Breastfeeding Criticism: When It’s None of Their Business!

We all know that breastfeeding is natural and normal. It’s also something that everyone seems to have an opinion about. Whether it’s coming from your mother, or a complete stranger, breastfeeding criticism can be tough to endure. Why do they think it’s ok to voice their opinion? How do you handle a potentially awkward situation? Plus, are there ways to prevent that situation from happening in the first place?

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The Boob Group
“Breastfeeding Criticism: When It’s None of Their Business!”

Please be advised that this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may have altered the accuracy of the transcription.

(00:00:00)

Cassidy Freitas: While breastfeeding may be considered natural and normal, it seems that everyone has an opinion about when you should
wean, where it is acceptable and whether you should cover up. Sometimes the criticisms and comments can really bring a momma down and may cause her to not meet her personal breastfeeding goals. I’m Cassidy Freitas, Marriage and Family Therapy Intern at the University of California, San Diego. Today
we will be discussing how to deal with breastfeeding criticism. This is The Boob Group, Episode 17.

[Theme Song/Intro]

Robin Kaplan: Welcome to The Boob Group, broadcasting from the Birth Education Center, San Diego. I’m your host, Robin Kaplan. I am also a certified Lactation Consultant and owner of the San DiegoBreastfeeding Center. At The Boob Group, we are your onlinesupport group for all things related to breastfeeding. And we are not only online, but we are mobile as well. You can now take The Boob Group with you wherever you want to go. The Apps are now available at Amazon Android Market and in the iTunes Apps Store. I love that I can share my favorite episodes on Facebook, right through my App. And I feel very internet savvy. Today, I’m joined by three fabulous panelists in the studio. Ladies, would you please introduce yourselves?

Megan Weber: I’m Megan Weber. I am 26 years old, I am a billing clerk and I have two children: Madelyn, she is three years old and Kolton is four
months.

Erin Esteves: My name is Erin Esteves and I will not divulge my age. I have one child. He is nine months old and I work in international business.

Crystal Mullet: My name is Crystal Mullet, I am 27 years old. I am a Pharmacy Technician. I have two children: a three-year-old and an eight
week old.

Robin Kaplan: Well ladies, welcome to the show.

[Theme Music]
[Featured Segments: Breastfeeding Multiple Babies - Positioning Options for Breastfeeding Your Twins]

Robin Kaplan: Before we start today’s show, here’s Jonnarose Fineburg with some Tips for Breastfeeding Multiples. Jonnarose Fineburg:
Hi BoobGroup. This is Jonnarose Fineburg, Editor of http://www.breastfeedingtwins.org. I’m a mom of twins and a Board Certified Lactation Consultant in the Seattle area. Today, we are going talk about positioning options for breastfeeding your twins. In the beginning, you may find it easiest to focus on feeding one baby at a time, but once you and the babies get the hang of things, you may want tandem nurse for some or all of your feedings. Many mommas find that using the special twin nursing pillow, helps them comfortably support both babies in the football position. This is great for babies when they are younger and continue to work for many people as their babies grow, because it gives each baby their own space. For small babies, you may need to add rolled or folded receiving blankets, wash cloths or other props to help position the babies and keep yourself comfortable. As the babies get bigger, you can adjust the number of props or add some pillows behind your back or under the pillow for extra support. You can also tandem nurse while reclining. You may want to experiment breastfeeding on a recliner or leaning back on some pillows with one baby resting along each side, supported by your arms. This position is well suited for babies who are latching well and have good head control and it’s a nice way to feed babies and let mom rest a bit. Once the babies are older, you might want to experiment with more up-right positions.

Babies who are sitting on their own can straddle your leg and lean in to nurse. This position is especially nice when you are out and about because it doesn’t require any nursing pillows and props and can be easier on your back. Whatever position you choose, remember that as your babies grow, new options will be available. So please keep experimenting to figure out what works best for you. For pictures of breastfeeding positions and to read more tips and personal breastfeeding stories, please visit http://www.breastfeedingtwins.org and keep listening to The Boob Group for more Twin Tips.

[Theme Music]

Robin Kaplan: So today on The Boob Group, we are discussing how to best respond to breastfeeding criticism and how to deal with it, possibly preemptively. Our expert Cassidy Freitas is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern at UCSD as well as a breastfeeding and working mom. Cassidy, welcome to the show and thanks for joining us.

