How To Talk To People Who Are Unsupportive of Breastfeeding
How do you deal with family members who are unsupportive of breastfeeding? What kinds of things can you do to educate them about breastfeeding? Should you make a baby sitting plan or child care guide?
I want to share some thoughts and ideas with you about breastfeeding in general, as a human. My goal today is to give you the inspiration to believe in your ability and your right to breastfeed. Give you some good resources to show those who may need to be educated on the importance of breast milk. And finally, we’ll talk about a possible Parenting Plan that you can use for yourself, your partner, family members, and any other baby care persons or babysitters in your life.
PERSPECTIVE || I have had very few people make comments and accusations to my face about breastfeeding. But I’ve seen a fair amount of other women complain about their lack of support! I’m only six months in though, and now I’m starting to feel the pressure. People are beginning to be a bit more uncomfortable about the idea of me doing this for 2 YEARS. I’m a confident person who is unafraid of confrontation and prefer it all to be laid out on the table for all to see. But I know that it’s not that easy for most people. So here’s some tips from someone who will, and does, stand up for breastfeeding.
Let’s start by talking about what we are… Fellow humans.. .
We Are Human Beings!
Us humans have accomplished creating a great many things. Medicine, science, inventions, transportation, recipes, drugs, etc. What we didn’t make, is other creatures, plants, or the earth herself.
It’s easy for anyone to understand that we didn’t make cows. Nearly all formula is made with the help of cows milk. Do you know how much dairy is actually healthy to consume? Unfortunately, it’s not very much. Dairy is actually quite unhealthy for humans to consume, especially in large quantities.
So when someone says, “You should feed your baby formula instead!” What their saying is, “Cows milk is better than human milk, for your human baby.” Which put simply, is not the case.
Formula was invented in 1867. And although I myself reap the benefits from this recipe of Infant Formula Food for my own child’s nutrition. I can’t deny my passion for humans breastfeeding their own human babies (if they can). And that’s the thing, fellow humans…
When you think about other countries that do nothing but EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFEED their babies, many mothers use wet nurses (since 2000 BC!). Let’s remember please that IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD. This phrase is coined by the remembrance that living in the days of villages and small towns, mothers had help 24/7. There were no separate houses, rooms, and enclosures to keep everyone so sperate like we live today. With our closed mansions and apartment buildings and spacious homes. When you think about this, realize that when a mother had to attend to something, she would leave her child with her living companions such as other family members or friends. Everyone helped each other constantly. Nowadays we stress about when it’s appropriate to leave our child with a sitter for the first time. Some mothers don’t get away for six months! This is simply crazy to me, and to any of our ancient ancestors who had constant help from fellow humans!
They also didn’t have a need for child care “centers” because everyone helped take care of the children! Mothers, fathers, family members, older kids, and other tribe members. There weren’t necessarily specific members of the village who were caretakers. I’m sure the children had their favorite babysitters and had preferences for family members. But you know they weren’t paid for watching the children right? Everyone helped watch the children, no questions asked.
And finally let us admit that the sad reality when living outside of our modern medicine, is that most mothers and babies were in serious danger during pregnancy and labor. Many women died during or after childbirth. And any and all babies that were born with complications or undeveloped bodies perished. Having both mother and child survive was celebrated because it was so much more difficult than we like to remember it today. We think it’s hard now (!) with the help of labor coaches, hospitals with doctors, and the comforts of our own home with a doula. Not to mention transportation. Your still (most likely) only a phone call away from emergency interception services!
It takes a village to raise a child. Your village now includes doctors, nurses, coaches, trained and medically efficient with tools and modern technology and medicines. Don’t forget how blessed we really are, to have THIS kind of tribe on our side!
To wrap this up, full circle, this is probably the most impacting point for breastfeeding today…
Mothers were designed to breastfeed their babies, just like every other mammal on the planet Earth.
