Dear Breastfeeding Mom – Don’t Stop on My Account (or Anyone Else’s)

I’m not a breastfeeding mom.  I have never been a breastfeeding mom and I will most likely never be a breastfeeding mom.  I’m okay with that.  I’m also okay with other people breastfeeding, even though I used to actually be uncomfortable around women who are breastfeeding.  (Even then, though, I never felt that my discomfort was a reason for someone to feel like she shouldn’t be able to feed her kid.  My discomfort, my problem.)

Dear Breastfeeding Mom – Don’t Stop on My Account (or Anyone Else’s) #breastfeeding #WorldBreastfeedingWeekI found some comments on my home board about extended breastfeeding that made me sad.  Some of the moms on my board had been getting crap from family members to stop exclusive breastfeeding long before their babies were a year old.  One woman ended up getting crap from one of her subordinates because she was pumping in her closed office during her lunch.  (Fortunately, the one who was getting crap at work escalated the issue appropriately through human resources and the problem was handled.)

One mom shared today that she wanted to practice extended breastfeeding with her baby.  Her husband’s family was just giving her so much grief that she was beginning to wonder if maybe they were right.

They aren’t.  If extended breastfeeding works for you and your kid, then more power to you.  Breastfeed your toddler if that’s what you want to do.  What right do I have to condemn you for doing something that seems to be working out for both you and your kid?  And your non-supportive family members?  I have to say that I don’t think they have any more right to tell you to stop breastfeeding than I do.  It’s your body.  It’s your kid.  It’s up to you.

My big question is this: why does anyone feel that they have the right to dictate how someone else feeds her child?  If someone starts beating me with my packed away breast pump, I assure you, I’m going to have a problem with it.  We did the formula thing because it worked best for us, and now we’re doing the cow’s milk thing.  As long as my kid is happy and well-fed, other folks don’t get to dictate how I feed him.

The same theory holds true for the breastfeeding mom, whether she’s into extended breastfeeding or not.  Is her kid happy?  Healthy?  Generally all right?  Then no one (regardless of how well-meaning they might be) should be pelting her with cans of formula.

Besides that, being bludgeoned with a breast pump and being pelted with cans of formula are both probably fairly painful.  So let’s not do it to each other.  Fair enough?  And if we see someone else doing it to us, let’s tell the “well-meaning friend” to back off and let us feed our children how we see fit.

I think that’s a pretty good deal for everyone.  What do you think?

Originally written on March 20, 2011.  Reposted in honor of World Breastfeeding Week.  I never joined the breastfeeding mom club due to my own hangups, but I’ll gladly support your right to breastfeed whenever, wherever.


About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

Comments

  1. Ariel -Blogs from a Single Mom says:

    Great post. No one should let anyone else pressure them or guilt them into not nursing.

  2. Love this post! Very well put.

  3. Renae C. says:

    Amen! I am currently nursing my youngest, and I usually don’t do it in public, (for my own comfort level), but on the occasion that I have, I usually get people who either don’t notice, or who give me a silent thumbs up. I have been lucky enough to not encounter anyone who is rude yet!

  4. Great post! I am quite tired of the “mommy wars” (or whatever term can be attributed to it) over topics like breastfeeding. As much as an advocate for natural parenting…I fed my babies with formula in addition to breast milk. Of course, I will gladly support any mom with their breastfeeding journey and help educate her (without use of force) in any way possible…however, I have the job of parenting my own children, and no one elses.

  5. Kareen Liez says:

    Nice one Suzi 🙂 My daughter is already 2 years old but she is still breastfed. I find it difficult to wean her because it is heartbreaking. I decided to extend breastfeeding until she stops because I know, she’ll eventually stop. I linked up by the way 🙂

  6. Mine kind of tapered off at around 22 months this time. We’ll see how baby 3 does!

  7. Anne Sweden says:

    I’ve done both and know that there are many reasons that mothers and fathers choose a particular feeding regimen. It’s not my place to question.

  8. Christina DiPersia says:

    You hit the nail on the head… my child, my decision. And as long as you are nourishing your child…. that’s the top concern and priority! I don’t understand why the people who seems to be the most judgmental in how mothers feed their children are other mothers! It infuriates me and makes me sad… seriously. I don’t understand it and I never will… thanks for posting this!

  9. Thanks Suzi. I stopped nursing my son a month before his 2nd birthday. I was only nursing him first thing in the morning for about 6 months before stopping. I found that it was easiest to just not mention to others that he was still nursed. It’s kind of sad that I felt that I couldn’t mention it.

  10. I probably wouldn’t breastfeed in public without a cover up anyways, because I don’t need or want anyone to see the goods. It’s just not appropriate to me. But this is a body issue for me since I don’t even like wearing 2 pieces, as I just feel way too exposed!

    Also, I think once a child starts eating hard food and can walk around, and talk coherent sentences, they’re a little bit too old to be breast feeding, but that’s just my opinion. Only reason I say that, is because someone I just met, who’s a friend of a friend, went camping with us and just whipped her boob out to feed her 3 year old son. Like really? Children don’t know best or know when they want/need to stop, otherwise they would just eat candy and nothing else.

    • My daughter is 16 months old. She can walk and she eats everything that everyone else does (barring allergens). She can ask for what she wants. Does that mean that she should be forced to stop breastfeeding if I did?

      If you want to cover up, that’s fine. That’s your choice. But I don’t think that it’s up to anyone but the mother and the child if they cover up or when they stop nursing. Children frequently stop asking for the breast on their own. (And the WHO recommends a MINIMUM of 24 months of breastfeeding.)

  11. Jennifer H says:

    I absolutely agree. It’s between the mother and the child. Especially when you look at all of the health benefits to both and the developmental and emotional benefits for the child.

  12. Stephanie B. says:

    I’ve done both, and I just wish both could be supported, and that moms were left to decide what works best for their family. A loved, and happy, baby is what we should be striving for!

    Thank you for sharing!

  13. Kady Herron says:

    Super excited to join in!

  14. Elisebet F says:

    Fair enough! =D

  15. Danialle Birdwell says:

    I’m stopping by from the Blogging Mamas Network, and I linked up my Breastfeeding Awareness Month Post 🙂 Thank you so much for hosting this!

  16. Caitlin Chapman says:

    This is BEYOND awesome!

  17. Maegan @ TheBeeHiveBuzz.com says:

    Love this post! Thank you for sharing!

  18. Mercedes Donis says:

    I think it’s great that you can support breastfeeding even though you chose not to yourself…it’s easy to find only breast feeders supporting each other or only formula feeders supporting each other. But really, all mothers need to support one another. If a mother knows her options, knows the benefits and weighs the pros and cons for her situation then she should be able to feed her children not only in peace but with support from the community. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Jaime Weis says:

    Thanks Suzi! I kept it hidden from all but a few that my DD nursed until 15 months. Only 15 months! That’s not that long! But I stopped telling anyone around 11 months because I was too chicken. THIS time, I’m going for two years!!!

  20. Amberbamber says:

    Funny, is a year seriously considered extended?!?! The W.H.O. (Last I checked) recommend breast feeding until at LEAST 1 year.

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  1. […] not to (or can’t, for whatever reason), then lay off.  The future of the world’s breastfeeding success or failure is a lot of ridiculous pressure to put on a new […]

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