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?

Yanbu, you could bring it up in conversation and see what she says but I wouldn't be laying it on thick with anyone regardless of age.

SomeKindOfDeliciousBiscuit Thu 24-Jan-13 23:45:48

YANBU because that tone would only put her back up. I imagine people are queuing up to tell young mums how to do it anyway. So perhaps bf in her presence? She might say something(!) to open discussions.

SomeKindOfDeliciousBiscuit Thu 24-Jan-13 23:47:35

Anyway, her own mum should take responsibility for some of the fact that she doesn't know what breasts are.

thezebrawearspurple Thu 24-Jan-13 23:48:50

yanbu, nagging won't convert anyone, it only irritates.

Tell her what I tell people. I BF not because I am an earth mother but because I am fat, cheap and lazy. Fat, it helped me lose the baby weight quickly (doesn't work for everyone), cheap, it's FREE, lazy, you get to sit and feed rather than make up bottles, sterilise, boil, mix, measure, blah, blah, blah.

Holier than thou just pisses people off.

loofet Thu 24-Jan-13 23:53:38

Age is completely irrelevant. A lot of women have this issue with bfing both older and young. My own mother had the same issue when having my brother and I (some 20 odd years ago), she wasn't a teenager. Some women just find the concept a bit gross and I can sort of get it. Plus stuff like page 3 hasn't helped with the sexualisation of breasts.

And to stop being off on a tangent, stick to your guns, you have it right. Who knows, she might decide to try it on her own terms, she wouldn't be the first. With the price of formula these days I'm surprised anyone who isn't a millionaire can afford it anyway!

HopAndSkip Thu 24-Jan-13 23:54:04

Definitely don't lay it on, but maybe it would be worth mentioning to her how you can fed discretely without having to show the world, and maybe suggest to her to not make her mind up until baby is her.
You could explain that some mum's you've known have wanted to ff and then decided they wanted to bf when the baby was here, and visa versa some mums have wanted to bf and ended up ff.

It seem's a shame that she is feeling so much pressure from her friends, but YANBU, you shouldn't pressure her, just reassure her that she should be choosing for herself and her baby, not her friends.

PS how old is she? if by teenager you mean 18/19 then I'd assume she is making a fairly informed decision, but if she is 14/15 it could be likely that she doesn't actually know the health benefits so on, so maybe you could get her to speak to the midwife so she makes an informed decision and doesn't regret anything after.

SirBoobAlot Thu 24-Jan-13 23:56:12

Well... I'm on the fence with this, actually. I was a young mum, and was the only one at my under 21s group to breastfeed. I had some encouragement from my midwife and health visitor, but probably would have followed suit with the rest had I not been gently encouraged by other breastfeeding mums to just give it a go - mainly from people on here, actually. Especially as a lot of the same young mums, further down the line, wished they had breastfed, and have told me since they regret not trying.

Honestly I think the view of ''Boobs are for sex only'' makes me very sad, and I would challenge anyone on that. There is a big movement to get young mums breastfeeding currently, and this is an upsetting view that you hear a lot of sad

On the other side of things, you don't have to do anything that you feel would be negative for anyone involved.

Think the best course of action is, like you say, speak to her if she asks.

YANBU - you seem to be the only one respecting that it's her choice and hers alone. She needs support not patronising!

I feel a little evangelical about BF on a national/worldwide level, but on a personal one to one basis I know it is none of my business!
If asked I would probably get a bit enthusiastic, but I know absolutely that it's different strokes for different folks, and what I did/didn't do is of very little relevance to mothers in other circumstances.

If the mother and aunt are so convinced she's making the wrong choice they won't encourage her by playing the "stupid teen" card - fast way to alienate her and ensure all future advice falls on deaf ears.

nicelyneurotic Fri 25-Jan-13 07:55:02

She may change her mind when her baby arrives.

I found the idea of it a bit gross but wanted to give it a go for baby's health, fully expecting to hate every second, and actually really enjoyed it.

If she asks, tell her to keep an open mind and remind her it will help her to get her figure back afterwards as well as being good for baby. Or buy her the what to expect when you have a baby book so she can read and make her own informed decisions?

Sounds like she needs some advice about not listening to immature friends who don't have the best advice for her or her baby. Even at 30 I get daft advice from childless friends...

CaramelBobbi Fri 25-Jan-13 08:02:18

I think I'd tell her that even if she only feeds for a couple of days, just to get nature's vitamin cocktail, the colostrum, down the baby, she will have given him/her 60pc of the benefit of breastfeeding anyway.

