What to Do If Your Family, Friends, and Co-workers Don’t Support Breastfeeding?

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Breastfeeding is a controversial subject for many people. It is hard when your own family, friends, coworkers, or others condone you for choosing to breastfeed your baby. Ultimately it is your choice to breastfeed, instead of using formula. It is easier to continue breastfeeding when you are surrounded by people that are supportive of your decision. Remember that you can’t please everybody. So you will have to make a decision to do what is best for you and your baby.

Breastfeeding Around Others

Planning Ahead Can Save Your Sanity

Be prepared to explain the reasons why breastfeeding [1] is important to you. It is best to create a plan on how to deal with negative comments and reactions to breastfeeding before you encounter any problems. Provide the person with some breastfeeding facts and explain to them why breastfeeding is important to you.


Dealing With A Spouse

A spouse may not agree with your decision to breastfeed because they are afraid that they won’t be able to bond with the baby. They want to feel same closeness with their baby that a mother feels while she is nursing the baby. Explain to your spouse that their are other ways for him to bond with the baby such as:

  • changing diapers
  • burping the baby after a feeding
  • rocking the baby to sleep
  • bring the baby to mom for feedings
  • bathe the baby
  • take care of the baby while mommy is napping or showering
  • hold, play with baby, or create a daily routine that involves baby .ie storytime

 

Comfort your spouse and let him know that breastfeeding is important. Some men feel that breastfeeding changes the role of your breasts and are fearful that the breasts are no longer sexual objects while a mother is breastfeeding. Breastfeeding shouldn’t prohibit couples from being intimate with each other. Although, she may not want you to touch the breasts due to increased sensitivity or fearful that they will begin leak or spray milk. Find other ways to connect with your spouse while she is breastfeeding.

Handling A Relative or Close Friend

A relative or close friend will more than likely not agree with your decision to breastfeed. They may make rude comments and try to discourage you so that you will give up breastfeeding. Explain to the person, why breastfeeding is important to you. Many women choose to breastfeed for a variety of reasons:

  • breast milk is free
  • perfect nutrition for baby
  • easy to digest
  • always ready
  • perfect temperature
  • and many more…

The best way to handle a negative discussion is to gently remind them how you feel about breastfeeding, remember to use I statements to explain how you feel. To avoid discouragement, you may find it necessary to create a network with people who support your decision. Rely on these people to encourage you to continue breastfeeding when other people are trying to discourage you. Find some common examples of negative comments that you can expect to hear:

  • don’t you want your body back
  • breastfeeding is gross and creepy
  • formula is easier
  • baby is hungry
  • your milk isn’t enough
  • they won’t accommodate your breastfeeding needs
  • that baby is always on your boob
  • and many more…

 

How to Deal with Negative Coworkers

Mothers can continue their breastfeeding relationship with their baby when returning to work. Many mother’s invest in a breast pump [2] so that they can express breast milk during the day while away from their baby. If your company has more than 50 employees, expressing breast milk is covered under FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act). A company should allow you an ample amount of time to express breast milk; however, they don’t have to pay you during that time. Contact the human resources department at your company to find out the policy prior to taking maternity leave. Also, find out where you will be allowed to pump at. Again, if your company has more than 50 employees, they are required to provide you a place to pump other than a bathroom.

When you are taking breaks to go pump, your co-workers and supervisors may disagree with your decision to continue breastfeeding. They may feel as if you are taking too many breaks and not completing your tasks. The best way to handle this is to explain why you feel breast milk is the best nutrition for your baby and explain that you have a right to express breast milk under FMLA. Contact Human Resources if you encounter any issues, don’t try to handle them on your own and report to them if feel like you are being discriminated against.

Tips to Overcome Negative Comments

When people don’t agree with your decision to breastfeed, try using these tips. Remember that breastfeeding is your decision and you have to do what is right for you and your baby. If you want to give up breastfeeding, then do it when you are ready and not because someone else is convincing you to quit.

  • ignore the comments
  • avoid confrontations if possible
  • tell them to mind their own business
  • my body, my baby, my decision
  • end of discussion
  • change the subject
  • and many more…

References

  1. ↑ Christy Garrett. “breastfeeding”. Info found in:. http://breastpumpreviewsshop.com/common-questions-answers-breastfeeding-expressing-breast-milk-breast-pump/. Retrieved 2012-09-29.
  2. ↑ Christy Garrett. “breast pumps”. Info found in:. http://breastpumpreviewsshop.com/category/breast-pumps-by-brand/. Retrieved 2012-09-29.