Dealing with Breastfeeding Criticism

One of the most common complaints among breastfeeding mothers and mothers who are planning to breastfeed is the criticisms they get from friends and relatives about breastfeeding. In fact, complaints from family members are one of the number one reasons women quit breastfeeding after they have started. It is important to try to breastfeed your child for the first twelve months of life. It can provide some wonderful benefits for both you and your baby. As a result, it is important to learn how to deal with those criticisms before you start the breastfeeding process.

On thing to remember when you choose to respond to someone’s criticism about breastfeeding is the tone of your voice. If you sound wishy-washy, they will keep up their attack until they win. There are a number of different ways to respond to their complaints. Be sure to issue “I” messages. Try saying “I don’t like it when you criticize the way I’ve chosen to feed my child,” instead of “You always pick on me.” You could try pulling that person aside and saying, “I’d really like to discuss this with you. Is this a good time?”

You could also try to describe your feelings of anger or hurt to the person who is attacking your breastfeeding decision. Additionally, you might make it clear to that person that their support of your feeding choices is essential to both you and the baby. Tell them how much their support might mean to you. You can also let them know how much research has shown that breastfeeding helps baby’s development. Moreover, you might make it clear that everyone has a decision in how to raise their own children, and this is the decision you have made. You might let them know why you chose to breastfeed. You could also let them know how your pediatrician feels, and the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics on the subject of breastfeeding. You could also tell the person that you simply don’t wish to argue with them about the topic. Your concern is your baby’s well being, and that should be their concern as well. Remember to acknowledge that they might have some valid issues, but that you know what is best for your baby. Let them know that everyone has a right to their own viewpoint on the subject, and that it is okay to agree to disagree. Finally, you could just smile and turn away.

If you’d like to try to prevent the criticism before it happens, you might try one of the following. First, be discreet about each feeding session. The topic of breastfeeding bothers some people, but actually having someone breastfeed a child in public really bothers some people. Being discreet about it can head it off at the pass. Be sure to be confident about your decision. If you offer some hint of lacking confidence, someone might take the opportunity to criticize your choice. Remember that you are doing what is right and best for your baby. Consider the other person’s background and why they might be criticizing your choice. It might help you better anticipate their attack.