How to handle family members who aren't on board with your feeding arrangements.
Whether, when and how you nurse your babe are all personal choices, but they can become very public around the holidays when you’re surrounded by family. Find out how to handle the skeptics with these quick and easy tips from Sarah Wells, CEO and founder of Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bags and mom of one in Alexandria, Virginia.
Don’t take it personally
You’ll discover early on that motherhood makes most people opinionated. When family members give you unsolicited input on breastfeeding (or other parenting decisions), it can feel like an attack. But keep in mind that more often than not, people mean well—although that doesn’t justify them getting in your business. Sometimes the best way to handle well-intentioned advice is to smile, say thank you and ignore it.
Fight, flight or seek cover
Worried that Great Aunt Judy will cringe when it’s time for your munchkin’s meal? You have three choices:
(1) Avoid interaction by finding a private place; ask the host if you can use a home office or spare bedroom.
(2) Tackle it head on—because you should be able to feed anywhere as long as you’re comfortable.
(3) Wear a scarf that doubles as a breastfeeding cover.
Know mama knows best
If a relative makes a negative comment, base your reaction on what will make you feel best. If you’d rather not deal with the remarks, then change the subject. If you feel passionately and the crowd is receptive, share the latest recommendations for mom and baby. If family members are more difficult, have a mantra at the ready, such as: “I’m sorry my breastfeeding makes you uncomfortable, but my priority is the health and happiness of my baby. Please respect my decision. You can choose to look away.”
Follow doctor’s orders
Use your pediatrician as your backstop. If you don’t want to get into an in-depth explanation, you can simply say, “I discussed this with my pediatrician, and she agreed that breastfeeding is the healthiest option for my baby,” or, “That’s a good question; I’ll bring it up with my pediatrician at our next appointment.”