DoItToJulia Fri 25-Jan-13 08:07:20

YANBU. Stick to your guns and don't be a bf bore. (That's what she will think of you!)

I am totally with you. I bf and I love it, but I don't shout about it, don't judge how others choose to feed their babies and I certainly don't try to persuade other mums to be to bf.

I'd be tempted to tell her formula isn't a poison and arm her with well informed things to counter act the judgmental crap she will get from her family.

Jengnr Fri 25-Jan-13 09:44:35

Let her make her own decisions. Who cares whether she breastfeeds or not?

Flobbadobs Fri 25-Jan-13 10:01:20

YANBU. But I would maybe tell her that she is going to get all sorts of advice thrown at her over the course of her pregnancy and if she wants to talk any of it over with you then she can, and leave it at that. If you wanted to give her any info on breast feeding you could probably introduce it that way.

DoJo Fri 25-Jan-13 10:03:11

I can understand if her refusal to consider breastfeeding may be giving her family cause for concern as part of a general attitude towards parenting that doesn't seem to have her baby's best interests at heart, but I don't think that ramming it down her throat is necessarily the best way to encourage her to consider it. However, if everything else about her plans suggests that she is prepared (as anyone can be) for the realities of parenthood, then butting out seems the only reasonable thing for everyone to do.

StephaniePowers Fri 25-Jan-13 10:04:21

What an odd post.

Er, good for you?

nokidshere Fri 25-Jan-13 10:11:30

I come from a family of 6 girls and now I have 12 grown up neices who have started having babies of their own. I am the only person in my who family who has ever breastfed and I am considered "odd" by my family.

However, I tell my nieces (and NIL's) that bf can be lovely and if they want to try it, even though there will be little support for them to do so, I am happy to help if they want me too.

Other than that there is nothing I can, or would want, to do regarding their feeding choices. Even though I do feel it is a shame that it isn't seen as an option.

ImNotDrunkIJustCantType Fri 25-Jan-13 10:21:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CaptainVonTrapp Fri 25-Jan-13 10:36:28

Why is the OP odd stephanie? The OP is just trying to find a balance in her approach to helping a younger family member.

Tricky, no one likes a breastfeeding evangelist and I agree it would get her back up to 'lay it on thick'.

However, it would be nice to find a way of starting a non-judgemental/confrontational dialogue with her. Only because, if her decision is based on her teenage friends laughing at her she could really be missing out and may need some support (and I don't mean the kind of pressure her own Mum is applying).

Could you try, something like "I heard you're under pressure to bf your baby. I don't care how you feed her. I didn't like the idea of getting my boobs out at first but I'm just glad it helped me shift the baby weight quicker and I hate washing and sterilising bottles". Or whatever you think may appeal to her.

Make yourself her ally, then she knows she can speak to you if

BlackMaryJanes Fri 25-Jan-13 10:39:31

I assume her mum didn't breastfeed? Then why the hypocracy? Why does she expect her daughter to do something she wasn't prepared to do.

CaptainVonTrapp Fri 25-Jan-13 10:56:07

Perhaps her Mum wishes someone had offered her some knowledge/advice/support instead of just handing her some formula and not really offering her a choice. So many women in my Mum's generation feel this way.

Not to say I think anyone should be pressured/guilted to bf, just informed.

eggsy11 Fri 25-Jan-13 11:09:22

As a young mum who breastfed, don't interfere.

Breastfeeding is bloody hard, harder than ff (i've done both, ff doesn't give you mastitis!) The only thing that kept me going was support of my other mum friends who breastfed. You need a social support (other than family) imo, and 17 year olds can't really see that (my experience anyway).

I fed my son till 12months, much tears, antibiotics and pain. I got to 12 months, gave him cows milk and thought the health benefits aren't even that much really! I wouldn't bf again.

blonderthanred Fri 25-Jan-13 11:12:32

Could you say something like, chuh, our Mums are trying to get me to pressure you into bf, what a cheek eh. I won't because I think it's absolutely your choice and I know you'll be a brilliant mum, but if you have any questions or you're thinking of trying it, just give me a shout.

Then hopefully she will feel like you're on her side but opens the lines of communication. And you can tell the Mums that you've mentioned it to her.

specialsubject Fri 25-Jan-13 11:13:21

her choice - but the ONLY PURPOSE of boobs is to feed babies. Doesn't mean that they have to be used for that, but that is all that they are for. Basic science.

