It seems that no matter how a mother decides to feed her children, she's destined to encounter rude questions, judgments, and assumptions from friends, family, and colleagues about her own personal choices. Sometimes it feel like even the mailman gets a say in what we're doing! But one thing we can all agree on is that it takes dedication and a ton of hard work to commit to a breastfeeding relationship with your baby, and when that happens, the last thing you need to hear is annoying breastfeeding questions that'll drive you crazy.
Deciding to breastfeed is a personal decision and doesn't always follow in a linear fashion. Some people want to supplement with formula, others pump but don't breastfeed. There are women who breastfeed exclusively, whose milk never comes in, who can't breastfeed for health concerns, or who breastfeed their kids on demand. Some women decide to breastfeed for the first few months before returning to work outside the home, others try to get to their baby's first birthday or decide to try extended breastfeeding and let their child self wean, as I did. There's a whole host of reasons why women choose to do what they do in terms of breastfeeding, and that shouldn't ever be up for debate by friends, family, or strangers.
Why people think it's OK to make inane comments about your body and the way you decide to parent is a mystery to me, yet ask any mom — especially a breastfeeding mom — and she's sure to have heard one of these gems...
"Are You Still Doing That?"
Yes, I am, and your judging tone is unwanted at best and homicide-inducing at worst. People felt totally comfortable asking me this question from literally the first month of my child's life until we stopped extended breastfeeding. Even worse? It usually came from the same people. Ugh.
"Did The Baby Get Enough To Eat?"
Let me see, I'll just take a look at my little breast gauge here, oh no, wait I don't have one printed on my skin! The baby will stop breastfeeding when he or she has had enough and will indicate they are hungry again when they want more, it's as simple as that. So mind your own biz, OK?
"Aren't You Worried About Your Breasts Sagging?"
Well, I am now! And thanks, yet another thing for me to worry about. But since you're asking, it's pregnancy that contributes to changes to your body, including your breasts, not just the effects of breastfeeding. And you know what? Not to toot my own horn, but my breasts look pretty darn fabulous and they nourished my child for more than two years, so, yeah, I am crushing it.
"Is The Baby Hungry Again?"
Yes, and I am not going to refuse to feed my hungry child because it makes you uncomfortable. Breastfed babies often feed more often than formula-fed babies, as human milk is digested very quickly.
"Wouldn't You Be More Comfortable With A Cover?"
No. Strange, isn't it, that wrapping myself and my baby in a hot blanket while I try to feed him doesn't actually make me more comfortable? I presume it might make you more comfortable, so why don't you go and stick your head under a blanket and leave me to get on with it?
"Wouldn't You Be More Comfortable In Another Room?"
Again, no, I don't really want to be removed to a separate area just because I'm feeding my child. I've fed my baby on flights, in cafes, at the mall, at a wedding, and basically anywhere me and my baby are allowed to be, I am gonna try and breastfeed him.
"Don't You Think It's Selfish To Breastfeed Since Your Partner Can't Help?"
If you have ever breastfed you'll know its about the most selfless thing you can do. You are literally letting someone feed off your body. The notion that dads or other partners can't be involved if you breastfeed is ridiculous because there are all sorts of ways another parent can be included.
From expressing and allowing your partner to feed the baby with a bottle, to cuddling up, sharing breastfeeding moments together, fetching all the things mom needs (like a glass of water, a snack, or a burp cloth), there's no reason for the other parent to be left out.
"Should You Be Eating That?"
If you are breastfeeding and you try to eat chocolate, coffee, cheese, or certain meats, there are going to be people who think that it's their job to monitor your nutritional intake. This is a sure fire way to make mothers feel like they are just a milk container and not an independent person at all. So do us all a favor, and back off
Many mothers feel that breastfeeding is so rewarding, especially because being able to nourish your child from your body makes you feel like a superwoman. But that doesn't mean it's easy. Breastfeeding is also really hard work, so what moms really don't need is to also put up with ridiculous, infuriating questions, so just hush, please.