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Should I email my friends re breastfeeding?

(42 Posts)
DitaVonCheese Tue 01-Sep-09 10:40:05

I was out for dinner a couple of months ago with two childless friends who we don't see very often any more (we moved 200 miles away while I was heavily pregnant). DD was about nine months at the time and they suddenly asked how long I was intending to go on breastfeeding for. It quickly became apparent that they thought that feeding as long as we had was a bit hippyish and eccentric (I am generally considered to be a bit hippyish and eccentric, so they obviously thought this was yet another manifestation of my strange ways). One of them told me that it wasn't really necessary now she was on solids (BLW and doesn't eat much!). I was so taken aback that I couldn't really give them any decent answers, not helped by DH chipping in with his views on extended bfing hmm

Since then I've spent several weeks furiously arguing with them in my head and composing angry (hypothetical) emails, the way you do when you couldn't think of a response at the time. I've come to realise though that they are coming from a position of ignorance, not because they are anti-bf per se. I remember being genuinely amazed to read that bfing is recommended up to two years (and beyond) as I had absolutely no idea it would still be beneficial at that age. I do therefore think that they might be more supportive if they knew a few more of the facts. I was thinking of emailing them something like this, which seems relatively clear and concise.

Any thoughts? I have seen one of them since (and am due to see her again in a few weeks) but it didn't come up again, although now I tense up in case I suddenly get challenged again!

Schrodinger Tue 01-Sep-09 10:42:28

before I had children I asked a close friend if she was still BFing when we were out for a drink (she wasn't drinking at the time).

I had NO idea that this would ever cause offense. They probably don't realise how upset it made you. Might be worth mentioning it to them, rather than making it all official and putting it in an email, as it were.

DitaVonCheese Tue 01-Sep-09 10:47:23

Cheers. It was a bit more combatative than whether I was still doing it (DD was there so they knew that), it was more of a demand to know when I was going to stop (friend who asked can be rather um argumentative). There were four of them against me and it was very upsetting - I naively thought I wouldn't get any of this before 12 months, and not from close friends DH has since been give strict orders to bloody well back me up, regardless of his views on feeding four yos!

LadyStealthPolarBear Tue 01-Sep-09 10:48:14

TBH whatever you email them in the way of articles etc, they won't read it, and might think it a bit odd. I assume they don't have DCs and no plans? In that case I agree that they probably have no idea about bf and the issues round it. Just prepare a comment for the next time it's mentioned and forget it - easier said than done I know!
And this is exaclty why those stupid "still breastfeeding my 10yo" freak show type programmes should be banned! Have nothing against them if they're informative but they never are.

masonicpixiesreadthedailymail Tue 01-Sep-09 10:48:32

I wouldn't bother tbh. Its not like you need to see them much. The moment has passed really to respond to their ignorance - it is infuriating when you don't get to say what you so wished you could have.. but you know you are doing the right thing for you and yr dc so their opinions are irrelevent. And completely based on bugger all experience. Maybe they might feel a tad differently if / when they have kids

fwiw a friend of mine put a massive anti bf rant on text after having her newborn (she abs did not want to bf and was loathed to hear other mothers baby's crying cos they were being bf and were obv hungry) I so wanted to text her back and tell her how wrong she was but then reminded myself she was frazzled, hormonal, has loads and loads of other stuff going on and really its none of my business how she feeds her dc or what she thinks of bf. So I ignored it

LadyStealthPolarBear Tue 01-Sep-09 10:49:03

ooh just x posted with you. That's nasty - demand to know when you're going to stop. Not sure what to suggest, sorry.

louii Tue 01-Sep-09 10:49:42

I dont think they would really care, they don't have kids and i don't think its up to you to be educating them.

I was one of the first in my group to have kids and they all used to come out with daft statements and questions.

Quite funny now they all have kids and have all breastfed etc.

Sending an "educational" e-mail is not a good plan. Your friends have more than likely forgotten about the conversation anyway and would def think you were a mad eccentric hippy if they received said e-mail.

LadyStealthPolarBear Tue 01-Sep-09 10:50:41

yes, agree they'll think you're mad / neurotic if they get an email.
Can you engineer a situation next time you see the 'friend'?

MrsBadger Tue 01-Sep-09 10:52:30


you have been arguing with them in your head for six weeks, meanwhile they have forgotten all about it and will only think you are madder if you send an email rant

tiktok Tue 01-Sep-09 10:53:40

Dita - I'm not often this directive but leave it ! Raising the topic again will make them i) think you are slightly obsessed ii) think you are ridiculously sensitive iii)feel mortified they have upset you unwittingly.

None of this will support your friendship with them and if you value them as friends, you won't want this, surely.

They obviously don't know the issues, as you say, and they may not be all that interested in them, especially as they are childless.

If it comes up again, then of course you can offer to send them the link...but you cant do it now, two months after the dinner discussion (which they may well have almost forgotten about!).

Just continuing to bf happily and relaxedly will be a good 'education' for them, anyway, and if they do have kids in the future, they will be more influenced by this than anything else, IMO.

potplant Tue 01-Sep-09 10:57:01

Just let it go, you will seem a bit odd if you send that email.

Practice some withering patronising 'what do you know about babies' looks for the next time you're out.

warthog Tue 01-Sep-09 10:57:13

no, don't do it. they don't have kids. if / when they do suddenly they'll be wanting to bf until they're 21. they won't even remember your conversation. chalk it down to ignorance on their part.

DitaVonCheese Tue 01-Sep-09 11:04:44

Lol - that's fairly unanimous!

