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Not to want to evangelise re breastfeeding?

(82 Posts)

A member of my family on DH's side is pregnant at a young age (teenage) and has expressed her intention to feed her baby formula from the outset. Boobs, in her view, are not for feeding babies and breastfeeding is weird and her mates would give her stick.

I have breastfed successfully (whee!) and have no problem at all with her plans, since it's naff all to do with me.

However, her mum and my MIL are aghast that she won't even try and want me to lay it on thick with her to encourage her to have a go. I have said that I will do no such thing - it's not my place and I wouldn't have liked someone having a go if the roles were reversed. If she asks me about breastfeeding then of course I'd be delighted to answer her questions but I'm not going to give her unsolicited advice.

MIL thinks I am being unreasonable and should be encouraging young mums to breastfeed - but I really think I'm not and hectoring will help no one. AIBU?

Perhaps the mum did bf and that is why she wants her dd to try but thinks she may listen to the advice of someone else rather than her.

Teenagers arnt always great at taking advice off parents

DoItToJulia Fri 25-Jan-13 11:59:50

I don't think subversively recommended breast feeding is an option. She is young, not dumb!

thebody Fri 25-Jan-13 16:02:43

I think you are right op. it's up to each individual woman to decide his to feed their baby.

Mother and mil have had their choice and now its hers.

WorraLiberty Fri 25-Jan-13 16:05:44

YANBU where would it end?

Will your Mum want you to go round the family advising people to lose weight/give up smoking/drink less alcohol?

CrazyOldCatLady Fri 25-Jan-13 16:11:36

YANBU. Their approach is not likely to bring her around.

ethelb Fri 25-Jan-13 16:11:49

YANBU

However, she may just be using the line "breasts are not for feeding babies" as an excuse to get her mother of her back. She may just feel that with all the other pressures on her breast feeding may not be the best option for her.

Cherry Healy did a great documentry about breastfeeding on BBC 3 and it featured a teenage mum who chose to breastfeed and also showed how unusal this was and she was quite upfront about how much help she needed from a lactation consultant and her partner. Maybe you could mention that or find it for her? It was all about choice etc and wasn't 'lecturey'.

Fakebook Fri 25-Jan-13 16:17:19

MIL thinks I am being unreasonable and should be encouraging young mums to breastfeed

That is ridiculous! It's not your job to encourage young mums to bf. Why don't you tell the girls mother that she couldn't stop her from having sex, so it will be pretty hard to stop her ff. idiots.

Chunderella Fri 25-Jan-13 16:22:07

Yanbu, it has nothing to do with you and it's ludicrous to expect you to preach the benefits of BF to all and sundry just because you did it yourself. Not all women who BF would even recommend it to others or consider that the health benefits are particularly significant, anyway. It's not an automatic thing! I think you're wise to take the approach you outlined: stay out of it unless you're asked for your advice.

Lafaminute Fri 25-Jan-13 16:35:31

Good point Fakebook grin
OP: YANBU at all.

Tryharder Fri 25-Jan-13 16:40:11

I know someone who had a baby at 17, no intention of bf. Her Aunt encouraged her once the baby was born and she ended up ebf until the baby was 6 months old.

I see nothing wrong in giving good advice. I doubt very much that she has made an informed choice.

fromparistoberlin Fri 25-Jan-13 16:40:54

tell hers how cheap and easy it is! and show photos of celebs BF????

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 25-Jan-13 16:49:10

It can't do any harm to have a chat with her about it. My Dsis told me she was very keen to try breastfeeding when she has her baby after seeing how I managed with my two having not been that keen on the idea before. I think a bit of firsthand experience can make a big difference. Having said that I think you're right that going about it gently is better than evangelising.

ethelb Fri 25-Jan-13 16:55:24

Themother needs to stat treating her DD like the mother she is about to become imo.

Herrena Fri 25-Jan-13 17:03:23

Do you see her often OP, or would you have to make a special visit to sit and rhapsodise explain about the joys of BF? It might be easier to contact her via text or email since then she doesn't have to respond right awayor at all - might lessen her feeling of being nagged!

I'd say something like this, if it were me:

1) Your mum and my MIL have been telling me to come talk to you about BF, so here I am.

2) I just wanted to say that you only get one chance to decide to try it, right at the start. So you might want to have a go while you're in hospital, just to check that it's definitely not for you.

3) Remember that you have the right to feed your baby however you choose.

4) Looking forward to meeting him/her!

Keep it brief and treat her like an adult, hopefully she will appreciate it.

Or just stay out of it altogether, it's your call grin

Chunderella Fri 25-Jan-13 17:39:12

Disagree that it can't do any harm to talk to the relative about it. She's a teenager, they've been known to be awkward. And she probably isn't going to go short of unsolicited advice. A well meaning chat from OP might easily do more harm than good. Although if she were to go down that road, Herrera's ideas sound good.