Cassidy Freitas: Thank you for having me.

Robin Kaplan: Sure. So, when we are talking about breastfeeding criticism, I know that it isn’t always overt; it could be a passive aggressive
comment that life might be easier if you just offered a bottle or that formula might help your baby sleep a little bit more soundly in the middle of the night. Or it could also be just be a rude look at a restaurant for example, if you nursing in public. So Cassidy, let’s start with the basics. Why do you think others are so
comfortable offering criticism about breastfeeding? Is it jealousy? A lack of understanding? What do you think?

Cassidy Freitas: That’s a really great question and you know I really think it depends who we are talking about, in terms of who’s offering the
advice or the criticism. You know, is it a friend, is it a family member, is it a complete stranger?, because that definitely happens as well. You know, I think that if we are talking about a friend. If there is a critical friend in your life, potentially, they didn’t have a positive experience with breastfeeding, so there’s just a....., she may unwittingly be discouraging the new mom. The truth is that breastfeeding can really be challenging at times and if she didn’t have a positive experience, there might be a little bit of jealousy there. A little bit of breastfeeding jealousy and that really speaks to how important it is for us as successful breastfeeding moms, how important it is for us to encourage our friends and to be supportive. Family members: That...., that can be a real tough one. And I think, a lot of times, there is a lack of understanding, but it’s also important to understand that just like we have this important relationship with our child, the family member also has a special relationship with that child and with us, which can kind of leave the door open for offering their you know, insights or advice because they want to be involved. So, you know, lack of understanding, just trying to be helpful, you know, some jealousy, yes, and there’s just the complete stranger who might be, you know, uncomfortable, seeing a breastfeeding mother, or who just really has an opinion and wants to share it...., so yeah, it can come for...., you know, come for a variety of reasons.

Robin Kaplan: Okay thank you. Ladies have you dealt with overt breastfeeding criticism, or has it been mostly passive aggressive?

Erin Esteves: You know, I’m sitting here and I’ve realized I haven’t experienced any negativity!

Robin Kaplan: That’s fantastic!

Erin Esteves: Whether it be in the workplace or at home and initially when I started breastfeeding, I had a lot of difficulties and it was very
challenging and I had so much support that it sometimes it was overwhelming. On my side of the family, there was really never any discussion about breastfeeding, but my husband’s side of the family, they are very open, very supportive, so yeah, I’ve been very, very lucky and the work-place has been awesome too for me.

Robin Kaplan: That’s fantastic! Crystal.

Crystal Mullet: I think mine’s mostly been passive aggressive a little bit. Like my mother-in-law, she’s really loves..., you know, love the baby which
is great, you know, but I think she’s a little jealous that she can’t feed the baby. So, she’ll always like be telling me, “Oh, just bring over some frozen milk and I’ll feed the baby today.” And I’m like, “Oh well, I’m here, so, I’m fine. Thank you.” You know, I just have to know how to just kind of brush it off and know that she means well, but I really would prefer to nurse, you know, directly, instead of giving a bottle. In public, I’ve nursed in public often and I use a cover and it’s uncomfortable, sometimes, but I’m getting better at it and I’ve nursed in a restaurant before and I..., I’m so focused on nursing, I don’t really look around to see if anyone even cares, because I’m with family usually or my husband and they...., they don’t care for the most part that I know of!

[Laughter]

Crystal Mullet: So, I don’t notice other people and no one’s ever said anything to me, so...., I think that’s....

Robin Kaplan: That’s great, that’s great! How about you Megan?

Megan Weber: For me, you know, I’ve experienced kind of both the passive aggressive and just the straight-in-your-face, for.... It was a dear friend of mine, who coincidentally enough was also nursing her baby at the time, told me that it is considered incest to be nursing your baby once they get teeth, which absolutely boggled my mind and I just .....

Robin Kaplan: Absolutely!

Megan Weber: ....smiled and moved on from that. Also, I notice, you know, in public I do try to use covers just to be respectful of other people, but, when I notice people kind of giving you “The Stink Eye”, and you know, I’m just like, “Well, you know....,” I don’t know, for sometimes, I just want to take off the cover and be like “Really, this is, this is what you want to see?!”

