Irritating and judgmental breastfeeding comments can really derail a mom, and even ruin her experience nursing her baby. How can you cope with these statements without having your self esteem completely squashed? What’s the best thing to say when you feel like you’re being attacked? And is there any way to stop these comments before they even happen?
The Boob Group
Breastfeeding and Dealing with Judgmental People
Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.
ROBIN KAPLAN: As if rubbing your pregnant belly and hearing birth stories of horror aren’t bad enough, irritating and judgmental breastfeeding comments can really derail a momma in any given day. How can a breastfeeding mom cope with these judgmental comments without her self esteem being squashed. Today I’m thrilled to welcome back to our show Amber McCann, an international board certified lactation consultant with the Breastfeeding Center, Pittsburgh. Today we are discussing breastfeeding and dealing with judgmental people. This is The Boob Group Episode 91.
ROBIN KAPLAN :Welcome to the Boob Group broadcasting from the birth education center of San Diego. The boob group is your weekly online on-the –go support group for all things related to breastfeeding. I’m your host Robin Kaplan. I’m also an international board certified lactation consultant and owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center. Did you know that you can find over eighty free episodes of The Boob Group on our website?Our topics range from treating sore nipples to tips on breastfeeding in public, breastfeeding newborns, infants and toddlers.You can also find wonderfully written blog articles by our team of mommy bloggers.Don’t miss out on all of these breastfeeding resources and make sure to check out our website today. Today we are joined by three lovely panelists in the studio, ladies,will you please introduce yourselves.
RACHEL RAINBOLT: My name is Rachel Rainbolt. I am 31 years old and I am the author of this age parenting book and I have three wonderful little boys who are now eight, five and two.
COLINA COROTHERS: I’m Colina, and I worked actually in a call center. I have one son , he is eight months, and he’s here with us today, and really enjoying the view.
KRISTA LEIRMOE: I’m Krista Leirmoe, I’m 42, I’m a life coach and soon to be licensed professional clinical counselor. I’ve one son, age 7 and that’s all.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Perfect. Alright. And just quickly want to introduce MJ our fantastic producer and she’s gonna tell everyone a little bit about our virtual panelist program.
MJ FISHER: Yes! So, many of you already know of and contribute to our VP Program. So, thank you very much. You’re really helping support other mommas out there. Those of you who don’t know, our VP Program is a great way to join our online conversation when we record. If you’re not local or you just can’t be in the studio with us, but you still wanna share your story or your opinion on our topics, you can. When we reord we post on our social medias the same questions we ask our in-studio panelists. And we may read your comment while we tape. So, check out our website, the boobgroup.com under the community tab to find more info on being a VP and possible perks for participation.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Awesome , thanks MJ.
SUNNY GAULT: Hi Boob Group. This is Sunny with new media producers of the Boob Group and before we dive into today’s topic about dealing with judgemental people, I’d like to introduceyou to Amanda Chagoya. She is a marketing manager at Bebe au Lait which you probably heard it before, in fact you may used some of their products on a regular basis. So, Amanda, welcome to the Boob Group.
AMANDA CHAGOYA: Thank you so much for having me.
SUNNY GAULT: Now Amanda I know you’re a mom and I know in fact you used these products on a regular basis. So, tell us a little bit about Bebe au Lait and the company’s commitment to breastfeeding moms.
AMANDA CHAGOYA: Sure. I mean for us it all started for breastfeeding moms, like so many
products, the idea for the nursing toddler was actually born out of necessity. Our founder
Claire, she actually designed the first nursing cover for her own use. You know, she was
kind of shy about nursing in public, but shedidn’t wanna leave the room , she’d go in there
privately everytime the baby was hungry. And she was surprised to find that there are lots
of moms that felt the same way.
She got so many compliments from other moms about the cover that she was using her
husband actually persuaded her to start a business around it, you know, here we are years
later. You know we constantly hear from our customers that the original plan is to find
someplace private to nurse everytime you know, jump back to the car, or ducking to a
restroom or changing room, or even you know, they plan their day around getting home in
time to feed the baby. And over time, I think most moms find that the best, not really
practical in it. It takes a lot out the fun out of going out the baby because you’re discussing
like, “oh I need to get home in time for the baby to eat”, so we’re really excited about
offering moms an option.
