Breastfeeding Basics: Supporting Your Breastfeeding Friend
We've all heard of the mommy wars,
It's that battle between who does it better; who does it Pinterest worthy; and who does it the crunchiest. It's a battle often times between friends, co-workers, family members and the like. It's a battle that really isn't worth the fight. After all, we are all doing the best we can. Today you get a lesson in breastfeeding basics, a lesson on how to support your breastfeeding friends.
Breastfeeding is one of the most popular mommy war battles around. Whether you're formula feeding, breastfeeding or doing both, someone usually always has something to say or some nasty ass look to give. From opinions on when you should start weaning to whether or not you chose formula instead, there is always something that someone can find to knit pick.
The breastfeeding versus formula battle becomes very hard to navigate when either person has no experience with the other. For example, a formula mother may find it odd that a breastfeeding mother feeds her child so much. She may make a remark such as,
"Gosh, you're feeding the baby
Remarks such as this or any other similar remark, while not meant to be cruel, can start to weigh down on a breastfeeding mother. In a similar situation, a breastfeeding mother could unintentionally insult the formula feeding mother by insisting that she doesn't want her child on formula.
Since breastfeeding is altogether an often times "controversial" subject, I've put together a short list on how to properly be a breastfeeding buddy. There is no doubt that it can be hard to support a friend who is nursing a two year old despite your own feelings about breastfeeding toddlers and it can possibly be even more difficult to eat lunch with a friend who has a child hanging from her boob at the dinner table. You've gone from never being around breastfeeding mothers, to all of a sudden having a
So here's how to be a Breastfeeding Buddy:
Always support her parenting decisions.
Whether she chooses to nurse on demand, nurse all throughout the night, or co-sleep, always support her and never question her decisions. You may not 100% agree, but she doesn't have to always know that.
Tell them that they are doing a good job.
In a world where breastfeeding is sometimes controversial and filled with nosy MILs and great grandmas, take the time to tell her you are proud of what she is doing.
Encourage them to nurse when needed.
There may be times while you're together that she knows she should nurse her baby who is screaming and crying to death, but she's holding off for your sake. Encourage her to nurse whether it is right there with you OR...
Offer her privacy.
Ask if she needs you to step out or if she needs to borrow your car to nurse in while you're out having lunch. And if you're fine with her nursing there in front of you, make sure she knows that.
Never make them feel ashamed.
"oh my gosh are you
breastfeeding your kid"
isn't the way to get on her good side. Neither is hiding behind the menu while she nurses her baby at lunch.
Be mindful of what you say and ask.
This somewhat goes with number five. Breastfeeding mothers don't always know how to take questions about weaning, night nursing and so on and since they often fear someone may be judging them. Be mindful of what you say and ask and especially the tone in which you say it.
Support their rights.
While you don't have to picket outside of businesses to show your breastfeeding support, you should always stand by your friend. If she receives dirty looks for public nursing or even gets you (God forbid) kicked out of the restaurant for nursing, make sure you stand by her side.
In actuality, we all just need to be mommy buddies and not try to bring each other down. Sure we are all entitled to having an opinion about what we see, but we don't always have to say what we think and feel. When it comes to other friends, especially mommy friends, we should always be the best buddy we can be. Just remember these breastfeeding basics for being a breastfeeding buddy and your friend (or daughter, cousin, sister, daughter in law, etc...) will be forever grateful to you. For some women, the only breastfeeding support they have may come from you. Be their awesome, kick ass, breastfeeding buddy.
What is your experience with a breastfeeding or
non breastfeeding best friend?
Thanks for reading, Sasha