Sounds like the education and common sense are rather lacking, which might account for the situation.

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?

oldebaglady Fri 25-Jan-13 22:58:57

your hips keep you legs in place and allow you to give birth etc
they also have a role in attracting a mate
Breasts have a sexual funtion as well as another biological function - it's not one or the other

HopAndSkip Fri 25-Jan-13 23:00:12

Chunderella I thought (I may be wrong) that bigger breasts were evolved as they were seen as being more "child bearing worthy" like big hips, due to breasts being bigger when producing milk. So natural selection gave bigger breasts/wider hips a slight advantage? (I'm talking long long long ago)
Apologies if that's a load of shit, but I'm sure I read it somewhere.

Chunderella Fri 25-Jan-13 23:05:02

Honestly I can't remember where I first read it, but this article gives some information about the origins of the theory.

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2460501?uid=3738032&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21101707171147

The argument I first saw said it was for fertility reasons, but this article also discusses some others:

http://worldofweirdthings.com/2010/02/07/the-evolutionary-mystery-of-human-breasts/

I certainly wouldn't want to pass myself off as some kind of expert on these things, but the idea of breasts having a sexual as well as nursing function is not a new one. Obviously it doesn't exist in all cultures. But it exists in enough to make the generalised statement that 'the only purpose of boobs is to feed babies... that is all they are for' problematic.

Chunderella Fri 25-Jan-13 23:09:32

Yeah HopandSkip some of the theories in this area suggest it was basically sex selection- males preferring females with big breasts. It's very interesting. We know that humans have bigger breasts than other primates. We also know that breast size has nothing to do with ability to lactate, so it can't be down to that. I don't think it's been properly established yet exactly why breasts developed. They do have a comforting function for infants too, so that might have something to do with it.

dayshiftdoris Fri 25-Jan-13 23:26:43

Commander

You know what - agree to talk to her to shut your MIL up but tell her exactly what you told us...

Support her in this, make her feel like her choices are valid and she might just be open to learning more about the subject and giving it a go...

And even if she doesnt then atleast she isnt left with a feeling of BF being something to feel guilty about.

I am a midwife and BF for a long time... I am often asked to do these chats. I tell them I only care about what they want not about the right and wrongs of feeding methods. What often gets to me is that women have often agonised over the decision alone because they have only been offered opinions on what is best... Most have considered it carefully but have been missing someone unbiased to discuss the bits they are not certain about...

A couple of people have BF after talking it through with me and thats lovely but I try not to attach importance to that or I would become openly biased...

achillea Sat 26-Jan-13 00:28:06

I agree with doris - have a talk with her about pregnancy and childbirth, what being a mother is about. But don't tell her that women have big breasts so that men can have sex with them 'from the front' as chunderella suggested.

oldebaglady Sat 26-Jan-13 15:17:51

I felt reluctant to breastfeed until a lovely midwife was honest about all the pitfalls of breastfeeding. She was the first person to not just sing about breast being best and most natural and wonderful and all that, and was frank and honest about the realities of breastfeeding! bleeding nipples and all!

rather than putting me off, having someone be honest about breastfeeding for a change made me give it a go. 99% of the pro-breastfeeding people you meet when pregnant give such an unrealistical glowey load of BS about it that it's hard to imagine yourself as one of their demurely smiling happy clappy glowey breastfeeding mums from their posters/fliers!

Chunderella Sat 26-Jan-13 15:34:35

Yeah, heaven forbid a teenage mum learn any theories about the evolution of the physiology of the human body. Plus, you know, she's clearly so uncomfortable about her body that it would all be too much for her poor, easily influenced little self.

oldebaglady Sat 26-Jan-13 15:41:33

Chunderella that's exactly what I mean!

when pregnant I had all the "that's what they're for" blah blah blah
noone would dare acknowledge that up until that point they were very much a sexual asset to me - and now they were telling me I was wrong to think of them that way and I should love them loosing that value and being used for something totally different! And I would love it and it would make me feel all warm and fuzzy! well I just couldn't imagine that being "me"

The woman who admitted that these were real issues and was frank about it gave me the first impression of BFing that I could actually relate to!

achillea Sat 26-Jan-13 15:42:18

You mean the theories that you find on worldofweirdthing.com, chunderella

Startail Sat 26-Jan-13 15:50:30

She's a teen who didn't have the sense to have an abortion and who thinks what her mates thinks is more important than what's best for the baby.

Your well out of it.

Chunderella Sat 26-Jan-13 15:52:57

Or, you know, in academic journals.