There are plenty of moms who feel perfectly comfortable breastfeeding in public and that is
awesome. But there are moms like me and Claire that you know have anxieties about it and
we really are flattered and honored that we were able to put up an option for moms to get
out and go and see the world comfortably with their babies.
SUNNY GAULT: The company is known for the Hooter Hider. So tell us a little bit more
about that product and what makes it so different?
AMANDA CHAGOYA: Yes. So originally when they founded the company, the company was
called Hooter Hiders. In addition to it being the product name and then of course, in the
beginning, I admit it totally tongue in shape. You know the name got around a lot, it was
memorable, over time we rename the company Bebe au Lait. And we hold on to the Hooter
Hider name for one of our line of nursing covers.
The Bebe au Lait and Hooter Hider nursing covers really are different from other nursing
covers that are out there. Primarily because of the rigid necklines, we actually have
patented neckline technology that we call Rigiflex that holds the cover away from mom
and baby and also maintains that shape, wash after wash so moms are always able to look
down and make sure that the baby was properly latched you know and continue
interacting with the baby because eye contact is so important when nursing. So even
though they’re nursing on the go, you know having a private moment between the two of
them, they can make, maintain eye contact and thats, that really is important.
Another really cool feature of the Bebe au Lait nursing cover is that it has internal pretty
cool pockets and I personally has found that easy and helpful especially you know if you
wipe out baby after they spit out a little bit and also they’re great for storing breast pads
and pacifiers. What we’re really known for is our patterns. People love our patterns
between Bebe au Lait and Hooter Hiders, there’s actually over 25 patterns to choose from.
So, there really is something for every mom there’s even solid colors for the mom to kind
of peform more simple classic work.
SUNNY GAULT: YeahI know. Ireally do like the designs, I think they’re very sophisticated
,than a lot of the other stuff I’ve seen out there in the market.
AMANDA CHAGOYA: Thank you . I will tell our design team.
SUNNY GAULT: Now you guys just launched a brand new line of Muslin nursing covers. So tell us a little bit more about them.
AMANDA CHAGOYA: We’re super excited about the Muslin nursing covers that are
launching this February. We sell our products globally so we hear from lots of moms all
over the world, those that live in hot climates or humid climates and even some moms
whose babies just kind to be in like mini heaters, you know that added breathability even
more than our already breathable nursing covers were something that they’re really
looking for. And when think of breathability, the first fabric that comes to mind is muslin.
So itreally was a natural fit to make a muslin nursing cover. So we combine the softness and
breathability of muslin with the functionality that our nursing covershave been known for.
You knowthose rigid necklines so its super breathable, perfect for the summer. And they’re
available in our gorgeous patterns so we think moms are really gonna love it.
SUNNY GAULT: So Amanda, where can our listeners go to purchase these items we’ve been
talking about today?
AMANDA CHAGOYA: You can go to www.bebeaulait.com. All of the muslin patterns are
going to be available startingFebruary 3rd and we’ll actually gonna offer great promo code
for the boob group listeners.
SUNNY GAULT : That’s right. Amanda and everyone at Bebe au Lait is offering a 20%
discount for our listeners and that is across the entire sites. So whatever you guys wanna
buy from the website, just go to the check out and you’re gonna enter this promo code and
its TBG14 . Of course, TBG stands for The Boob Group , 14 for 2014. So, Amanda, thank
you very much for being in our show and for making these products that benefit
AMANDA CHAGOYA: Thank you. Have a good time.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Alright . Well today on The Boob Group we’re discussing breastfeeding
and dealing with judgemental people. Our expert Amber McCann is an International Board
Certified Lactation Consultant at the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh. She is also an avid
speaker and presenter on the subject of how lactation consultants can connect with
mothers through social media. So thanks for joining us Amber. Welcome back to the show.
