“I Support Breastfeeding, but… ” – Don’t Be a Breastfeeding Butter
Every breastfeeding mom at some point in her journey has run into a breastfeeding butter. Friends, family members, kindly strangers at the store each have their own personal exceptions to breastfeeding. These people are full of “But’s”.
“I support breastfeeding, but…” “I’m all for breastfeeding, but…” I know breast is best, but… ”
Generally, when I run into a “Breastfeeding Butter”, I smile and nod. I listen to their point of view. Patiently, I explain refute the “buts.” But really, let’s get honest. If you support breastfeeding, but… Then you do not support breastfeeding.
Top 7 Exceptions of a Breastfeeding Butter, as Heard by Nursing Moms
1.If they are old enough to ask for it, they are too old to breastfeed
Primarily, age is the first and most heard objection of a breastfeeding butter. Many breastfeeding “supporters” have different imagined guidelines for when a child is “too old” to nurse.
But not if they have teeth. Not past 6 months, when baby begins eating solids. Or rather, not past 1 year. Whatever imaginary cut off a butter may have, the fact is, there are many benefits to full term breastfeeding. In fact, the WHO and the American Academy of Pediatrics support the health benefits of extended breastfeeding. The guideline states “Extended breast-feeding is recommended as long as you and your baby wish to continue.” (Site Source, Mayo Clinic.)
2. Certainly not in public
Recently, news stories are documenting cases where women are being harassed for public breastfeeding. From the Connecticut mother who had been berated in a Target for nursing her child, to the Mother in New York City who was kicked out of a courtroom by a judge for nursing her child, breastfeeding in public has become a hot-button issue across America. Many a breastfeeding butter has stated their judgment of breastfeeding in public. “Not in front of my child/husband./boyfriend.” “You are only exposing yourself for attention.” “Can’t you use a bottle when you go out?” Breastfeeding supporters are fighting against society’s repulsion against public breastfeeding by working to normalize it.
Events like the Global Big Latch On in places like New York City, Hamilton County, and Martha’s Vineyard have made breastfeeding a topic of conversation. By nursing in public, mothers are celebrating breastfeeding. In order to make breastfeeding normal in our society, showing that breastfeeding is natural by nursing in public is one of the best ways to do that.
3. You should let grandma (dad, aunt, etc.) be able to feed baby too.
Unfortunately it is not uncommon for a new mother to struggle in the beginning of her breastfeeding relationship with her child. When family members and friends visit, particularly around the holidays, loved ones often pressure moms to allow someone else to feed the baby. Feeding a baby is a wonderful way to bond. The desire to bond with a newborn can cause a breastfeeding butter to pressure a new mom to let them feed the baby. “A little formula won’t hurt”. “You need a break”. “You should let Grandma feed the baby too.” “Maybe you wouldn’t be so tired if you let your husband give the baby a bottle.”
It is difficult to address well meaning advice, particularly from family members. A gentle but firm reminder that breast milk production works on a supply and demand basis, and there are other ways to bond with baby can ease tensions.
4. If a mom want’s to quit, you shouldn’t encourage her to work through challenges
Provided the pressure and mommy wars mothers feel, so many people worry about being offended. However, if a nursing mother is struggling to breastfeed, support her.
Many times when moms reach out or say, ‘I’m just not sure, maybe I will quit.’, the mom is actually wanting targeted tips and professional advice, plus emotional support from an IBCLC and other moms who have worked through that specific challenge.” -Lisa Lahey RN, IBCLC
Do not be concerned about recommending support to a nursing mother. Chances are, she wants her breastfeeding relationship to succeed, too. the CDC report card directly links breastfeeding success with the ability to find support. Whether through an online Facebook group, a book, an IBCLC, or a breastfeeding support group, it is important to encourage moms to work through their challenges.
5. Only if done discreetly (Cover up!)
The choice to cover up while nursing is between a mother and her child- no one else. If she is more comfortable to use a nursing cover, more power to her. If not, it is entirely possible to breastfeed discreetly, without a cover. Honestly, if a mother chooses to nurse, “boobs out”, that’s ok too, because it is her choice. It is her legal right to do so. We live in a society obsessed with body image. Breasts sell everything from cars to hamburgers. America is OBSESSED with boobs. Unless, of course, breasts are feeding a baby. Parenthood is hard enough. Messing with a hot cover, baby, bra, and shirt is uncomfortable enough. Support nursing mothers and babies, no matter how much boob is showing.
6. Not if pumping gets in the way of productivity at work
With women making up over 46% of the American work force, it is amazing that there is not more support for pumping moms. Fortunately, in the healthcare reform which passed last year, a small provision made for working nursing and pumping women;
Section 4207 of the law amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.Code 207) to require an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express milk. The employer is not required to compensate an employee receiving reasonable break time for any work time spent for such purpose. The employer must also provide a place, other than a bathroom, for the employee to express breast milk. If these requirements impose undue hardship, an employer that employs less than 50 employees is not subject to these requirements. Furthermore, these requirements shall not preempt a state law that provides greater protections to employees.
Despite laws beginning to protect women’s rights, support for working, breastfeeding mothers falls short. Studies show that whether a mother plans on returning to work or not does not affect her decision to breastfeed. (67% and 68% of new mothers in America begin their journey breastfeeding.) However, the stats drop noticeably by 6 months. For a mother not employed outside the home, 35% still breastfeed. Yet for a mother working outside the home, only 22.8% of mothers continue to breastfeed by the time their infant reaches 6 months of age. While community support plays a huge factor, so does support within the workforce. Do not allow a breastfeeding butter to damage your nursing relationship in the workplace.
7. But won’t Breastfeeding wreck your boobs?
Honestly, yes. Personally, and this goes for every breastfeeding butter, It’s none of your business.
In Conclusion, don’t be a breastfeeding butter.
No one likes a breastfeeding butter.
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