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Dealing with negative attitudes to breastfeeding

(22 Posts)
lucyrebeccasumner Thu 25-Jun-15 15:31:03

I am going to be giving birth in the near future and I am having concerns about breast feeding. Undoubtedly this is the healthiest thing to give my child and I would like to give it my best shot.

The majority of my friends and family are very supportive but I have been told by one close friend in particular not to be "one of those people" who breast feeds their child in public and that I should express milk to feed my baby when I am on the move. I don't like the idea of constantly having to justify why I'm not using a bottle, maybe the baby won't take to a bottle, maybe there just wasn't enough time to pre-prepare breast milk or maybe I just want to be able to feed my child in the way that I choose to do so without being judged by other people.

I'm aware of the equality act and my rights to feed my child in public but breast feeding is something completely new to me, and something that I feel a bit nervous about anyway without the added pressure of negative comments. Does anybody have any advice about how to handle people with these kind of attitudes?

PotteringAlong Thu 25-Jun-15 15:34:25

Honestly I think you've been really unlucky becUse I've never had any negative comments. Most people are really discreet when feeding and you can see nothing. Just ignore her! Do you have a local breastfeeding cafe? They can be great places for building confidence.

Keep in mind that while those people are entitled to their opinions, you are entitled to yours, and they are not entitled to prevent you from feeding your child the way you want. You have the law, and the advice of the WHO, on your side.

You can choose not to associate with these people. At this vulnerable time, you need all the support you can get. Such people are not beneficial to you.

If all else fails, tell them politely, or not, to FOTTFSOFTFOSM.

Heels99 Thu 25-Jun-15 15:35:39

It's one friend. Presumably you won't be with her that much so won't need to constantly justify yourself. When you have a baby you, get all,sorts of people giving you unwanted advice. Do what you want to, Don't let a molehill become a mountain!

JRWREN2110 Thu 25-Jun-15 15:45:22

Hi, I also had these concerns when I decided to breastfeed, I am the kind of person who cares waaay too much what people think too. There are places you can go to feed your baby in public when in the town centre etc and look them up in your area...mostly cafes or mothercare etc. There are breastfeeding tops and dresses you can wear so that you aren't 'on show' and you can use a scarf if you like. Other than that you should just know you are doing the best for your baby and you shouldn't have to use bottles or express if you don't want to, it takes a long time and you have enough on your hands with a newborn infant. If people don't like it then they can go somewhere else. Maybe just talk to the person with the concern and say it is your choice and you don't want to be made to feel like 'one of those mums' (whatever that means) when you feel you are doing the best for your child and being respectful as you can to the general public (god forbid they see a nipple). I would just pre-warn when you do need to feed so that your friend can leave if they want to, some people are just uncomfortable with boobs and there is no changing their mind, just do what you gotta do! Good luck!

thewholedamntown Thu 25-Jun-15 15:47:06

I get where you're coming from, even though it's just one person the comments really stick. I had massive anxiety breastfeeding in public when my DD was a newborn. Just couldn't do it. I made sure I went to a breastfeeding cafe in the early weeks to get used to doing it in sort of public, seeing other mums there really built my confidence. I also found going for coffee in places I knew where other mums really helped as well.
It doesn't matter if you do express and bottle feed stick to what your comfortable with. My little girls 8 months now and it doesn't even cross my mind if I do need to feed her in public now, even though it's not much anymore.

Racheyg Thu 25-Jun-15 16:02:09

Hi op,

With my 1st I didn't bf in public just expressed. Expressing is so time consuming and sometime you don't get much milk (this isn't a reflection on ur supply).

With ds2 I have no problems feeding in public. Go to a bf cafe and get comfortable with feeding, maybe go before ur lo is born to pick up some tips.

The best thing I have brought are feeding best tops from H&m 2 for 15 quid. I then layer with a top over the top and leave it on my shoulders means hardly and skin is on show.

Good luck with everything

jimijack Thu 25-Jun-15 16:11:22

I'm a bit different in that I couldn't give a flying fuck what people think or say.

I'm ard me wink

I have also got very good at feeding without folk even realising that I am feeding.

Don't get me wrong, I have had plenty of negative comments from people who really surprised me, but still, I am not swayed from doing what I want to do.
I kinda snigger at them.

Still bf my 2 1/2 year old and will continue to do so for as long as we want to.

You gotta grow a bit of a hard shell, EVERYBODY has an opinion and will insist on telling you what that opinion is.

Milkyway1304 Thu 25-Jun-15 16:16:54

I got lots of comments from my mother before my DD was born about feeding in public. However when DD was born she realised that if I didn't feed out and about, I would never leave the house so she kept quiet! Still breastfeeding here at 14months, and to be honest I just let any comments slide.

HipsterBeard Thu 25-Jun-15 16:23:53

All my negative comments were from the opposite perspective. I couldn't bf and - though I've had people express disbelief on here on similar threads - I had a run of offhandedly nasty comments from strangers about my laziness and the 'puffy, unhealthy look' of ff babies, and also less stridently negative but intrusive questions about why I wasn't bf my baby. From total strangers in cafes and parks.