AMBER McCANN : And I’m glad to be here.
ROBIN KAPLAN: So Amber, why do you think breastfeeding is such a magnet for
commentary, both good and bad?
AMBER McCANN: It truly is. As in, I feel like every week, somebody has done on it some
article or something I found in the news or blog post they read seems to be blasting,
perceiving or being judgemental of people breastfeeding in a certain way, any variation of
breastfeeding. If breastfeeding doesn’t look like their breastfeeding experience, often
people think and want to comment on that or at that.
And we hear so much in the, our virtual online world and in our day to day real life world
comments from people whether they be supportive, hopefully, that is the larger percentage
of what we’re hearing. But also those comments that just kind of bring at us a little bit. I
think for many people breastfeeding is kind of that first thing we do as a parent. Its the
first thing we can kind of really be successful at or really fail at. And when I use these
words, success or fail, I really mean in regards to what everybody else thinks about what
we are doing.
I hope that people can embrace their own experience, whatever it is, whatever it looks like,
whether it looks like the same experience that their neighbor down the street had or not
and you know, confident in their own journey as a breastfeeding family. But I know that we
all hear lots of comments in and out. It feels so heavy I think because its often the first
thing that we are hearing about, these comments from other people that are good or bad.
Although I have grown as a parent and my children are 12, 10 and 9, at this point, I realize
that the commentary around breastfeeding might not be so unique.
Like I hear these all sorts of comments from lots of people about the schools we choose,
next the curriculum we choose, the way we spend our time and the way we care, and the
way we guide them through different decisions in life. But I think breastfeeding is for many
people are first experienced with hearing that constant barrage of comments and so for
many of us, this becomes face to face and that determine how we’re gonna react and kind of
commit to the journey in spite of all the comments.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Absolutely. How did these judgemental statements affect the mother’s
AMBER McCANN: You know for some moms, they’re just like water off the bad tap and
they were true and they won’t let these comments impact the way they are feeding and
parenting their children and for other people they have an incredible impact. I have had
multiple mothers that I have worked with. With the comments they are receiving from a
spouse, or a family member or a friend and even just you know, they didn’t even know in
public and that weighs on them so heavily and they struggle with those comments so much,
they sacrifice either give up breastfeeding or feel like they have to hide their breastfeeding.
Whether that means breastfeeding only at home or only under a cover or they have to
modify their breastfeeding experience cause its what someone else thinks their
breastfeeding experience should be.
And that’s always hard for me as an advocate and as a clinician, but I have to say my over
all philosophy of breastfeedingI guess is what works for you and your family is what works.
And when I have these moms who are really struggling with the comments they’re
receiving, I try to empower them with some words, some phrases, some ideas of ways to
communicate to those people who are sayingthose things to them and express their own
But you know what? Sometimes these moms will just say” its not worth it to me”It would
help that as we grow as a society, as breastfeeding becomes more normal that this should
become less and less and less. But I feel like everytime I feel like every culture got a handle
on this and we have a situation where someone experiences some great tragedy while
breastfeeding and I just shake my head and say “we’re back to the bottom of the hill
again”. And so I’m always a little grievedwhen it truly gravely impact someone’s
breastfeeding experience. Because I want moms to feel like they can do this thing, that
they’re empowered to do this thing as their body was made to do.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Absolutely. Well I’d love to open this up to our panelists in the studio. So
ladies, have you dealt with judgemental comments and do you find that they typically come
from the same person or is there really no ryhme and reason to it? Rachel.
RACHEL RAINBOLT: Yes, I have definitely experienced my share of breastfeeding
harassment or judgemental comments. I have found that theres, lets say I’ve been
breastfeeding for about eight years and I really only had only one big negative experience.
So I think that you know that negative experience was really negative but, over all its been
a really positive experience and people have been pretty well supoortive.
But working with all the families that I’ve worked with, I’ve seen no ryhme or reason to the
people who the comments are coming from. I think for most people, you know, this is not
counting like facebook comments and things like that. For most face to face interactions, if
they’re not, they don’t have like really bad or negative intention, I think a lot of it just
comes from breastfeeding needing to be normalized more, and people just not being
accustomed to it , aware of it, familiar with the laws and how it works, and it just seem very
abnormal to them.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Yeah. How about you Colina?
