friend's anti formula rants losing her friends

(74 Posts)
teachertrainer80 Sat 08-Dec-12 11:40:43

A close friend of mine had DD 9 months ago and breastfeeds her and intends to for 2 or 3 years as she did other child of 4 yrs. Since having DC she has become very pro breastfeeding and denigrates formula feeding mums, saying things in front of them such as FF babies have problems with infections, obesity, intelligence levels etc and posts facebook rants up about the evils of FF etc. It is losing her friends (a mutual friend deleted her from FB a few months ago and told her she wants nothing more to do with her- this friend FFs after a traumatic birth and several bouts of mastitis). My pro breastfeeding friend doesn't listen when you tell her all the reasons why people FF and thinks there is absolutely no excuse for not BF. My sister FFs after her DD was 6 weeks prem and she suffered terrible post natal depression and the guilt from not BF compounded this. I think my friends attitude stinks but hate confrontation so just nod politely. I BF my baby but it's just something I do, it was straightforward for me and I only plan on doing it for 9 months as I go back to work then. Friend has just sent me a long anti FF linking to research etc email as I mentioned combination feeding when DS is 5 months after Xmas and replecing BFs with FFs in run up to going back to work (full time, long commute) in April.

This friend has made breastfeeding her life and constantly posts on FB about it. It is getting on all of our nerves as for most of us it's just how we feed our babies not some massive philosophy. TBH, it is boring. Mums should not be made to feel guilty for FF. Friend is also cloth nappy user and makes me feel guilty for not using cloth nappies (have no intention to, live on 4th floor, 1 bed flat with no tumble dryer). She is also a SAHM and posts rants about not bringing up your own children etc. It's just driving a wedge between our friendship group as she is so militant. Her attitude is that the only way to mother is to BF/ co-sleep/ cloth nappy/ SAH/ Baby led weaning. It's tedious. She considers herself a feminist but feminism is about respecting other women's choices surely? I know these militant attitudes stem from insecurity but how do others deal with it?

Sorry for length of post. Advice please. Don't say ditch her as we have been friends since age of 5 and am friends with her family etc!! If it was someone I had just met through NCT etc I would just distance myself.

brettgirl2 Tue 11-Dec-12 20:38:01

I had to rofl at this

"latching ('scuse the pun) on to BF/ cloth nappies as her 'identity'"

I think it is insecurity and lack of social skills as a combination. Do you think she is depressed?

teachertrainer80 Mon 10-Dec-12 17:07:18

Thanks for your responses. I think a few of you (esp. BlackSwan) have hit the nail on the head and friend has become a judgemental dullard. I guess friend has never had skills/ talents to speak of (but used to be fun) and is now latching ('scuse the pun) on to BF/ cloth nappies as her 'identity', what she does, as it were. It is just a bodily function rather than any kind of skill, that's why I don't know how to challenge it without belittling her. I think keeping a distance is the best thing to do.

BlackSwan Sun 09-Dec-12 19:51:59

I must disagree with some comments further up. I don't think it's an insecurity thing at all. Some people are so talentless and dull that they take the one thing that comes easily and naturally to them (which is not a skill at all, just a bodily function) and have delusions of grandeur about it all and. This one sounds uttlerly evangelical in her attention seeking rants.

Well said Eau - having a baby does indeed highlight the worst parts of your personality (me, laziness too!!).

Yes, you have been friends for years and years, but if you're not enjoying her company anymore, then what is the point of holding on to it? What are you getting out of this friendship? An ear-bashing about BF/slings/AP/co-sleeping etc. If you truly want to stay friends, then you need to be honest with her.

I was so happy the other day when I was invited to a boozy lunch at a mate's house. I took the baby. He rolled around on the floor with his toys while we drank wine and chatted about sex museums, jogging and trips abroad. I don't think anyone mentioned anything child-rearing at all! I don't know how anyone can just chat about one subject and not get bored!!

What was she like pre-DC? I had a friend that was always really competitive but she was 1000 times worse after we had DCs. Everything she did with her DC was bigger, faster, more than what I did. It was ridiculous.

Having DCs can magnify the worst parts of people personalities (for me, laziness grin ) and often can drive a wedge between people that have been friends for years. It's sad, but sometimes you have to call time if the friendship becomes a chore and make new friends. If you value her friendship then let her know how you feel about what she's doing- I bet she's got no idea that she's annoying you.

sittinginthesun Sun 09-Dec-12 11:47:08

I do find the whole thing absurd. I mean, would you go up to a stranger in a cafe and lecture them about eating a cake, and how it's going to lead to obesity and heart disease?

Honestly, just tell her straight that you are uncomfortable with it, and that you don't want to listen to her bang on constantly about it.

