sick and tired of hearing? Take a look, but be forewarned, you may be completely disgusted (and not by the breastfeeding, but by the comments people actually make.)
15 "Can’t you do that somewhere private?”
I mean, I guess breastfeeding moms could go someplace private to do “that,” but I have a feeling that they would never be able to leave that private place and go out in public.
You see, babies need to eat, and they need to eat a lot! If a mom went someplace private every single time she had to feed her baby, she would really never leave her house. And while it may make you feel more comfortable to have her feed in private, is it really fair to expect a mom to stay inside her house all day, every day?
I mean, her life has already changed so drastically since having a baby. She probably doesn’t have the chance to enjoy social interactions as much, and she needs to do things like shop, go to the doctor and take her older children (if she has any) on play dates.
In other words, she still has a life, and expecting her to stay in “private” all day really isn’t very fair, and to be honest, it’s just selfish of you to even think that she should stay in private!
14 “Can’t You Cover Up?”
Sure, a pregnant mom can cover up to feed her baby, but do you really think it’s comfortable for her baby to have to eat under a hot, stuffy blanket, and be excluded from other people simply because she is eating?
Here’s an idea: Why don’t you put a blanket over your head while you’re eating. See how much you like it. Is it comfortable? Does it feel good to sweat and not be able to breathe while you’re eating? Do you like that you are cut off from contact with other people while you are eating? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Remember, when you ask a breastfeeding mama to cover up, you are asking her to cover her baby up, too. Just think about that – really think about it – and let it resonate. Now go ahead and ask that breastfeeding mom to cover up.
13 “Do you have to do that while I’m eating?”
This comment just makes me laugh! I don’t mean to offend anyone, but the baby is kind of eating, too. How would you feel if I asked you if you had to eat while my baby was eating? Would you ask a nursing mom to remove her baby from the table if the baby was eating solid foods while you were eating? Probably not.
Also, keep in mind that if you are eating in the presence of a nursing mom, chances are, you are going to see her whip her boob out every now and again, no matter what you are doing; shopping, chatting at a park, and yes, even eating.
With these two things in mind, please don’t ask her if she can wait until you are done eating to feed her baby!
12 “You know that feeding your baby on demand spoils her, right?”
What do you mean spoils her? If you mean feeding her when she is hungry lets her know that she doesn’t have to go hungry, or that reassuring her that she is with someone she can completely rely on to meet her needs and won’t abandon her, then yes, I guess a breastfeeding mom is spoiling her baby.
Come on! If you were a parent and your baby was fussy or crying because she was hungry, you wouldn’t feed her? You’d just let her cry and let her little tummy grumble? I didn’t think so!
Seriously, how can feeding children on demand spoil them? Like my mother says, fruit spoils; not children.
11 “Doesn’t that make you feel self-conscious?”
Well, it didn’t… until you just said that!
Listen, there is so much controversy surround breastfeeding. Moms everywhere wonder how the world is going to react when the pull out a boob to let their babies eat. However, despite how sexualized breasts have become, many moms forego the ridicule and get over whatever self-conscious feelings they may have so that they can nurture their babies.
The truth is this: Boobs have one purpose and one purpose only; to feed babies. That said, moms shouldn’t be made to feel self-conscious or awkward because they are choosing to use their breasts for what they are supposed to be used for. And, a mom may feel a bit self-conscious, yes; but you definitely don’t need to add to those feelings by calling her out!
10 “Are you sure you are feeding your baby enough?”
There’s no way to tell this, even if a baby is bottle-fed formula. How can one possibly tell if their baby is getting enough to eat? You kind of have to go on instinct.
Most breastfeeding moms trust their bodies (you know, the bodies that grew their babies) to know what it is doing. And they trust that their babies will let them know if they are hungry. If the baby isn’t gaining weight, is listless, or is constantly screaming in hunger, then yes, maybe he isn’t getting enough milk.
But, that’s something for the people who are involved with raising the baby have to determine; the mom, dad, pediatrician – you know, the experts. Not you!
9 “Has your partner tried your milk?”
The answer to that question is this: None of your damn business!
Maybe he has, maybe she hasn’t. Either way, what does it matter to you? Are you wondering what breast milk tastes like yourself? If so, I can assure you that the breastfeeding mom you who you just asked that isn’t going to say, “Here, try some of mine!”
You can keep fetish-izing breastfeeding, but keep it to yourself! Good lord!
8 “Breastfeeding really isn’t fair to the dad.”
Really? How do you figure?
Equality isn’t always about everything being the same, especially when it comes to parenting. If that were the case, dads would be able to carry the baby for ½ of the pregnancy and would be able to experience, first-hand, what labor and delivery feels like. But they can’t.