COLINA COROTHERS: Overall, I’ve been kind of lucky, I haven’t experienced too much face
to face negativity, maybe, its just my attitude about it, of how I feed my baby. I had looks
though, I’ve had a lot of looks, like today actually here, wherein taking care of some stuff in
the office, and he started getting fussy so I started feeding him and there’s this older lady,
she just keeps on looking at me and looking at me, kind of puzzled, like “why we’re in
public, what are you doing” you know.
But, I just kind of brush it off and I think more the online spheres where I’ve seen more are
not directed towards me specifically but if I posted something or you know, supportive or
pictures or something, people will some kind of its more of how would you say, not directly
at me. But they kind of skirt around the issue but they definitely make their opinions
known but you know I just haven’t really let it bother me. But we’re still early on the game
too, I mean eight months, not a lot of people are like looking at you and why you are still
feeding the child. So when we got to that point, I’m sure we’ll be experiencing some
different you know challenges.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Yeah. Good point. How about you Kris?
KRISTA LEIRMOE: I don’t know if I’d call it judgemental but I had people that were
wondering what am I doing and why am I doing it. And particularly as I did extended
breastfeeding, why am I doing it still. So, and when I would use it, breastfeeding really is a
comfort and a contact measure, I mean we would have times where we would have really
serious injury type of things and I felt like its completely appropriate and soothing and I
was so grateful to have it.
I mean we had cases of flu, I mean crazy things and we say” wow I’m so grateful to have this at
whatever age“ and people just didn’t seem like they understood. It was more of a “ I don’t
understand this” you know, or “ I know that I did things differently and why can’t you just
do things the way I did them?” And so, like wow, you know, this is my path and what Amber
was talking about with it being your path I mean, it really was the solidifying process for
me of becoming who I want to be and as a mom with my child and it grows and changes
and breastfeeding is that entryway into that.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Absolutely. Yeah MJ.
MJ FISHER: I have a comment just on what Rachel is saying too, like I think that its the
uneducation that really kind of sparks this too, because people don’t realize that like when
my mom told me when my son was born, you know you can give him a bottle you
know. Then it got my mind thinking like whoa what if I’m you know, I’m doing something
wrong? Or you know I’m like what, you know she grew up with being one of nine and I
don’t know how my grandma if she did breastfeeding and she’s passed away now, but I
would love to have found out like what she did you know because maybe that's what my
mom grew up with is bottle-feeding. And then you know, I remember with my little
brothers, she formula fed them in the bottle. I don’t remember her breastfeeding very
much. So, like its sometimes it's just their upbringing that they just don’t get it. That they
don’t get that even though you know it's a fine comment maybe to make.
RACHEL RAINBOLT: Plant seeds of doubt and the lack of confidence.
MJ FISHER: Exactly. If somebody who, I mean I just have had my baby so you know, you’re
already talking about bottle-feeding you know and I was having troubles with low milk
supply and that was something that you just don’t talk to somebody about I don’t think you
know at that point you know, or I wasn’t asking about bottle-feeding so don’t bring it up.
But its kind one of those things where you realize that you know we are breastfeeding for
so many awesome reasons that you would actually, you would think twice about asking
certain questions you know.
And like what Amber was saying you know, with all sorts of things that you just, what
works for your family works for your family and your breastfeeding relationship may look
so different so that you’re judging them because you’re thinking that’s not the way that I do
but that’s the thing is that every baby is different, every family is different and we’re also
different and when we embrace that, oh my God that would be a whole different world you
ROBIN KAPLAN: Amber do you, do you find that a lot of it has to do with, just different
parenting styles from different generations too and just almost like well, if you’re the first
person that you know breastfed because your mom didn’t breastfeed because its almost
like a physical affront to her because well, I raise you fine, why do you have to do it
AMBER McCANN: Once again..ding ding ding ding..like you got it. I think that‘s a huge
factor and you know all of us don’t have wonderful, beautiful relationships with our
mothers or lot of us do and the reality is, when our mother was you know parenting us,
well, they were new mothers themselves, breastfeeding was not the norm. I mean like in the
initiation rate when they fool you at that point, and they do parenthood with the
knowledge and understanding that they had at that time. You know, sometimes we don’t
know but we do know better.
