20 Things NOT To Say to A Breastfeeding Mother

Look, I know you mean well but seriously, sometimes you’re better off saying nothing at all and just giving that mama a hug. Here’s a handy list of things NOT to say to a breastfeeding mum.

1) “Why don’t you just give a bottle?”

This is the one said to an outrageous amount of mothers by partners/family/friends/HCPs. For some mothers, just giving a bottle isn’t a choice, it’s a last resort. There’s a reason we are persevering with breastfeeding. We don’t want to be told to give up, we want encouragement to keep going. If we want to give a bottle, we will do so without you prompting us.

2) “Maybe they don’t like your milk?”

Are you kidding? Of course they like their mother’s milk. It has been tailor-made especially for them by my body which has grown them for the past nine months. What, you think they will prefer a completely different species’ milk? How about you go have a taste and be the judge? Then tell me the baby won’t like it. No? Didn’t think so.

3) “My kids were bottle fed and turned out just fine”

That’s great, and I’m so pleased the odds ended up in your favour. I, however, want to breastfeed. I’ve researched it and made my decision. Your anecdote has no bearing on that. Plus, I’m aiming a bit higher than ‘fine’.

4) “They’re STILL hungry?? Maybe you aren’t producing enough milk. You’re obviously not filling him/her up”

STOP TRYING TO MAKE ME DOUBT MY BODY. The only person who can tell me I’m not producing enough milk is a lactation consultant. Come back when you’ve qualified and then you can give me your diagnosis.

5) “They are just using you as a comforter/dummy”

Actually, I think you’ll find it’s the other way around and that they would be using a dummy as a boob. And that so called ‘comfort feeding’ is called cluster feeding. It’s important. Baby is increasing my supply.

6) “What? They STILL aren’t sleeping through the night? Giving them a bottle before bed will help with that!”

Do you want to know the real reason they don’t sleep through the night? It’s because THEY ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO IN THE EARLY DAYS. A bit later on some babies do, some don’t. That bottle you are recommending? You are basically suggesting I overfeed my baby with something they struggle to digest. No thanks. I’m quite happy rolling over and giving my baby some boob where required. Don’t you worry about me, I got this! Also… SIDS risk…

7) “If you bottle feed you could leave baby with others and have a break for the day/evening/weekend”

Lets get one thing straight: I signed up for this. As much as I’m feeling tired and in need of a break at the moment, I don’t need to hand over my child to anyone for the day/evening/weekend. Feel free to come over and have cuddles whilst I take a quick bath but I don’t need a babysitter just yet. My idea of a break is someone popping over and helping out with chores! Not to mention the damage that a ‘bottle break’ would do to my milk supply. No thanks.

8) “What if your milk doesn’t have enough nutrients? You might not be eating enough vitamins… at least you know they’re getting enough vitamins wth formula”

You realise formula tries to live up to the contents of breastmilk and not the other way around, right? My body is clever and will hand over all the nutrients to baby before it uses them for itself. Check out the ingredients list for both here.

9) “Maybe s/he is ready for food now”

No, they are not. They won’t be until they are six months old. They appear to be hungry because they are currently going through a growth spurt.

10) “How do you know how much they’re having?”

Hmm… let me just work it out… the answer is ENOUGH. They are having ENOUGH. They stop feeding when they are full up and they let me know again when they are hungry. Plenty of dirty and wet nappies and they are not showing any signs of dehydration. Yup, we’re good. If you really want an amount it’s roughly 1oz an hour but varies with age.

11) “Just give them a bottle, let dad and grandma bond too”

Guess what, bonding doesn’t have to happen over a bottle. How about they indulge in a bit of babywearing? Skin to skin for daddy? Plenty of ways to bond without involving a plastic teat.

12) “You’re going to have to wean at some point, you don’t want them going to school and wanting bitty”

This one really grinds my gears. Firstly, STOP CALLING IT BITTY (damn you Little Britain). Secondly, it really isn’t any business of yours how long a mum wants to breastfeed for. There’s also nothing wrong with breastfeeding until school age and beyond. It doesn’t concern you. Jog on.

13) “When are you going stop breastfeeding?”