If she is a true friend she will listen. If her crusade is more important to get than your friendship, then it's not worth the bother.

scottishmummy France Sun 09-Dec-12 11:40:05

its important to not morph into mummy goddess
you don't just have to talk feeding,slings,poo because you have a baby
the precious moments crew reminded me why I was desperate to return to work,for brain food and adult conversation about owt other than babies

chipmonkey Sun 09-Dec-12 11:39:15

teacher, is she a good friend? Do you want to stay friends with her? Because you really don't have to. Sometimes as life goes on, you find you have less in common with people than you once had. This woman sounds like a PITA and you really shouldn't feel obliged to keep seeing her.

Loislane78 Sun 09-Dec-12 10:34:46

Babies can be all consuming when you're on mat leave or a SAHM (I'm on mat leave) for obvious reasons and I find some people only want to talk about that at parents groups. Personally I go to get out of the house and have an adult chat about anything but!

- i BF (cos it's easy for us)
- co-slept when she was newborn or is unsettled (now in own room)
- wear a sling (for short trips and can't be bothered with the pram)
-I also drink wine and occasionally go to out whilst DP babysits smile

Unless someone asked me specifically I try not to talk about any of above with mums and would prefer to talk about x factor (equally shocking I know) or something more intellectual in the news/locally for interest. Babies grow up...

teachertrainer80 Sun 09-Dec-12 10:16:40

Needles You are very honest and have something my friend doesn't seem to- self awareness.

peaceful 'sensitivity' and 'gentle encouragement'. It would be nice if friend could just be like this instead of ramming it down people's throats. I think she might put preg friends off BF!

EauRouge we live in a very BF/ cloth nappy/ sling using part of the UK so it's not an isolation thing and as I said she has managed to meet like minded sorts at variouas groups.

As I say I BF and also use a sling (a wrap sling too dontcha know!) and sometimes co-sleep but these are my CHOICES. Other people do things differently and that's fine and mine aren't set in stone whereas friend is very much 'I'm BF for 3 years' and was all 'I'm doing BLW' before baby weaned like these are the set in stone parenting decisions of a 'good mum'. Jesus, see how things go.

Some BF for 3 weeks, some for 3 years. Up to them. I also think to myself that it's a shame that mums don't at least give it a go but would never say this out loud or grill people about why they arent BF like my friend does. She grilled a stranger we met in a cafe last week about why she stopped BF at 7 months. None of your bloody business. People are taken aback!

MavisG Sun 09-Dec-12 07:02:55

Peaceful I don't think weaning is easy around 2, my son & my friend's kids who still bf'd then were not keen to cut down substantially until around 3, though I've heard Jack Newman recommended for gentle weaning help (never read him myself as take path of least resistance with bf personally).
I'm disappointed that more than one person's found sling meets off-putting - maybe you're in not v densely populated areas and everyone whose feeling lonely in their counter-cultural parenting choices rocks up to meet likeminded APers? Not knocking them, I do all that stuff, but I don't judge other mothers ever. And slings/carriers are v practical, especially if you eg commute to work & nursery by public transport or live in a flat w no lift.

peacefuleasyfeeling Sat 08-Dec-12 21:10:43

Thanks, OP, this thread cracked me up. Mostly because I have been a committed bfer (though would never have dreamed of ramming it down anyone's throat) for over 2 years and am desperately considering putting wasabe lemon juice on my nipples tonight as it slowly dawns on me that all other sensible strategies for gradual weaning are failing us miserably... smile It is a pity your friend appears to have such thick skin, otherwise she may have picked up on and attempted to emulate the behavioural cues of women whose opinions she might respect such as LLL counsellors and breastfeeding instructors, which are all about sensitivity and gentle encouragement, in my experience. Poor her. And good for you for giving me a good giggle valuing your friendship enough to seek advice on how to resolve your dilemma.

NeedlesCuties Sat 08-Dec-12 21:05:30

I don't think this thread should turn into an in-depth look at me, but I'll just add this:

sometimes I talk about the kids a lot and my choices for them (eg breastfeeding, nappies etc) because it is a large focus of my life as a SAHM, so it's at the front of my mind.

sometimes I'm trying to find like-minded people , but if I'm around people who have made different choices I tend to not say much about it.

I also went to a sling meet, went twice to learn how to use a ring sling and never went back. They were determined to be all about their choices, but I'm more gentle more prepared to go with the flow of what works best for me, my DCs and DH.

Each to their own, I suppose.

RubyrooUK Sat 08-Dec-12 21:05:26

I think most people have strong feelings on how they choose to live their life. And this is magnified when it comes to your decisions for your children. But as someone said earlier in this thread, these are choices, not absolutes.

I breastfed DS till he was a toddler because it was something that really mattered to me. However, I also worked full time from 9mo. I don't consider being a SAHM absolutely vital to me in the same way as breastfeeding was. We get by ok, I think.