But I think many of our mothers and I would say even grandmothers sometimes father had
a different experience and so there really is a little bit of that personal feeling of, you know,
my daughter is not doing things the way I did and is that a judgment on the way I did
them. And is she angry at me I didn’t breastfeed her or is she judging me for not
breastfeeding her thirty years ago. You know I hear that from grandmas a lot and I also
think I have to be compassionate to their experience because you know, we all want to
care deeply for the people we love and I felt the same and mom and grandma are there too
and the new mom is having some sort of breastfeeding challenge.
Pain, no supply, I mean you name it. And that grandma wants to care for her daughter. She
wants to make the pain go away, she wants to make the experience easier, she doesn’t want
her daughter to have the trouble through and so she is cycling through the things that work
for her some thirty years ago and she’s coming up with options and solutions that don’t feel
supportive to us as the new breastfeeding moms. And I have to remember she’s working
within the framework of you know grandma is working in the framework of her
understanding. I don’t think she’s always trying to talk us out of breastfeeding although
they seldom do, but I think in general especially when we are talking about grandmas they
just simply had a different experience and so sometimes a little gentle education and
guidance and saying” you know mom I really appreciate everything you did for me and you
cared for me well and my choices that are different from yours are not a judgment on the
way you care for me.
But I sure just want to do things differently”. And when moms say these to grandmas, I
think grandma would go” Oh okay. What can I do differently?” cause I think truly for most
people I encounter that grandma really wants to support her daughter the best she can.
And so sometimes just acknowledging that things are being done a little different way and
acting that that grandma will support you in the decisions you are making even if its
different from the ones she made, gosh that can go such along way. I think the same goes for
husbands too and other partners, sometimes I see dad who from the outside looking in and
like that, you need to shorten it down you offered such options that are not helpful or
supportive here. And that he just rise up and back and go.
He’s looking at his wife or partner and he doesn’t want her to have to struggle and he wants
the baby to be okay and though he’s trying to offer options that to him makes sense to us
you know like they’re not supportive of the breastfeeding relationship. So sometimes, as a
practitioner if I can come and pull the dad aside and give him some extra knowledge or
give him a specific job or share some pieces of information with him that's gonna be
especially helpful a lot of it can still go back around and felt like challenging you know
relationship of breastfeeding turns into a really good one.
I said a while ago that some gentle education and some understanding about other people’s
experiences can go a long way. The good side of that is I hate for new moms to have to be
the ones whose understanding and communicating well in those situations. You know I
love new postpartum moms, they are what drives the work I do but they’re not always
logical thinkers or the best. I also wanna take that pressure off of them. It has to be the one
to communicate all that. So a lot of times I ask moms before that baby is ever born to
communicate clearly what to her primary support people, what her desires are, what her
hopes are, and how those people around her can best support her. Because I truly believe
in my heart of hearts that that's what they wanna do for that new mom.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Absolutely. Well, and you know and taking that from you know moving
from this kind of nuclear family, but also judging friends. What tips do you have for dealing
with friends who had maybe different experiences or just don’t understand why moms are
choosing to breastfeed and are you know, maybe judging them for going along that path.
What tips do you have?
AMBER McCANN: You know its so interesting because this new motherhood time is so
critical. And that you know we come through high school, we come through college, we
built our friends circle around people, I, you now typically my friends were really like me.
We kind of like the same things, and think about the same sort of things, and then we hit
parenthood. And the people I thought I have everything in common with, all of a sudden I
don’t necessarily have everything in common with. And I feel a lot of new moms starts to
develop new friend group, they start going to a postpartum support group, to breastfeeding
support groups, they’re building new relationships with other people, who are new moms
and that's really a beautiful thing and I, I’m really supportive of that kind of environment.
