After the birth of my son, breastfeeding has become a very sensitive and personal subject for me. Of all the shocking realizations I’ve had since I started breastfeeding, my top three have to be:
- How sexualized breasts are in our society.
- How something that is so natural is perceived as gross and unusual.
- How everyone seems to be an expert on the right way to feed your baby. I can’t imagine that I’m the only mama out there that feels this way.
So on behalf of all women, here are some things not to say to a breastfeeding mom.
1. Never ask her to go somewhere private or to cover up while breastfeeding
Here’s the bottom line: if my baby is hungry, I’m going to feed him. I don’t care if I’m in the middle of Kroger or if I’m at the zoo. He’s my priority.
Also, I refuse to go into a bathroom stall to breastfeed. It is rather disgusting and most people won’t even bring their Starbucks coffee into a bathroom. So why should I bring my child into a germy bathroom stall just to make you feel “comfortable”? Utterly ridiculous.
2. Never say that the “sucking” noises bother you
Someone once told me that I should go somewhere private because the noises that babies made while eating grossed them out. My response to that: Duh, they are eating. I don’t tell you to be quiet when you eat.
3. Never give your opinion on how to breastfeed
Unless I specifically ask, please don’t share your opinion on breastfeeding with me. It really is none of your business whether or not I decide to supplement with formula or if I don’t. It is none of your business if I decide to breastfeed for three years or for three months. It is none of your business if I pump exclusively or if I never even touch a pump. Bottom line, it’s none of your business.
Honestly, the best course of action to take is just to smile and give a thumbs up.
Lastly, a note to breastfeeding moms: Don’t let what people say discourage you. Never feel that you need to hide to breastfeed so that you make someone feel “comfortable.” They can get over it. Breastfeeding will never be “normalized” if women keep going into dressing rooms, bathroom stalls, or even the back seat of their car so that people won’t see their baby eat. If a mom chooses to breastfeed her baby in those places, it should be because she wants to, not because someone else told her she had to.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful and very natural process. So, don’t be ashamed, mamas, and instead, push on and flaunt it.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.