FWIW, as I hate the phone and do all my communicating via email, they probably wouldn't find it all that odd if I emailed them.

Stealth they are both extremely broody. It will be interesting to see if/how their views change when they do have DC.

I don't see them often but next time I see one of them (though luckily the nicer, less argumentative one) it will be at DD's birthday party, along with a woman who finds bf weird and freaky (one DS, ffed), two friends of DH's who are the only people to make me feel uncomfortable bfing in front of them (their looks of horror as she latched on!), and my mum (thinks we should be winding down now). Egads.

Stereophonic Tue 01-Sep-09 11:07:15

Agree with the above posters. Before I had children I didn't think much about bfing, other than that I would try it, but that "extended" bfing was a bit odd. Had I known about the nutritional benefits to toddlers I wouldn't have thought it odd, and I am now still bfing a 16 mth old with no immediate plans to stop! If they mention it again I would definitely mention the benefits though.

LadyStealthPolarBear Tue 01-Sep-09 11:08:59

oh no!
Invite a load of MNers as well - I'll come and feed my 2yo if you like! That should make the point fairly clearly!
I do remember going to an NCT group when heavily pregnant, already wanted to bf and seeing someone there feeding an 8 month old, and I was shocked! Not in a bad way, just never occurred to me you could feed that long grin. Anyway, she was the one who showed me in detail how to latch a baby on. So I suppose what I'm saying is if they're broody they will get more exposed to it - whether they choose to bf or ff.

DitaVonCheese Tue 01-Sep-09 11:13:51

Stereo that's kind of the thing - they just really haven't thought about it, so are operating from a kneejerk position of it being a bit weird/unnecessary. I just want to redress the balance a little.

Stealth perhaps I should have a feed-in wink There will be a lady there who fed her DD until she was 3 I think, so at least I'll have someone on my side should it all kick off!

LadyStealthPolarBear Tue 01-Sep-09 11:15:09

Make her a nice eye catching badge

LadyStealthPolarBear Tue 01-Sep-09 11:16:08

cos of course that wouldn't be weird wink

oneopinionatedmother Tue 01-Sep-09 11:18:45

i don't quite agree with the other posters but then it really depends on the kind of relationship you have with these ladies -
there are some people (work colleagues) I wouldn't bother evangelising to. My friends on the other hand, quite often espouse an interest in something (surfers against sewage, amnesty international etc) and email friends to raise interest - i did the same for breastfeeding because i realised 1) I knew bugger all about BF until after DD was born (and i suspect they'd be in the same position) 2) it was cropping up in the news in a negative light quite a bit

Ultimately i didn't want them to give birth to children unknowing of the benefts of BF, or indeed, of the knowledge involved to get it started. Closer to the time it would be harder to say (i mean, if someone says 'i'm going to bottle feed' it's harder at that point to say how marvellous BF is, isn't it?)

and especialy as they did challenge you on it (but then childless people tend to be totally unaware of the sensitivity about the subject, and certainly i was.)

edam Tue 01-Sep-09 11:20:05

Just have your approach all prepared next time you meet your friends. 'Don't you know the World Health Organisation recommends b/f for two years*' and whatever - in a tone that suggests you can't believe someone as intelligent as them has missed this basic information.

* Or whatever the recommendation is, am past that stage myself.

Horton Tue 01-Sep-09 11:41:06

I remember years ago having a good old bitch with a friend of mine about how weird a mutual friend was for still breastfeeding her baby when he was a year old! Obviously I had no children at the time, now feel very very embarrassed that I was stupid enough to ever even think that and am heartily ashamed of my judginess. And when I did have a baby a few years later, I breastfed for far longer than a year. I'm just sorry I didn't know more about breastfeeding at the time or I wouldn't have been so stupid.

DitaVonCheese Tue 01-Sep-09 11:54:11

Horton I am exactly the same: I am so ashamed now of everything I ever said about extended/NT bfers blush - not only because I was judgy, but also because I reinforced to the other people I discussed it with (my mum and one of these friends - ha! that's come back to bite me!) that it was freaky and wrong. That was talking about feeding 3-4 yos though, not a 9 mo!

Thanks all. I will leave it for now, but if they ever mention it again then they may get a bit of a pent-up diatribe coming their way wink

LadyStealthPolarBear Tue 01-Sep-09 11:56:17

Well I'm sure bf isn't the only thing that you tend to feel passionately about when you're doing it or get involved, but when you have no experience it's either dull or seems odd. For example I've never understood Morris Dancers

DitaVonCheese Tue 01-Sep-09 12:13:19


dorisbonkers Tue 01-Sep-09 12:24:43

I'll only add that since my daughter was born I have been obsessed with breastfeeding. Pretty much for the first 6 months its all I did, read about, worry about, freak out about, talk about with DH, think about at night. All in a cycle of increasing intensity! Ok, I make it sound bad but just wanted to to say it's completely understandable to get so passionate and het up about something you have to do 12 hours out of 24 (or in my case 18 hours out of 24!)

Any comment -- even my benign mother's 'Oh, you're still breastfeeding her?' -- to more insidious messages from MIL: "Oh, mummy will have to wean you now" -- get the full obsessive treatment.

The problem is, although you want to 'get in there' before they have babies, they cannot possibly understand how it feels to breastfeed or do commit to something so total in its physicality.

It will hit them if and when they choose to do it. And their personal circumstances will dictate how it affects them. With me I had the freedom of 1 year's maternity and a supportive husband. But I have a small and early baby. That's what totally did my head in. It will be different for them.

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