But I always hear that mom that says “ oh so and so my best friend since I was twelve, is
making fun of me because I’m still breastfeeding my baby at twelve months”’ or “ is making
fun of me because you know her kids did just fine on formula from birth”. Gosh, you just
struggle because we hold those relationships so dear don’t we, and yet we all hear the commentary, we’ll hear things and the people we’ve known a long time are a whole lot more free to say things in a wrong way than people we’ve just met. And it's challenging because in any relationship we really love. Again, I think communicating is a sole key. I think communicating that the choices I’m making are not a judgment on the way you chose to parent in your family and gentle
Education you know, if I’m gonna educate a friend, if I’m gonna say I appreciate
your thoughts on that but I’m choosing a different way and here’s why. If I can do that in a
way that's not offensive, if I can do that in a way with a little bit of humor, a little bit charm
and chic, a little bit not taking myself so seriously I think it goes a long way. But again, I’m
always trying to be so careful not to put pressure on the new mom to be the one to do that.
But again, those conversations that happen before the baby is born I think they are always
a little easier than afterward. And you know, we work with moms with a whole range of
being willing to speak their minds. And I always encourage moms to just take a step back
and say “ Okay who am I really? What is the way I would like to communicate this right
now and to feel the power and this rhythm to speak clearly what's on their heart.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Absolutely. Yeah, Rachel, you want to say something.
RACHEL RAINBOLT: I just want to say that when I look back at who in my life before I had
kids and I think of those people who were the most inspiring to me as a parent it was
always people who, you know if they were parenting in a different way and I would ask
about it or somebody else would ask about it, they were confident and they would answer
questions that really the proof is sort of in the putting of their relationship with their kids
and that's sort of the way that I tried to live now and in terms of judgment from other
people are just that I’m confident in the relationship that I have with my kids and who my
And I think as other people approach and make comments, I assume its that its from a place
of never having been exposed to the parenting choices we’re making and I just allow like
our confidence and our happiness just sort of, just be a living example of the fruits of
ROBIN KAPLAN: Yeah. Absolutely.
AMBER McCANN: And you know, building that confidence, how to build that confidence,
isn’t that the million dollar question. I wish that I could just sprinkle some magic dust on
every mom I encounter so that she will feel confident and capable in that situation. That’s
what I want for every mom.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Well, and I think also from Rachel’s perspective too and mine, I
understand as well like our kids, we have older kids too, so we’re a little bit more confident
talking about the younger stuff, especially cause we”ve believed it so. But definitely, as a
first-time mom, when people will say.
RACHEL RAINBOLT: And as a first-time mom, I piggyback on the confidence, and
happiness and joy of those other moms like him in the contact with who are inspiring to
me even if they have different parenting choices that I did just to see that the choice they
made for their family brought happiness and joy and confidence to them, sort of
ROBIN KAPLAN: Yeah.
KRISTA LEIRMOE: That’s right. And the support, getting that support.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Absolutely. Alright, when we come back we will discuss at Amber and
our panelists tips for dealing with judgemental comments when breastfeeding in public or
breastfeeding longer than maybe someone else expected. We’ll be right back.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Well, welcome back to the show we are here with Amber McCann, an
international board-certified lactation consultant at the Breastfeeding Center at Pittsburgh.
And we are talking about breastfeeding and dealing with judgemental people. So Amber
lets talk about some tips for some particular scenario. So we’ve touched a little bit about
this but, what tips do you have for when the spouse or partners for being judgemental or
unsupportive about our breastfeeding decisions.
AMBER McCANN: Communicate, communicate, communicate. We, I help out with a lovely
new mom Cathy here in Pittsburgh [inaudible]. Cathy McGrath who is just one of those
people who I get in her presence, I just wanna say here a lot cause it really makes me feel
very good. But she is a lovely childbirth educator, a supporter of moms in our community
and she always just tell communicate, communicate communicate. It's challenging because
you wanna be on the same page with your spouse. And you know, gosh I wasn’t on the
same page with my spouse this morning in regards to something with our children.