And really, I don't understand this mentality that women who BF have some responsibility to offer unsolicited advice to other women about it. Having lactated doesn't even give you that right, let alone that obligation. BF can be hard enough without it conferring the duty to be a lactivist too. MIL is full of shit!

Chunderella Fri 25-Jan-13 17:40:26

Herrena, sorry.

atacareercrossroads Fri 25-Jan-13 17:42:13

Yanbu, beak out unless asked is my motto on bfing

Fairylea Fri 25-Jan-13 18:30:07

I wouldn't say anything at all.

Breastfeeding posters and evangelical stuff is all over everywhere - most ante natal clinics have info and posters where you can't avoid them. In mine they actually had a tv on loop with adverts about the wonders of breastfeeding. Hmm.

What I'm trying to say is if she is open to being persuaded then there's already probably enough propaganda out there to do the job without anyone else becoming involved.

But she's probably like myself and lots of other people where to us breastfeeding just doesn't feel right or natural to us. That is our opinion, our children and we are entitled to it and to choose not to breastfeed. (I know you know this op, I'm not being hostile just talking).

Also, I wish people wouldn't say it's somehow wrong to view breasts purely as sexual. This has been something which has evolved for millions of years, our breasts have become sexual (as well as practical) and for many people like myself it seems wrong to use something I perceive to be sexual to feed my baby. I am not saying that is right of me to feel that way but that is how I feel. I can't change the way I feel about it.

I am not saying breastfeeding is sexual before I get flamed.

I am saying breasts are sexual and many women feel that way and would not want to breastfeed for that reason. It is not wrong, it is a personal point of view.

I'd just leave well alone op.

achillea Fri 25-Jan-13 18:34:28

YABU - this is about a lot more than just boobs. She's a teenage Mum, she needs guidance and support as she is clearly very uncomfortable about her body. You should try to help her get round these feelings, but maybe laying down the law about breastfeeding is not the best way to do it.

Get her away from her 'mates' might be a good start.

HopAndSkip Fri 25-Jan-13 20:59:23

achillea What a load of shit. She doesn't need guidance because she's a teenage mum, she needs just as much guidance as any first time mum without experience of children, assuming she hasn't yet.

And "getting her away from her mates" is the worst possible thing, all that will do is isolate her and make her feel like shes lost her entire life from having the baby, rather than just having changes to it. She needs her friends, and no doubt their opinions will change once the baby is there. One of my closest friends was commenting on how weird breastfeeding must feel, how boobs were too sexual for babies etc during my pregnancy. Since having my DD the same friend has asked me questions about BF and been curious about it in a positive way, and adores my DD.

oldebaglady Fri 25-Jan-13 21:02:41

the more pressure she gets the more she'll put her foot down and not consider BFing as a way to assert her autonomy!

supporting her plan to FF may give her the space to consider BFing

achillea Fri 25-Jan-13 21:33:25

HopAndSkip charming

You chose to breastfeed despite what your friend said - this girl is choosing not to breastfeed because of what her friends are saying. I can't imagine having a baby as a teenager, it must be very daunting and you're still at that age when you are concerned about what your peers think of you. If I was this girl's auntie I would be introducing her to other people with babies and helping her to empower herself, not hoping that she will muddle through with her teenage friends as her only guidance.

Chunderella Fri 25-Jan-13 21:37:23

Not sure how you got the idea that the relative is uncomfortable about her body achillea. It might be quite the opposite- she could be very pleased with her breasts and be vain about them, and not want to breast feed in case it causes them to change in a way she doesn't like. Which, let's be honest, they could. I don't see any information in the OP about her feelings about her body.

Specialsubject that isn't necessarily the case. There is a theory than female humans developed breasts in order to mimic the buttocks and give the male a reason to have sex from the front. Other primate females don't have breasts and as we all know, breasts themselves aren't necessary to lactate. You only need nipples and ducts, no actual tissue. So humans might have developed breasts for another reason. I should add that I support any woman's right to consider her own breasts as for lactation only and having no sexual function at all, if that's what she wants. And vice versa.

AmyCooper Fri 25-Jan-13 21:41:08

When I was pregnant I didn't want to breastfeed. I found the whole idea of it a bit weird. I was an only child, I'd never seen anyone breastfeed a baby (although I was breastfed myself which my mum was proud of, as when I was a baby she didn't know anyone who breastfed). It wasn't until my mum had my sister when I was 4 months pregnant, and breastfed her, that I saw how natural it was. I'm still breastfeeding my 16mo. If it wasn't for seeing her doing it I probably would have formula fed from the start as it seemed more 'normal'.
I think the more ''normal' breastfeeding seems, the better. Perhaps it wouldn't hurt to give some friendly advice on breastfeeding. Sometimes it's just lack of knowledge (note sometimes, and it certainly was in my case) that puts people off.

achillea Fri 25-Jan-13 22:45:42

Chunderella - why would females have wanted to develop breast tissue so that they could have sex 'from the front'? And what are your sources?

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