Baby goats drink goats milk. Calfs drink cows milk. Humans should feed their babies human milk. It's just that simple. Click To Tweet
There are some seriously good reasons that infant formula is helpful to have. I myself use infant formula supplements for my baby due to a low supply (I could use a wet nurse right about now)! Other reasons could include (but are not limited to) babies that are unable to (premature or lip or mouth unable to latch, breathing or lung development, etc), or the mother is unable to breastfeed due to infections, disease or being at risk (of infection, sickness, or other illness anticipated).
But let’s just get one thing straight. You need to find your confidence right now, in this very moment.
If you are ABLE TO breastfeed your baby then YOU SHOULD BREASTFEED THAT BABY.
Any person, family member or not, that tells a perfectly healthy mother and child that they should “stop and switch to formula” is unfortunately uneducated about breastfeeding and has lost their way.
Copy and past the SOURCES AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST and let them find out for themselves, how VERY CORRECT AND CONFIDENT you are in your ABILITY/BLESSING to breastfeed your child.
It’s not only the right thing to do, it is YOUR RIGHT to do so. Anywhere, at any time, and in the presence of anyone.
Have you found your confidence yet fellow human?
SIDENOTE || In my opinion, breasts were not meant to be sexual. There is absolutely no sexual value to breasts other than attraction. They provide little stimulation or assistance to males. The fact that many men (and women) are attracted to breasts is simply conditions of personal attraction of our modern age.
Consider this, a woman in a village is sitting there breastfeeding her baby openly when the men come home from hunting. They all go about putting their animals to butcher and stretch and cook. Do you think that woman stopped feeding her child in the open wilderness? Do you think each man was walking around with a bone because her breast is out? … No. We in this modern age, have devalued breastfeeding for our own sexual greed and selfish desires. *cough* (Sorry not sorry)… Moving on!
Tips for Having the Conversation About Breastfeeding With Unsupportive Family & Friends
Remember your Birthing Plan? Where you decide ahead of time what the BEST labor scenario looks like. What you do and don’t want to happen to you, and your baby. Well, it’s time to make a Child Care Plan for yourselves and your family.
(I’m currently working on a downloadable option for you, but I’m not done yet. Follow me on Twitter for release updates @luvlifewlee )
#momtip When writing your Child Care Plan: Get creative and actually WRITE it down, PRINT it out, do what you have to, but get these things discussed with your partner and reveal it to your family as soon as possible! Click To Tweet
This Child Care Plan should lead the discussion! This plan is not subject to change by forceful, uneducated, or unsupportive persons. This is a guide that THEY CAN USE TO SUPPORT your breastfeeding journey.
Include WHAT TO DO if there is no breast milk available, or the baby refuses to eat what he is offered. In the plan, detail what they should try first.
Is it the right temperature? Is the milk sour? Is the bottle clogged? Is it the right bottle? Is he teething?
If all of this is attempted, what is your sitter to do?
Call you or use formula? Who is the emergency contact that has access to your milk stash?
Outline it ALL, so that they have no questions about how they are “supposed to” care for your child, while you are not there to do so yourselves.
With the number of parenting styles out there, find a few that you seem to be close to and use what you want from them to create your very own plan of action for your baby. In a way that anyone can read and follow. This level of consistency for your baby will be so impacting for their future as it provides stability throughout the entire village. (Including doctors and the like!)
Understanding Their Perspective: They are unsupportive of breastfeeding because they believe there’s something better for baby.
Remember to be patient and have some understanding. This world is a crazy place. Science and news have a dramatic impact on us and misinformation is always common. It’s not their fault that they are misinformed because many doctors all over the country are. This isn’t a blame game, by them or by you.
It’s an issue with the FACT, that breastmilk is the best food source for infants and children (for as long as you choose to, but the recommended age for all infants it at least 12-24 months).
The RIGHT that you have to breastfeed your baby anywhere at any time (it’s the LAW) on the planet. (And no other countries have ever even thought about the idea of banning breastfeeding so WTF.)
The BLESSING that your child has to be alive and healthy because of their mother’s milk.