[Laughter]

Robin Kaplan: You know and something that I found as well. I didn’t really have overt....., I mean I pretty surround my people..., myself with people who are supportive in many ways, but I found that kind of media which is just..., it’s unbelievable. What do you find Megan? Do you find support as well online?

Megan Weber: Oh, absolutely. We just started...., or I didn’t start, but there was a Facebook group that was just recently started for breastfeeding
and you know, if I have a question, I just go and type it on there and immediately, there is you know, another mom on there, answering and helping and it’s also a great way too that there’s some moms in there who have passed milestones of how long they’ve been breastfeeding, so they can share that on there and then you just get a ton of moms congratulating them so, it’s just a great support.

Robin Kaplan: Absolutely and you know, with some of the terrific breastfeeding support networks online, definitely, the Lelechi League website,
the Facebook groups like you mentioned Megan, for breastfeeding and for baby wearing. Nevada Breastfeeds which is actually going to be on our next show. She’s leading a whole Facebook page and group dealing with breastfeeding and then Kellymom Forum and even the Leaky Boob have great places where you can post your questions and you’re going to get a whole ton of support from a lot of great mommas out there. So..., well, that’s going to wrap up
our show. Thank you so much Cassidy for your insights into ways that moms can overcome and handle breastfeeding criticism, we really appreciate it.

Cassidy Freitas: Thank you so much for having me, it was my pleasure.

[Theme Music]
[Featured Segments: Overcoming Societal Booby Traps - Why don’t hospitals provide more breastfeeding support?]

Robin Kaplan: Before we wrap things up, here’s Lara Adelo talking about ways to overcome Societal Booby Traps.

Lara Adelo: Hi Boob Group listeners. I’m Lara Adelo, a certified Lactation Educator, the Retail Marketing Manager – Best for Babes and owner of Mama Bear Designs. Today, we are here to talk about how you can achieve your personal breastfeeding goals without being undermined by cultural and institutional booby traps. Let’s look at why only one in four hospitals provide good breastfeeding support. One of the first thoughts that all parents share when they leave a hospital with their new born baby is: Are we really qualified to take care of this little being? Leaving the controlled atmosphere of the hospital can be scary especially because breastfeeding changes so much once we are home. Most moms’ milk doesn’t come in until then and night time feedings can seem
a little more scary without the extra support. Our breastfeeding journey gets off to an important start in the hospital, but the rest of the long road runs through our home and communities. That’s where on-going breastfeeding support has repeatedly been shown to increase breastfeeding success and why Post Discharge Support is one of the ten steps to successful breastfeeding. The CDC collects information about hospitals’ compliance with the 10 steps and for 2009 they reported that only 26clinics in hospitals routinely provided 3 modes of Post Discharge Supports to breastfeeding moms and while all the other measures improved from 2007 to 2009, Post Discharge Support remain unchanged since 2007. It’s been said, hospitals assume that the community will take care of breastfeeding. The community points to the hospitals and moms fall through the cracks. We all have to make it our responsibility. Make sure, you are prepared before you give birth with resources such as books, family and friends with helpful breastfeeding experiences you can share, a list of community
programs available and of course, online help. A special thank you to Tanya Lieberman, IBCLC for writing The Booby Trap Series for Best for Babes.Visit
http://www.bestforbabes.org for more great information on how to meet your personal breastfeeding goals and my business http://www.mamabeardesigns.com for breastfeeding supportive wearables, and be sure to listen to The Boob Group for fantastic conversation about breastfeeding and breastfeeding support.

[Theme Music]

Robin Kaplan: So thank you to all of our listeners. I hope you will visit our website http://www.theboobgroup.com and our Facebook page, to offer your advice on how you dealt with breastfeeding criticism. If you have any questions about today’s show or the topics we discussed, please call our Boob Group hotline at 619-866-4775 and we will answer your questions on an upcoming episode. Coming up next week, we’ll be talking with Sarah Ortega about local and online breastfeeding support. Thanks for listening to The Boob Group because mothers know breast.

[Disclaimer]
This has been a New Mommy Media Production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though such information materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical, advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problems or disease or prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified healthcare provider.

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