You know breastfeeding isn’t gonna be the only parenting issue that might come under fire
in this. But I think the answer is always the same, communicate, communicate,
communicate. Again, I sound like a broken record but I think having that conversation with
your spouse or partner post or before the baby is born, what you need, what you’re gonna
need from that cordage, what you’re gonna have from them. Maybe, what you gonna say is”
Honey, at that age, do not offer a pacifier.
I establish really important to me and I need to make sure that on the table before the baby
or the kid’s here.” or whatever it is that is important to you. I think saying that ahead of
time, that's really good. I am a huge fan of dads going to a prenatal breastfeeding class with
the mom. I would say in the class as I’d teach rather I don’t know what your experiences
but I probably get a spouse or a partner with half of the mom that comes to take the class.
And I think I’m doing pretty well in that rate.
I would love to see one hundred percent of the mom that take my class, bring a spouse or
partner with them because I have seen that literally their state changes from that “oh my
gosh, this woman I ‘m married to drags me to this embarrassing class where they talk
about baring boobs”, to like their reason out the door as a breastfeeding cheerleader. I tried
to always give dad some specific tips or pieces of information that in my classes their own
things that they can do to help mom, be supportive. I always say to dad “look, here is my
number, when she’s crying in the middle of the night because she doesn’t know what to do,
but she doesn’t want to bother anyone, reach out for help, here’s my number, you call.”
I try to really make dad know that they are part of this breastfeeding relationship.
Breastfeeding is not just about the mom and the baby. There are more factors and he is a
critical one. And he plays a critical role in being supportive of mom. And you know, the
evidence on this is so overwhelming that the General, even included that in grandmas, in
her point about ways we can really support breastfeeding in the country. So, dads who are
supportive of breastfeeding are critical to mom’s success. And so I think to communicate,
communicate, communicate and for dads to really reach out and get educated at our
breastfeeding for themselves are a really key point that we can happen.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Awesome. I actually, I would say, I think the rate I have my field are
higher. I think eighty percent of the woman that come too, and there's nothing there's no
better compliment than when a partner walks out of there saying that they enjoyed the
class and that they wish they could breastfeed. And I say, believe me, I wish they could too.
And so Amber what tips do you have for mom for dealing with negative comments when
she’s breastfeeding in public?
AMBER McCANN: Oh you know I always love this question. The thing about negative
comments while breastfeeding in public is often, they come from complete strangers. Now
you know I appreciate what your panelists, I mean their experiences, you know I
breastfeed three children and I have real experiences of negative interaction by
breastfeeding in public. I think you know, we hear about them in the news and they feel
really scary and when it happens, its a big deal and we need to take it seriously.
But I don’t wanna scare moms away from doing it, I don’t want to make them feel like the
moment they lift their shirts to feed their baby in public, all the flashing lights are like
come on and like the police tires are gonna hop in, I think breastfeeding in public happens
a whole lot more than people realize and I think on most days a lot of people do it and have
no negative interactions at all. So, I want people to feel, feel confident. But the reality is it
You know, there's always some story in the news about somebody being asked to leave a
restaurant or store because they’re breastfeeding. And I think its important for moms to
know their right and to know how they’re protected under the law. I love for moms to go to
this great website of breastfeeding law and legal right www.breastfeedinglaw.com and on
that website, with all the laws related to breastfeeding, the federal laws and state laws, I
love moms to go, check out what their laws are so that they’re clear. In most places, you are
legally allowed to breastfeed in public. and you’re aware that you are clearly entitled to it.
So by knowing the law and have the staunch give the mom a little power to know that she’s
not coming up against a legal issue there.
I also would like for moms to know that they’re not alone, they if they experience a
negative interaction while they’re out in public, that there are resources and people that
will help educate for them. There’s that babe nursing in public hotline where you have the
negative experience breastfeeding in public you can call the number and the volunteers
who work that line can help outline appropriate advocacy for you and your community.
