I usually go the nod and smile route. I have tried educating folks in the past, but the majority of them just don’t get it so I’ve stopped. I let them tell me all kinds of ludicrous nonsense and then I just smile, knowing that my baby is getting the best.
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I think that once you’ve breastfed and weaned one child, a lot of the criticism disappears. Nursing my first for nearly 3 years might have seemed unthinkable to some family members, but now that she’s a happy, healthy, normal 4-year-old they don’t have the same reservations. Like you said, seeing how well it works can make all the difference.
It is interesting. Even my family members who are supportive are a little squeamish about certain aspects of breastfeeding, especially those who haven’t done it. “Do you really have to nurse him here/now?” “Yep.” Period. And when the comeback is, “Well Soandso [best friend who obviously knows more than I do] saays that…..”, my response is, “Well, when you have a child, you can decide whether to take her advice or not.”
I countered with “It works for our family.” It’s fairly hard for someone to argue with a statement that doesn’t involve them. It also doesn’t criticize others who have made a different choice or had another choice forced on them. I wanted to quote research and the obvious rightness of breastfeeding but I had a niece who had a baby the same day as I did who had to supplement because not all of her milk ducts were intact following breast reduction surgery. This made me sensative to those who weren’t nursing at least partially.
Thank you SO much for sharing this side of breastfeeding. The lack of support or encouragement surrounding a new mom who tries to breastfeeding, or wants to continue for a long time, really affects her final decision, and that is not right. I felt compelled to put a list of the 10 things that people don’t tell you about breastfeeding to prepare moms-to-be and new moms that latching is just the beginning of the battle.
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