Build your breastfeeding support team!
If you need to, bring along a support person that’s pro-breastfeeding to give you some confidence behind your voice. Find someone who is polite, educated, and patient with people. Don’t bring your girlfriend who is not a mom who will do whatever you say, “Ya what she said” isn’t the kind of support you need. You need that friend or coworker or great aunt Betty to stand up for you and be on your team. (Hopefully, your partner is that person!)
Have you read How to Win Friends & Influence People? The part that we’re going to need to know is the art of influencing others by inspiring them. Let’s consider who it is that is “unsupporting” you.
LESSON IN PERSPECTIVE || These people currently think that there is a more beneficial, healthier, and scientific recipe that has been crafted to perfection for infants. This misinformation was mass marketed to every doctor, hospital, news station and scientific communities! Everywhere people were on board with formula. And for so many for the first time, there was a life saving miracle for newborn babies. It went “viral” and formula has helped many infants survive! To a certain extent, they are right to think that there are benefits to formula for many thousands of families.
IMPORTANT NOTE || If you are unable to breastfeed, then formula is the answer to your babies survival needs! DO NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT THIS MAMAS! If you are having trouble breastfeeding and are at risk yourself, or your baby is unable to breastfeed. Then it’s time you look towards formula is the answer. Because it is. It’s amazing really, that we’ve created this for our newborns so that they have SOME OTHER OPTION.
Having the conversation about breastfeeding?
Informing your unsupporting family needs to come from a place of respect for their love for your child. They love your baby too. And they currently think this is honestly a healthy option to consider. Or they would not be hasseling you, period.
Using an explanation such as,
“IF I was unable to breastfeed then I would use formula to sustain my baby. But I can breastfeed her naturally, and that will be a more substantial meal for her. Filling her with the correct balance of proteins, important live enzymes, and everything they may need. Did you know their saliva signals to my breasts of she is ill? Breast milk can provide natural antibodies for her immediately. Isn’t that cool? Sorry, but formula can’t do that kind of magic like I can!”
Make sure they KNOW (that you know) they have the best intentions for the baby too.
THANK THEM for caring so much as to have this conversation about breastfeeding, and reading the articles that you send them (using the sources below)
EXPLAIN how and why you breastfeed the baby
Let them in on your GOALS for how long your going to breastfeed and why
INFORM them of how they can help you and baby (via your Child Care Plan)
I’m so good at these long posts right? Thanks for reading about how you can refer to all of our ancestors for breastfeeding support. It’s our amazing human design that allows us to feed our babies. That we should be allowed to do this anywhere without oppression or disrespect. Formula has some amazing benefits to many thousands of families, but if you are able to breastfeed then you should breastfeed. It is simply the best and most healthy substance designed for babies.
And remember that your family is only hassling you because they honestly care about you and the baby. They are sorely misinformed of the uses of formula and it’s purpose. Confirm with confidence that you have a plan, goals and are happy to guide your child’s journey of health, with their help. There are these resources I have mentioned, so please feel free to get educated and pass them along!
And remember, it takes a village to raise a child.
Building your team of breastfeeding support is extremely important and that you NEED to find your confidence and talk to them about your breastfeeding journey. Start with discussing everything with your partner. Create that Child Care Plan together. And present it to lead the discussion with every single family member and friend who is in your child’s life as a fellow caretakers! You’re going to need the help of your village.
“Infant Formula” – Wiki, by Wikipedia last updated 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_formula
A History of Infant Formula, (Articles from The Journal of Perinatal Education are provided here courtesy of Lamaze International) || Website: National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684040/
Copy and past these sources to show your family and include in your plan! If you have a great article to share, please leave me a comment so that we can build this list together!
If you enjoyed this post please share with your family and friends on social media!
Share your story with me about your discussion with your family! Have a question about your situation and want to know what I’d say (I always respond to my comments)? Or do you have a URL link you’d like to add as a source for others to use and share with their family to support breastfeeding?
PLEASE leave me a comment below!