Because breastfeeding is so common, you might think that breastfeeding moms have it easy. Unfortunately, most do not. Most breastfeeding mothers experience being discriminated against daily by their own friends and relatives.
These words may seem harmless but they can definitely be offensive especially against breastfeeding moms who struggle in their journey. Remember that there’s a very fine line between being curious and being plain intrusive. If you want to know the things that you should never say to a breastfeeding mother, this one’s for you!
(And, by the way, you rock for caring!)
5. “Don’t you think he’s a bit on the thin side?”
First and foremost, let’s clarify the misconception that breastfeeding automatically results in lean babies. There are babies on the chubby side who exclusively breastfeed, and on the other side of the coin, there are also leaner babies who are formula-fed.
Now, how is this statement offensive to breastfeeding moms? It may seem innocent and feign concern at first, but it actually plays on the possibility that breast milk does not offer a baby complete nourishment. As long as the baby has enough wet and dirty diapers in a day, then there’s nothing to worry about!
4. “When are you going to stop breastfeeding?”
Breastfeeding has no deadline! As long as the mom and the baby are feeling comfortable, then there is no need to stop breastfeeding. What the naysayers say does not matter! Breast milk is the baby’s primary source of nourishment, yes, but the act of breastfeeding is also their source of comfort and warmth. A baby does not outgrow this need to feel secure and warm in their mother’s arms at age 2, do they?
3. “She’s going to be one clingy baby.”
If the mom is new to breastfeeding journey, then she should not believe the misconception that breastfed babies become clingy children. Similar to what was discussed above in number 6, there are breastfed babies that are clingy and there are breastfed babies that are independent. Exactly the same can be said about formula-fed babies.
There are so many factors to be considered when it comes to child behavior, so moms should take this statement with a grain of salt.
2. “Wow she’s hungry again!”
When a mom is exclusively breastfeeding, she can expect to feed their baby every so often. There’s a reason for this — and it’s not because the baby is clingy (at least, not always!). Breast milk is more easily digested, which explains the number of dirty diapers, so you can presume that, yes, the breastfed baby is hungry again.
1. “You don’t have to be so hard on yourself.”
To be fair, this statement can come from a place of concern, especially when it comes from family and friends. It is often said to first time moms who are new to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding does come with its challenges, and it is natural for a mom to feel frustrated. However, with information and enough practice, breastfeeding can become easier in no time.
But this statement is problematic because it creates the idea that breastfeeding is an unnecessary complication to your otherwise stress-free life. What a well-meaning person can do instead is to offer solutions like looking up lactation counsellors in the area. (Also, whether the mom breastfeeds or not, the newborn stage is challenging!)
Breastfeeding is demanding and should not be taken lightly. It can feel frustrating, especially during the early days when the baby and the mother are still learning the proper latch and positions. What you can do during this time is to offer support and encouragement.
Again, while breastfeeding is a challenge, it’s also an intimate bonding activity that both the mother and the child will benefit tremendously from!