This post is part of the Breast-Kept Secrets: Breastfeeding Advice from One Mom to Another series. Go back and read all posts here.
This post was originally published August 28, 2011.
The first breastfeeding challenge I ever faced was opposition. Some of my family didn’t understand why I wanted to breastfeed. Most everyone else in the family had formula fed their babies for years.
Why would I choose a different path?
Even at my first baby shower, a well-meaning family member told me: “You can never breastfeed. Your breasts are too small.”
Another aunt chimed in: “What are you going to do? You know nothing about babies.”
Well…the latter was probably right. But what mom-to-be does know a lot about raising children? It’s something most of us learn as we go.
Here are 5 things I’ve learned about how to handle opposition to breastfeeding:
1. Know WHY you want to breastfeed and be determined that no one will sway you with discouragement.
Remember your goals. If you are determined to stay the course despite opposition, you will be more likely to succeed.
2. Surround yourself with breastfeeding friends.
You will need the support. This could be in-person or online friends–wherever you can find each other!
3. Arm yourself with knowledge about the benefits of breastfeeding
…but be careful how you share them. When a family member questioned our reasoning for breastfeeding, my husband sent them an e-mail with a link to KellyMom.com. Well, this family member forwarded the e-mail to another family member who was currently formula feeding. The formula-feeding mom was sorely offended.
Be careful how and with whom you share. Relationships are more important than proving a point!
3. Respect their choices as well.
You may know breast is best for your family, but don’t preach at others who are formula feeding. I am a huge breastfeeding advocate, but we need not judge when others don’t take our same path.
We never know why another mom may not breastfeed.
4. Educate but don’t harass.
5. Take a break from the conversation or situation.
Remember: This is YOUR baby and YOUR life.
Only you can decide how to feed your child.
What do you think is the best way to handle opposition to breastfeeding?
Bottom image by Mothering Touch via Flickr Creative Commons