Interesting account, oldebaglady. You pretty much sum up the problem with dogmatically telling a woman that her breasts exist only for lactation. Even if we knew that were true on a basic physiological level, which we clearly don't, erasing the views and experiences of the many women who see their breasts as sexual is pretty stupid if you want them to listen to what you have to say.

atacareercrossroads Sat 26-Jan-13 15:55:14

Wtf startail? Maybe, just maybe. She didn't want an abortion <radical>

BegoniaBampot Sat 26-Jan-13 16:32:00

You could congratulate her and just say that if she ever wants to ask anything about BF or having a baby in general, you are there. She sounds a little bit immature but she is young, must be quite scary for her. Seems few teenage mums BF anyway and she sounds typical of that.

teacherandguideleader Sat 26-Jan-13 16:44:11

I work with teenagers and in class we talk about issues such as these. I find it quite shocking that some of the girls I teach (I'm not being sexist - I don't really teach boys) are so uneducated about things to do with their bodies.

It is possible to talk to teenagers about their bodies without 'attacking' and getting their backs up. But you have to tread carefully. In my role as teacher, I can't really give opinion only fact and actually that approach can work quite well. Especially if you give a balanced argument.

Try to talk to your relative, but as a general feeding conversation - pros and cons of both breastfeeding and formula feeding. You might find that it is just what she needs - someone she can talk to without telling her what she should do.

EauRouge Sat 26-Jan-13 16:57:57

Does she know anything about breastfeeding at all? Fair enough if she still doesn't want to do it, every woman should be able to make her own choice but every woman deserves the opportunity to make an informed choice.

Her MW might be better placed to bring this up than you. You could invite her along to a BF group (if you go to one), or just mention BF in conversation, but there may be reasons that she doesn't want to BF that she doesn't want to talk about.

Are there any young parent groups at Surestart where she can get support?

achillea Sat 26-Jan-13 19:09:12

teacher I would agree that a lot of this is about lack of education and understanding of the human anatomy. It's fine to feel that breasts are sexual and have a dilemma about that to begin with, but I'm sure that understanding how the breast milk is made, how it gets there, what it does for the baby, how the baby sucks etc - the simple biology, will make the pregnancy more real for her and empower her to make an informed choice.

On the other hand she could read worldofweirdthings.com as chunderella suggested and linger on the theory of the evolution of breasts and thereby allow the patriarchy to convince her that breasts were designed to attract men rather than feed a baby.

HopAndSkip Sat 26-Jan-13 19:12:20

Startail biscuit

I think Olde has made a good point. Maybe it's worth mentioning your good and bad experiences. It might make her actually think about or ask questions about breastfeeding rather than her just getting defensive if she thinks you're trying to change her mind. And then she will also be prepared by knowing the bad points and some ways to work through them if she does decide to bf. smile

A lot of my friends began to breast feed, and decided to switch to formula after a few days because they were finding it too hard/were worrying about the baby not getting enough etc, so if you do speak to her it would be a bit pointless saying the good parts without mentioning the hard parts too.

oldebaglady Sat 26-Jan-13 19:30:02

the MW talked about the possible problems and the solutions, so when I did hit those I knew it was normal and fixable - I know other people who considered BFing to be not working and switched to formula when they had the same problems as they didn't realise it was normal and temporary

she described things like the nipple shred-fest that happens on night 2 or 3 to make your milk come in so that we knew it was normal but most importantly TEMPORARY!

she started the session by saying "breastfeeding can be really really hard" at which point I uncrossed my arms and sat up and listened! I was expecting the usual blurb about it being the most natural thing in the world...

I have helped guide a 17 year old relative, due March, towards BF, even for a few weeks.

I have been honest, it can be hard going, especially if you have a baby who feeds constantly.

If that happens and she cannot cope with the isolation that, that can bring then i will support her to stop.

It depends on the teens peer group, some friends will be dropped, as the stuff they stress about, means nothing to a new Mum.

I am close to my DD's friends and have enjoyed taking an "empowering" role, there is a depressing amount of low self esteem and body hatred amongst teen girls.

I usually asked by the girls for an opinion in the first place, though.

achillea Sat 26-Jan-13 20:04:22

Perhaps you could apply for her to get a Home-Start volunteer?

Home start volunteers are in any way particulary qualified, or necessarily non judgemental.

She should have been refered to a teen MW and there are teen groups at Children's Centre's.

