For some reason ‘breastfeeding’ tends to bring out the worst in people.
In my experience, said people are more likely to be without boobs (men); have never used their boobs for breastfeeding (non-mothers), or have used them, but more than 40 years ago (older mothers).
The ‘worst’ tends to be judgemental comments, unsolicited opinions, and general embarrassment around the whole topic.
I haven’t had my baby yet (although at 39 weeks, he’s head-down and at the door) but with each new cup size ascended I’ve seen an increase in ridiculous remarks relating to my surging boobs and my plans for them…
- “I see an express pump in your shopping bag there – oooh how great you’ve made the right decision to breastfeed.”
- “Did you know that breastfed babies have 7 IQ points higher than non-breastfed babies?”
- “If you have any problems with mastitis, you know where to find me, hey?” (sleazy barista)
- “Men have other strengths, like putting the baby down to sleep, changing them, comforting them.” – a professional’s response to my question: “Can my husband take the late shift, using my expressed milk, given I will likely be so tired from feeding throughout the day?”
- A friend has been on the end of far, far worse though with, “Look, I know you left milk out for her, but given we’re both breastfeeding, I thought I’d just breastfeed her myself.”
That woman, who stuck her boobs in my friend’s infant’s mouth, was then tremendously offended when my friend’s Doctor requested she (the boob-pusher) get blood tests to ensure nothing was passed on to my friend’s child. WHAT THE WHAT?
Given the volume of idiocy my friend and I alone have experienced, I thought it prudent to write a guide for relatives and friends of soon-to-be and new mothers on how to talk and act around a love one’s boobs.
5 ways to not be a dickhead when it comes to breastfeeding:
- If you go to offer an unsolicited opinion about breastfeeding – don’t.
- If your opinion is directly asked for (read: begged for) and you simply must say something; “You do what works for you and your baby” will suffice.
- Comply with the mum’s wishes relating to the breastfeeding (and non-breastfeeding) of her child. This means no raised eyebrows or ‘subtle’ remarks (tip: they’re never subtle) and no slipping your boob into her baby’s mouth – no matter how much you think you ‘know best’.
- If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve seen boobs before. As such, if a mother breastfeeds in front of you, please don’t carry on like an embarrassed 8-year-old who’s just seen adults pashing in public. If the mum uses a modesty cloth, don’t look at her boobs. If she doesn’t – don’t look at her boobs. Continue with the conversation like an adult. She’s not going to deprive feeding her child because you’re in the room. Nor is she inviting you to give her a visual mammogram.
- You wouldn’t tell a professional athlete of possible pain; things that could go wrong, and, the ‘results’ of them not ‘winning’, before a competition would you? That would be a bit of a jerk move. Please keep horror stories and ‘research’ to yourself. Mums are under enough pressure.
And there you have it.
Rebecca Granfield claims to have been pregnant for the last 14 months. She and her husband write a blog about family life called www.thegranfields.
What's the worst advice you've ever received that wasn't asked for?