You breastfed in the hospital. Things were shaky, but it turned out ok. You get home, and maybe suffer a few setbacks. But you were able to tough it out! Your milk came in, baby is gaining weight, and the two of you are really starting to get the hang of it. But lo and behold, here comes the pushback!
Maybe they’re well-meaning, and maybe they’re not, but the “friends” and family members who never have anything positive to say about you breastfeeding relationship with your baby are definitely not helping what may already be a stressful time.
By no means am I an expert on breastfeeding, but I would like to offer a few tips on dealing with “pushback”. If you’ve experienced this yourself, please feel free to chime in with additional tips, and I will add them to the post!
- I cannot stress this one enough. If they do not have a medical license/degree, ignore any comments/questions about if you’re “Sure baby is getting enough to eat.” There are a lot of people who have this odd idea that breastmilk isn’t filling, and that a baby cannot thrive on it. This is nonsense. If your Pediatrician is not concerned about your baby’s weight, no one should be concerned.
- Even if they have a medical license/degree, if you get the sense that they don’t support breastfeeding, try to get a second opinion, or better yet, a doctor who supports breastfeeding. A pediatrican who is ignorant about/doesnt support breastfeeding your baby will almost inevitably give you advice that may jeapordize your relationship. The pediatrician that Izzy normally sees is also a lactation consultant, and she has been an unbelievable asset.
- It’s ok if your baby needs to be kept close to you so that you can breastfeed him/her. Don’t feel pressured to give baby formula (or even pump for that matter) just because someone wants to keep your baby. My mother in law is always telling Izzy “I can’t keep you, cause your momma still has you on the titty.” First of all, I hate that word. Second of all, that’s not why. Third, so what? If I(you) always want to be in nursing range of baby, guess what? Everybody else can just DEAL WITH IT.
- Speaking of “still” having baby on the breast, yes, I do. True, your baby will gain the most benefit from being breastfed for at least the first six months, but you can breastfeed as long as you and your baby want to. I have come across many people who have the idea that after the first few weeks, baby will need formula to continue to thrive, or that anything over 6 months is strange, or nasty. Ignore this, please.
- Do your research. http://www.kellymom.com/ is an excellent source of a TON of breastfeeding information, laid out by topic, so it’s easy to find what you need. Knowing your facts is one of the most effective ways to combat any pushback that’s led by ignorance about breastfeeding.
- Get a support system. Whether it’s La Leche League, another mom you know who is breastfeeding or has breastfed, or even online. You need to be connected with women who can answer questions, support, and motivate you.
- Beware of any support that only comes if you mention taking baby off the breast. If they never had anything good to about you breastfeeding, but are the quick to say is “Well go on and give him/her some formula.” anytime you mention a setback, they probably just wanted you to give baby formula in the first place. Someone who REALLY supports you would have encouraging you while you were breastfeeding.
Typed out, I realize that it kinda seems like you’ll be totally alone, and your family and friends will hate you for breastfeeding. That is FAR from the case, for most people. I happen to come from a family that from the beginning told me “breastfeeding is hard, it hurts, you won’t be able to do it.”. But none of them breastfed, so how would they know, right? I have never received any support from my family (except for hubby of course, he’s been my biggest cheerleader). They don’t talk down to me about it, I just never receive any encouragment. But that’s ok, because I received plenty of that from my online family 🙂
Anywho, if you have any thoughts or comments to add, please do!
Don’t forget to enter your baby into the Toes are Tasty Contest! Entries will only be accepted until May 31. Email submissions to email@example.com