Chunderella Sat 26-Jan-13 23:20:12

Just because you were evidently unable to read the more complex academic paper achillea doesn't mean the mum to be won't. You really need to stop patronising her. Also, if you're trying to suggest that the theories mentioned are The Patriarchy in action, it'd be more convincing if you had an explanation as to why humans developed breast tissue when other primates didn't and when it isn't required to lactate. Probably easier just to keep projecting on and making assumptions about the teenage mum, though.

Startail come on. You don't know anything about the woman's circumstances or beliefs. She might not want to have an abortion!

achillea Sat 26-Jan-13 23:29:23

Chunderella This thread has nothing to do with why women develop breast tissue when other species don't and I won't be drawn into the debate, I don't think it will be helpful to discuss this with a pregnant teenager unless it's in the context of a biology lesson at school. Perhaps if she had learned a little more about the fact that if women didn't have breasts their babies would have died and so breasts primary purpose is practical and not aesthetic she would see a way forward now. Chances are she's spent too much time comparing her body to other women's photoshop images and fearing imperfection.

Breastfeeding is not the issue here, inexperience, youth, peer pressure, empowerment is.

Chunderella Sat 26-Jan-13 23:40:02

Yes achillea it does. The woman concerned mentioned what she considers the function of her breasts to be, it was in the OP. Other posters then discussed how to get her to change her mind about this, and one made a sweeping claim that the only function of breasts is to lactate. As such, the function of breasts is clearly a big part of this thread.

As for not being drawn into the debate, you already have been and you are saying things that are demonstrably wrong. It is simply not the case that if women didn't have breasts, our babies would have died. You don't need breasts to lactate successfully, you need nipples and mammary glands. I assume you know that flat chested women can bf a baby if they want to? Not all women have breast tissue and some of those who don't, still bf. If you don't want to continue discussing this then you can stop posting about it. What I'm afraid I shan't allow, though, is for you to say things that carry on the discussion, like your remark about humans dying without breasts, then pretend you want nothing to do with it in an attempt to get the last word. You can't have it both ways.

achillea Sun 27-Jan-13 00:07:58

When I say breasts I mean nipples and mammary glands. Sorry. Keep your hair on.

Chunderella Sun 27-Jan-13 14:54:09

Ok, you're incorrectly using the two terms interchangeably, hence your confusion. Maybe don't talk about other people's lack of knowledge about the human anatomy, then! Humans need nipples and mammary glands to lactate, but not breast tissue, and as such we don't know why we developed it. As the presence and amount of breast tissue makes no difference to ability to lactate and we don't have any evidence that it ever did, it can't be because of that. We don't even know enough to suggest that breasts, as opposed to nipples and mammary glands, even have a primary function.

Incidentally, I remembered where I first read about this theory. It was in 'The Whole Woman' by that renowned upholder of patriarchy Germaine Greer. The chapter entitled 'Breasts'.

achillea Sun 27-Jan-13 16:25:26

But would you agree that the primary function of mammary glands is to feed babies whether or not they are surrounded by breast tissue? And that it is right that when women have babies they are enabled to see and understand this and put the breast tissue matter aside by not focussing on the fact that they are sexually attractive to men?

Chunderella Sun 27-Jan-13 17:09:00

Mammary glands, yes. I don't know of any other reason for them other than lactation. I'm not really sure what your second sentence means. Perhaps you would rephrase? If you're saying that when women have babies they ought to come round to your point of view and see their breasts as only or primarily for lactation rather than as sexual, then no. There is insufficient biological evidence to back up that view, and as we live in a society where breasts can be both, either or neither, it is for the individual woman to assign her own priorities. In the absence of such biological evidence, persuading women is not enabling, or allowing them to understand. It's imposing baseless dogma.

Chunderella Sun 27-Jan-13 17:12:55

Oh, I should probably add that I don't particularly value the sexual aspect of my own breasts, whereas I have done some breastfeeding and may do so again when I (hopefully) have DC2. So this isn't about imposing my own point of view, but about upholding the right of other women to theirs. If you prefer to define your breasts as primarily or totally for lactation after having given birth achillea, I support your right to do this.

ethelb Sun 27-Jan-13 17:41:28

@achilia what @chunderella is saying is fairly standard evolutionary theory. Just because you have never heard of it doesnt mean it is true.

I do wish ubscientifically educated people realised that their 'opinions' mean little compared to scientific theory.

achillea Sun 27-Jan-13 18:06:11

Thanks for that Ethel. That really adds to the debate - which is may I remind you about a pregnant teenager reluctant to breastfeed.

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