Umm… when my child is ready to stop? That’s all you need to know.

14) “Don’t be a martyr”

You think I’m doing this to get sympathy? That I’m trying to make some kind of point? No, I’m just trying to give my baby the best I can. This isn’t about me. This is about my baby.

15) “Do you not want your life back?”

<sarcasm> Yeah let’s just travel back in time to before I was pregnant and live the child free dream! </sarcasm>

Oh… that’s not what you meant? As said earlier, I signed up for this new life as a parent. I’m not about to roll back to my ‘old life’. It was boring. That’s one of the reasons I had kids. I’m determined to make the most of every second my child needs me, because it won’t last forever.

16) “Aren’t you worried that breastfeeding will make your boobs sag??”

Oh honey, if you’re worried about your breasts sagging then best to avoid having kids altogether… and ageing. Turns out pregnancy is the main culprit behind breasts sagging. Breastfeeding just makes them look super amazing for longer. There was a study done and everything.

17) “But it’s pointless breastfeeding beyond 6 months”

The World Health Organisation recommend exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months but to continue to breastfeed alongside solids for a minimum of two years. And that doesn’t just apply to third-world countries.

18) “But aren’t you embarrassed at getting your breasts out in public? Everyone can see everything.”

Nope, because I’m not ‘getting my breasts out in public’. I’m feeding my baby. There’s a difference. No, everyone can’t see everything as all that’s out is a bit of nipple and my baby’s head is covering it. Stop exaggerating.

19) “Oh you’re turning into one of those hippie earth mothers, aren’t you?”

You make out like it’s a bad thing. I salute those mamas! To detach themselves from mainstream culture and connect with their babies in the most natural, instinctual way possible? I’m not worthy of such a compliment.

20) “You should give him water -he’s  obviously thirsty, not hungry”

Breastmilk is ~90% water…

Click here for 10 MORE things NOT to say to a breastfeeding mother…

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2017-10-09T17:03:13+00:00Categories: Opinion|11 Comments

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11 Comments

  1. Lana February 23, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Love it!!

  2. Beth February 23, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Absolutely spot on!!

  3. Michelle February 24, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Yes! And after reading the comments on Giovanni Fletcher’s recent post about breastfeeding her new baby I would like to add “I wanted to breastfeed but…” usually followed by bad advice or out of date information you received. This isn’t helpful to a new mum AT ALL – if someone wanted to run a marathon you wouldn’t bombard them with stories about how you couldn’t run because you have a bunion. There’s a time and place to talk about why things didn’t work out for you, and it isn’t when you’re talking to a vulnerable new mum who desperately wants to make breastfeeding work.

  4. Charlotte Loves February 24, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Love this!! The gifs are literally my expressions to these comments!

  5. Leanne February 24, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Perfect!!!

  6. Jackie wesson February 24, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Breast feeding is the best ever. Totally worked better for me than the bottle. Baby takes what they need,plus no bottles. It’s alot easier,and you’ll have one settled baby. I fed in public, no one knew,it’s easy to disguise . Happy days.. Keep up the good work mammas xxxxxx

  7. Ladybird Gwen February 24, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    All true, the one thing you must say is ‘You are doing so well, trust in yourself’.

  8. Lhmac March 16, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    I don’t have a baby (possibly never will). I could never imagine saying any of these things to a breastfeeding mother. What the hell?

    • canibreastfeedinit March 16, 2016 at 10:39 pm

      Yup. A lot of women reported that they had nearly all of these things said to them. Shocking huh!

  9. Liz Fowle March 17, 2016 at 12:57 am

    I’ve been on the receiving end of most of these over feeding three children but the most shocking to me was from a very knowledgeable dietician and nutritionist who told me breast feeding beyond 6 months was only for people in third world countries! I was truly shocked that someone with her professional knowledge spouted such ill informed crap; good job I was on child number 2 who really got the hang of the whole breast feeding thing straight off the mark, I suspect had I not been very savvy on my knowledge and very confident in my feeding it could have had a detrimental effect. I also happen to know that her reaction came mostly from feeling very uncomfortable about me feeding my child (8 months at the time).

  10. Joanne May 12, 2016 at 8:18 am

    ????

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