When you’re a parent, you’re no stranger to unsolicited advice — about everything. You’ll hear every musing, suggestion, veiled judgment and flat-out sanctimonious grandstanding about every choice you make, from the way you feed your child to how well he sleeps at night to how you discipline him.
For some reason, breastfeeding seems to get everyone’s hackles up, whether you are on the side that supports breastfeeding your kid whenever needed and as long as needed or the side that flaps their hands and says “Ew, boobs! Groooosss!” or somewhere in between. The sight or the discussion of breastfeeding prompts a lot of unsolicited comments, and I, for one, am sick of hearing them.
Pro-tip: Boobs are made to breastfeed babies. That is their biological — or, if you prefer, GOD-GIVEN — reason for EXISTING. If you can’t accept this, then learn how to GTFO or STFU.
In the meantime, here are 10 things you need to STOP saying to breastfeeding mothers because, trust me, we’ve heard it before, and we don’t fucking care:
1. “You’re still breastfeeding?”
Usually asked after seeing a woman breastfeed. Uh, yeah, Sherlock. How did you figure me out? Me putting my boob in my child’s mouth or me telling you that I’m still breastfeeding? Either way, you might want to cut out the pseudo-shocked tone that tells me that you obviously do not approve and/or think that I’m a child molester. This conversation is only going to go south from here, so stop now.
2. “You know it’s not nutritionally necessary after…”
Wow, look at you and your fancy medical degree! I didn’t know that you — oh, what? — oh you didn’t? — oh, so you’re not a doctor? So weird. Well, in the meantime, you should check out the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization, who both recommend breastfeeding until 2 for those who choose to and those who can. Then take some time to also learn about the emotional benefits of breastfeeding and get back to me. Or actually, don’t.
3. “I just think that when she can ask for it, she’s too old for it.”
You know what else a toddler can ask for? Milk. In a cup. Crackers. Burgers. Pizza. Hugs. Kisses. Toys. By that logic, my child should be denied all of those things. I mean, she can ask for them! WTF sense does this even make? Oh, right. None. If anyone is pressed to explain the reasoning behind this statement, they can’t. They just fall back on what they “feel.” So, let me get this straight: What you “feel” about MY child should be the basis for my decision-making for her emotional and nutritional needs? OK. Got it.
4. “She’s not getting enough.”
The first couple of days after my daughter was born, she lost almost 10 percent of her body weight (common in newborns). The doctors were worried and suggested I start giving her formula. Instead, I breastfed her on demand for the next couple of days (which I should have been doing anyway), and she gained back all of her weight and then some in those two days. Unless there is some medical reason otherwise, breast milk is all that most babies need for at least the first year.
5. “You need to top her up…”
“…so she can gain weight.” “…so she’ll sleep longer.” Funny, but my daughter always gained plenty of weight on nothing but breast milk, and even when she started solids, she never slept longer. But, I forgot, your medical degree! Oh, wait…
6. “She has to learn to self-soothe.”
You’re right. When my child finds out she didn’t win homecoming court, she’s going to come running into my arms to breastfeed. When she’s married, I’ll have to move in so that she can nurse herself to sleep. College is going to be fun!
7. “At least cover up.”
Your comfort is not my problem. In most states, women have the right to breastfeed, covered or not, in any place that they are legally allowed to be. If you’re “confused” about what to say to your children when they see a woman breastfeeding, you could start by telling them that it’s the natural way that women feed their children and then you could work on growing a fucking backbone because seeing a woman breastfeeding is the LEAST offensive thing your children are going to see before they hit adolescence.
8. “Can’t you pump?”
Again, see: Your comfort is not my fucking problem. MY comfort? That is my problem. And pumping is one of the most uncomfortable and tedious tasks. It takes forever just to get a few ounces, which is a joke — a snack, if you will. Then you have to fit it in between your baby nursing around the clock when all you want is to NOT have something attached to your nipples and to literally just breathe for 10 fucking minutes. Pumping? So you don’t have to *gasp* see a boob in a baby’s mouth? No. Just no.
9. “But what about sex?”
What about it? Is the sight of boobs feeding our love spawn supposed to be so offensive and repulsive to a man? Well, let me tell you, it isn’t. If there’s any impediment to sex, it’s the fact that sleep seems more sexy to us after a long day of juggling work with a rambunctious toddler who has decided that sleep is her frenemy.
10. “You’ll never get your boobs back.”
My D cups beg to differ.
Any more gems you want to add to the list? Throw them in the comments!