So we all make choices all the time. And I don't fool myself that these are anything but choices for me - some of my friends formula fed but really wanted to be SAHM. Obviously different people have different feelings and experiences.

Right now your friend is making the choice that her principles come above her friends' choices and feelings. I'd do one of three things.

1. Distance myself. If she is busy crusading, she may not notice for a while anyway, by which time she may have gained some perspective.

2. Block her attempts to talk about this stuff: "sorry, can we move on? I just find talking about baby stuff all the time so dull." OR "Let's talk about something fun like XXXX".

3. Be honest and say that you find her attitudes to parenting quite judgmental. You think it's more important to be flexible with your views as you don't think it's very kind or supportive to make other women feel bad.

I'd probably try two, if that failed, move onto one and if I had the chance for a really long, good chat with her, I'd try three.

scottishmummy France Sat 08-Dec-12 20:45:00

why?whats the relevance, are you seeking praise or to find other clothbummers
it wouldnt occur to me to discuss baby in those terms.largely as i dont care
however i have met the types and tbh i gravitate away.went to a sling meet was awful

NeedlesCuties Sat 08-Dec-12 20:44:34

you've hit the nail on the head, OP. We crossed posts!

It is an insecurity thing, for sure. But then we all have things we're insecure about, it's just your friend isn't being gracious about it.

Dump her if you want, but I do think a gentle but firm rebuke might be the way forward.

If any of my views upset my friends I'd like them to tell me.

NeedlesCuties Sat 08-Dec-12 20:41:15

scottish sometimes I say things about how DC is fully bf, no dummies, cloth nappies, carried in a sling...

but really these are just facts of how I do things.

Never have I uttered the term "babywearing" nor 'cloth bummed' grin

I've had people - mainly my mum and middle-aged ladies I know tell me to catch a grip and stop being such an oddball hmm

Also as interesting as the facts and studies are about formula and health issues I have never told my friends they've done the wrong thing for not parenting as I do... sometimes I might think it though...

maybe I'm a less harsh version of OP's friend. Perhaps she just has a problem with saying everything she thinks, even if it's the wrong time or place

teachertrainer80 Sat 08-Dec-12 20:34:49

Needles this is it. i know it stems from insecurity and bf etc is an achievement of sorts but what can you say? 'i know you are focusing on being an uber-mum as you failed gcses/ dropped out of uni/ have never had a proper job etc.' no, that would be mean but when you criticize others you are open to criticism yourself and one day someone will say something like this.

if you need to hit out at others to make yourself feel better, that's called bullying. bullies are insecure.

sorry for lack of caps etc. bf-ing! ha ha!

BlackSwan Sat 08-Dec-12 20:25:41

I had a friend who went on about religion in the same way. I found it difficult to shake her off as people like that love to rant, regardless of how unreceptive people are. Dump her from FB and make yourself unavailable in real life. Vote with your feet.

scottishmummy France Sat 08-Dec-12 20:12:53

refreshingly honest needles,do you know youre being preachy?how do folk react
do you use cringey phrases like cloth bummed with straight face
we can rehabilitate you on mn,to be less preachy might take time, can be done

Welovecouscous Sat 08-Dec-12 20:11:40

Yes - less judging would be so nice. I feel judged for extended bf - lots of snide comments and funny looks sad DS is not quite 17 months and I don't do it outside the home much.

I agree we should all take from this thread that judging and preaching to others is unkind.

Well, I think everyone can agree on that. There's way too much judgement about every aspect of parenting.

I think Needles is onto something too, OP, maybe your friend feels isolated by her choices. Does she know many people IRL that have similar views? Maybe she just needs a change in support network. It's tough when you don't make the same parenting choices as your friends, but being preachy won't help matters.

scottishmummy France Sat 08-Dec-12 20:03:22

well if you take anything from this thread make it that no one likes being preached to
i have met too many zealots about cloth bums,slins and feeding
its tiresome and i gravitate away from them.im not defined by being mum,or how i fed or what my baby keechs in - id advise you dont define self in those terms either

NeedlesCuties Sat 08-Dec-12 20:00:31

Umm blush she sounds a bit like me confused

It isn't actually me, OP, as I'm not on FB and never have.

I think a lot of it is an insecurity thing - don't often feel good at much, but bfing/cloth nappying etc is something I can do well.

If I were in your position OP, I'd be blunt with your friend. In the long run she'll (hopefully) thank you for it

scottishmummy France Sat 08-Dec-12 19:58:37

ive never bragged i wouldn't mince words berating pg woman for not trying bf
hcp,gp can legitimately discuss feeding mode.but ultimately respect mum choice
me yakking on mn is incomparable to berating a pg woman about choice to not bf

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