What is it about people thinking they have a right to push their agenda on others, especially when it comes to parenting? It’s like no matter what you do, there will always be someone who wants to judge your choices and worse, believes it’s their job to let you know how much they disapprove. Or better yet, they try to shame you and force you to do what they believe is right. While sometimes this might come from a place of love, more often than not, it’s damaging to the parent having to listen to it.
Take breastfeeding, for example. First there’s the choice of whether you even want to attempt to nurse your baby (which, let’s be real, for many learning how to breastfeed can be absurdly difficult and formula shaming moms is more childish than when your toddler throws a tantrum because a commercial is on). Then there’s the whole breastfeeding in public debate, which for some reason is still pitting moms against moms. So why is it some folks still want to harass women who have finally come to the decision to cease breastfeeding? There really is no need to do this. Whether their child is self-weaning or they simply want their boobs back, there’s no right or wrong reason behind wanting to stop breastfeeding, and trying to push a woman to keep doing it against her will is, well, cruel. Here’s why:
It’s Her Body, Not Yours
Honestly, we shouldn’t need any more reasons than this. My body, my rules, right?
She’s Not Going To Change Your Mind Just Because You Push Her
If you’ve somehow convinced yourself that you’ll be able to convince her to continue breastfeeding, there are a few questions you should be asking yourself: Why does it matter to you, and why on earth do you think you can change someone’s mind about such a huge life decision? Even if you’re convinced that formula is evil (which it is anything but), you should still keep your opinions to yourself.
She May Have Insufficient Glandular Tissue
It was never fully diagnosed, but one of my lactation consultants told me she believed I might have IGT. There’s really no way to “fix” this issue. You basically have to supplement with formula. Women with IGT often suffer because they were taught that where there’s a will, there’s a way. But when you’ve pushed yourself to the limit and still barely produce an ounce, you tend to quit earlier than mamas who produce loads of milk.
She May Be A Survivor Of Assault
Sexual assault survivors often have trouble with breastfeeding. Many prefer to forego it altogether, while others attempt to do it and end up having negative reactions. Don’t judge if you don’t know why a woman is ceasing nursing.
Her Relationship With Breastfeeding Is Not The Same As Yours
Even if breastfeeding goes smoothly for her, she might simply feel that she has done it for long enough. For some folks, that means a few weeks or a few months. For others, it means going on till their child is 2 or 3. It’s okay to quit whenever you want. Everyone’s relationship with breastfeeding is different.
If She’s Having Trouble, She’s Probably Already Tried Everything You’re Recommending
There are a ton of breastfeeding problems you might not realize exist, like frequent mastitis or plugged ducts. Even if you do know about these and know about different ways to help alleviate the issues, they A.) don’t always work and B.) the mom you’re recommending them to has probably already tried them if she’s at the point of quitting. So just let her be. Trust me, it’s unlikely that she came to this decision without a second thought.
She Might Need To Go On Birth Control That Doesn’t Allow For Breastfeeding
Perhaps she’s needing to go back on the pill, but the only one that works for her is one that you can’t breastfeed on. It doesn’t make her selfish or a bad mom. Leave her alone.
She May Be Suffering From Postpartum Depression Or Other Mental Health Issues
PPD is a serious illness, and some moms might forego treatment for it or for other mental health issues for the sake of continuing breastfeeding. She might also just experience too much anxiety around breastfeeding. Discontinuing nursing is a valid choice, and no one should judge this.
Her Baby Will Be Healthy Regardless
Formula fed babies aren’t getting ill or dying because they aren’t receiving breast milk, so why do some folks act like it’s the end of the world? Stop. It. Now.
You’ll Cause Unnecessary Guilt
Why would you want to make any mom feel like a lesser human being? Don’t be a jerk.