Your "close friend' sounds pig-ignorant, though, OP.

squizita Thu 25-Jun-15 17:01:59

Your friend sounds like the exception not the norm. Perhaps they are projecting a problem they had (too scared to feed, or a man leered at them, or they wanted to bf but couldn't and it makes them feel down). Or maybe they're ignorant.

But the key thing is, most people don't give a damn or even notice. Before I had my baby I wondered if it was unusual to bf round my way as I never saw anyone ... correction never NOTICED anyone! Now I can see some are shy and feed with a cover or sling, others just use a shirt or are quick and matter of fact.
Everyone else is too wrap up in their iPhone or chat to notice or care.
I carry a cover but now rarely use it.

Andcake Thu 25-Jun-15 17:04:15

I found no negative attitudes to breast feeding - actually when I fed with expressed milk from a bottle out i got more dirty looks and a sly comment I over heard from one mum to another who didn't know it was expressed milk 'that they could never feed their baby that muck'

lucyrebeccasumner Thu 25-Jun-15 19:02:28

Thank-you so much for all the supportive comments from the other Mummies out there, it's really encouraging to know that the negativity is not commonplace. I think I might try the breastfeeding cafes and tailored feeding clothes to build my confidence up a bit to start with!

I'm sorry to hear about people who have had negative comments about bottle feeding too, that's also uncalled for. x

Raveismyera Fri 26-Jun-15 03:05:11

Please don't express for at least the first few months. It will seriously threaten your chances if bf success.

I always use a breastfeeding cover in public it makes me far more relaxed. Mamas and papas do good ones.

I'm the same as you no family and few friends who bf. But I have been pleasantly surprised that they have all been supportive, even my parents who think it's disgusting. However I have had a lot of questioning from my mil about whether she's getting enough milk which is annoying as I've explained about a billion times and she Doesn't listen. Still, she is pretty supportive.

purplemurple1 Fri 26-Jun-15 03:55:27

I had a lot of strangers ask why I was ff and some nasty comments about it. (I'm not in the UK.)
At first I'd explain the reasons - kids both hospitalised at birth with jaundice and low weight, hospital preme pumps didn't work for me and I've a hormone imbalance so would always have needed to mix feed. Which I tried for a while.

But after a while (and always with dc2) I've just said how nice it is all mums have the choice without being judged.

Its a bit PA but stops any more questions and works both ways.

squizita Fri 26-Jun-15 07:58:36

Rave pumping itself does no harm to bf success. Indeed in the USA loads of women pump and freeze to return to work and end up with over supply.
Not establishing in the first few weeks with skin to skin might cause issues. Not months.

One of the most terrifying things I remember was the phrase "undermining breastfeeding" and the idea if I did something wrong I would "fail". It's extremely unhelpful and does not reflect the experience of most women ... Most of whom will have pumped at least once by 2 months in and it's fine.

Raveismyera Fri 26-Jun-15 08:09:14

It depends- of course people are different and many people successfully express early on. However many woman start pumping instead of feeding rather than in addition to which can affect supply as baby is more efficient at getting milk out than expressing methods. I certainly wouldn't attempt before 6 weeks and anecdotally everyone I know who has it's been the end of their BF journey. BF happens to be in hospital now 2 weeks PP with mastitis caused in part by expressing rather than feeding. It's her 4th and she's always started pumping early as she believes she doesn't have much milk. She's never got past 3 weeks with any of hers. The amount of misinformation which ends women's breastfeeding careers is scary.

Raveismyera Fri 26-Jun-15 08:25:54

(Sorry that's bet friend is in hospital now)

Raveismyera Fri 26-Jun-15 08:26:03


squizita Fri 26-Jun-15 09:17:17

That's interesting as I have a large network of breastfeeding mums (I volunteer with the NCT helping out at mum and baby groups) and in my experience the vast majority pump for when they are away from baby. I've rarely heard of pumping to raise supply here in the uk. Likewise I've also not heard of pumping before 6 weeks doing any harm to bf - indeed I've sat in on sessions where pumping and freezing is discussed in a "how to" manner. The vast majority of these women bf to 6 months.

There is a known risk with nipple confusion (though this is controversial - some cultures appear not to have it) but not pumping.

It might be a geographical thing, how pumping is "used".
But the key thing here is although the OP is asking about pumping she doesn't want to boost supply. In her case even if she did pump (which is a massive hassle and not required at all) she would fall into the 'pumping for convenience' set. It would not replace night feeds and would not affect supply.

squizita Fri 26-Jun-15 09:20:16

Do you mean exclusively pumping?

To clarify I'm talking about women who pump once a day/2 days so dh can give a bottle while they have a bath or because they don't want to get their boob out in church or whatever. Or they want to freeze and save so they can go on a night out.

Stinkersmum Fri 26-Jun-15 09:21:48

I'm due dc1 in October. If very much like to breastfeed. But the only person I've discussed it with is dh. Why do people want/chose to discuss these options with anybody else? I don't understand. If you don't like her opinion on bfing in public, don't discuss with her, end of.

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