Now, that doesn’t mean that dads can’t be involved in feeding if mom is breastfeeding. Dad can certainly bottle fed the baby pumped breast milk, or partake in other nurturing activities, like rocking the baby to sleep, cuddling with mom while she is breastfeeding, among other things.
And, I’m pretty sure that most dads don’t complain when their partners have to wake up in the middle of the night to breastfeed their babies. I’m pretty certain they are relieved that they don’t have boobs!
7 “Aren’t you afraid of the message you are sending to your older children?”
And what message is that? That the baby is being nurtured and loved, just like the older children were?
If a breastfeeding mom is sending any message to her older children, it’s that she cares for them, loves them, and will do anything to ensure they are happy and healthy. And that’s the kind of message that all parents should be sending their children.
And you know what? Older siblings who are exposed to their younger siblings being breastfed are more likely to show empathy and compassion, and are more inclined to be accepting of something that so many people find “weird.” Now, that’s a pretty cool lesson to teach!
6 “You know that doing that will make your boobs sag, right?”
Really? It will? You know what else makes your boobs sag? Gravity and growing older.
As you age, your skin loses elasticity, and as it loses elasticity, it is more prone to sagging, thanks to the effects of gravity.
So, yes, nursing babies may make breast sag, but I’m sure that most moms will agree that they would rather have saggy boobs because they fed their babies from them instead of just having saggy boobs because nature is running its course. And, on a side note; what do you care if her breasts are going to sag anyway? Worry about your own boobs, for the love of god!
5 “If she’s asking for it, she’s too old to be doing it.”
And who made you the person to decide that? Were you asked to share society’s opinions about breastfeeding? Yep, I didn’t think so.
Look, you are entitled to think that a child is too old to breastfeed past a certain age. In fact, your opinion is pretty interesting and thought provoking. Maybe the mom you said that to should be asking you why you think that and why you view breastfeeding past a certain age inappropriate or gross, or whatever it is that you think. Maybe you are the one who has a problem, not the mom.
4 “Breast milk loses its nutritional value after a certain time.”
Wow! I don’t know what literature you read to support that, but whatever it was, it was WRONG! The truth is, breast milk NEVER loses its nutritional value. Ever. It doesn’t matter how long a mother is breastfeeding, her milk is still as nutritious for her child as the day he was born!
Here’s an interesting tidbit of information: The World Health Organization actually recommends women breastfeed their children up until the age of TWO, and beyond! So, the next time you see a toddler nursing and you feel inclined to share your unsolicited advice with the mom, remember to mind your P's and Q's and do some research before you talk!
3 “Why don’t you give him a bottle instead?”
Umm… There are dozens of reasons why moms choose to breastfeed their babies instead of giving them a bottle. Some of these reasons include:
- The baby may not take a bottle
- The mom wants to create a bond with her baby
- The mom doesn’t want to have to deal with pumping and washing bottles
- She doesn’t want to cause nipple confusion between her breast and the bottle
While making such a comment may seem like no big deal to you, to the nursing mom, it’s very insulting. You are insinuating that she is making you feel uncomfortable, and she should never be made to feel that way, and you are also implying that she doesn’t know what is best for her baby.
2 “I don’t get why you think it’s such a bonding experience.”
Have you ever breastfed? If so, then surely you know what an incredible bond it can create between a mom and her baby.
Firstly, the baby is relying solely on his mama for milk, and if that isn’t bonding, I don’t know what is! Also, consider the fact that babies are born incredible nearsighted, so when a mom breastfeeds, her baby can get a clear view of her face and can actually make a connection. That is also incredibly bonding. There are countless other reasons why breastfeeding is bonding for a mom and a baby, and it’s different for every mom and baby.
The bond is only something that mom and baby get, and that’s not for you to understand. It’s cool that you don’t get it, but you’re not supposed to. Just accept that and move on.
1 “You’re STILL breastfeeding?!?”
Yes. So? What’s your point?
This has to be one of the rudest questions a breastfeeding mom can be asked. She can nurse her baby as long as she dang well pleases! How long she breastfeeds is not up to you, and how dare you even suggest that she is nursing for too long? It really doesn’t matter if the child is 4-years-old, it’s not any of your business! Just praise mama and tell her what an incredible job she is doing!
I recently watched a social experiment video about breastfeeding, and I have to tell you, I was completely shocked and disgusted by what I saw. The experiment involved a scantily clad woman who had her “assets” on display, and another woman who was rather conservatively dressed, breastfeeding her baby.
The woman who was breastfeeding her baby was bombarded by comments from strangers who said things like, “That’s disgusting,” “Do you really have to do that in public?”, and “I don’t think that I should be subjected to seeing that. It makes me uncomfortable.”
The real kicker here is that the woman who was clearly showing off her chest did not receive one negative comment; she did, however, receive glances from strangers, but nobody thought that her breasts being even more exposed than the breastfeeding mom’s breasts was disgusting, disturbing, or offensive.