It seems like once you get pregnant, your body (and the choices you make with or for it) is open to endless scrutiny. That trend doesn't end once your baby's born, either. And when it comes to holiday gatherings, well, they're nothing more than prime opportunities for families to get together and ask one another uncomfortable, inappropriate, intrusive questions. So if you're a nursing mom, know there are more than a few breastfeeding questions your family will ask you at Christmas. In other words, prepare yourselves.
I've heard everything from, "Are you breastfeeding?" to, "Do you have to do that here?" after my family gathers around the Christmas tree. For me it was a pretty big deal to breastfeed "in public," and honestly the last thing I needed was people questioning my decision to nurse or asking me to cover up. My baby needed to eat, too, and being scrutinized made me feel ashamed. And my favorite part of Christmas is definitely the food, so it seriously bothered me when people asked about what I was eating and drinking, too. My diet habits aren't a topic for discussion, people. And while I know that it's totally OK to have a glass of wine or beer with your holiday meal while breastfeeding, it somehow had a bitter aftertaste when everyone was watching me and asking me if I should be drinking.
Breastfeeding and the holidays are hard enough on their own, and when you combine them together, well, you unfortunately have to deal with your family's questions about how you feed your baby. Merry freaking Christmas, my friends.
"Are You Still Breastfeeding?"
In my experience, people ask this question because they think your baby is too old to be breastfeeding (pretty much any age older than a few weeks might be deemed too old, btw), have something negative to say about breastfeeding, or they think you'll answer "no" and have something negative to say about formula-feeding.
So yeah, us moms can't win no matter how we feed our babies.
I breastfed because I wanted to, and continued until I decided to stop for personal reasons that varied each time I breastfed. End of story. So yeah, I didn't really feel like justifying my infant feeding choices to anyone, even family. I especially didn't want to divulge the intimate details of my parenting decisions during the holidays, when things tend to be stressful anyway.
"Do You Have To Do That Here?"
Um, yeah, if my baby is hungry I'm going to feed them. What did they expect me to do, feed my kid in the bathroom? If you don't want to see a mom breastfeed, I suggest you look somewhere else.
"Are You Sure You Should Be Drinking That?"
I hate the way people try to police what women do with their bodies, especially if they are pregnant or breastfeeding. Contrary to popular belief, though, it's totally OK to have a drink or two when you're nursing. According to Slate, as your body metabolizes alcohol, the level in your breast milk will decrease. So, as long as you are sober enough to safely hold and feed your baby, there's no problem with enjoying a little holiday cheer.
"What Are You Doing?"
There's nothing worse than trying to nonchalantly feed your baby, only to have loudly ask, "What are you doing?" as if they caught you having sex or smoking in the bathroom during Christmas dinner. When it happened to me it was so humiliating that even I couldn't think of a quippy response.
"Can You Cover Up?"
I don't understand why people make a big deal out of public breastfeeding. It's not like they have to look, and most of the time nursing a baby is a non-issue until someone decides to point out what you are doing. If a person didn't bring attention to your nursing session, no one would even notice. So mind your own business, people.
"How Much Have Your Boobs Grown?"
So yeah, my boobs are not here for your viewing pleasure or scrutiny. So when you ask how much they have grown, it made me feel like I was 14 and listening to my grandma ask at Christmas dinner if I was wearing a bra. That's a memory I don't want to re-live, thank you very much.
"So You're Still Eating For Two, Huh?"
I actually don't think it's ever OK to comment on what another person is or is not eating. But if you ask, I will tell you that lactating people actually do need more calories to make milk for their babies. Because, science. Not that it's any of your business.
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