That number is 855-NIPFREE. NIP as in Nursing In Public then FREE. And you can find that
number in justforbabes website as well.
Now again to come back to what I’ve said before its hard because its often complete
strangers who give comment in those situations. And depending on who you are, there’s
more power in a stranger’s comment or there’s less power on the stranger’s comment.
There are people that would say”thank you I appreciate your concern I’m going to feed my
baby”,’ and of course in some situation, it works and it doesn’t. But I want people to know
that you are allowed to breastfeed in public and I like for people to breastfeed in public
because I think it normalizes breastfeeding in our country.
I also recognize that if you’re out having a lovely dinner with your family, and a waiter or
waitress comes after you and ask you to stop feeding your baby that could really rile you.
So own this feeling, stand up for yourself. Even if you can’t stand up for yourself in that
moment, reach out for support and advocacy through justforbabes line or other
breastfeeding community around you.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Cool. Ladies in the panel, I’d love to ask you guys as well, what tips you
have that you would add to this. From how moms were dealing with the negative comment
while breastfeeding in public, Rachel.
RACHEL RAINBOLT: I would say the most sort of power of empowering and powerful
thing you can do at that moment is to take a deep breath and just simply recite the law in
the state where you live. So just, I mean its usually just one sentence like “ Oh I’m sorry you
just messed up here, we’re actually in California and I do have the right, the legally
protected right to breastfeed and anyway me and my baby are allowed to without any
condition”. You know just simply approach them from a standpoint that they’re just
unaware of the law.
ROBIN KAPLAN: That’s a good tip. How about you Kris, anything you wanna add?
KRISTA LEIRMOE: I just want to add that I think its also about the confidence that we kind
of create and exude and if people are taking that and they’re seeing our power and are
actually against that, that‘s the judgment part. It’s really not us, its really them and to even
do some out loud under your breath acknowledging that this is there's, it's very releasing.
Because it's not yours. And then you know, take the appropriate next step to own your
rights, and to retain your power because its , if you already have it.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Yeah. That’s a really good point. How about you Colina, anything you
wanna add to this?
COLINA COROTHERS: I think really just being aware of your rights, is really empowering
because before we started on our journey, I really wasn’t, but you know I hadn’t had a child
yet, so there isn’t a lot of reason to be. But I’d, once I went to, I think that was at La Leche
League meeting after I had my son and I actually handed us the little business cards with
the law written on it and sometimes you know in a situation like that, I mean I’ve been in
them, not where necessarily I was being reprimanded for breastfeeding more so they were
being proactive at me” Oh but you can’t breastfeed here.
So, just so you know”. And in a situation like that, I was really caught off-guard because I
had never had anyone tell me upfront before it even happened, don’t breastfeed here. And
so, in a situation where you’re just at a loss for words, I think its easier to just put a card in
here, hand to someone and say “ just read that please” because you know you don’t,
you’re just, I don’t know it was just really shocking for me. And so I think even having
maybe something written down like that where if you don’t feel confident enough to say it,
if you’re really caught off-guard you can just hand something to someone and it has you
know all of your rights right there for them.
ROBIN KAPLAN: That’s a great tip. You know you were mentioning too that you had this
older woman kind of looking at you while you were nursing in public. And I remember
when I used to nurse my boys in public, that I actually just kept staring at them, because I
didn’t wanna make eye contact with anybody else and so, who knows if people were
making like faces at me or anything. I really just kind of ignored everybody else in the space
and just look down at them and pay attention to them and looked at you know at my friend
if my friend was with me or whatever. And that was really helpful for me cause I get really
jarred when I feel like someone is looking at me in a disparaging way so.
MJ FISHER: One of our virtual panelist said that don’t make eye contact. Another one said
just ignore them, they don’t matter and should have no bearing on what you do with your
baby. Take a deep breath and let it go. And I mean, I did the same thing too, Robin. Just, I
was just looking at my son the whole time you know and just focusing on him and so, and
but sometimes it is hard and not you know, just look around and thinking you might be
being judged and I totally got what you’re saying Colina cause I would be shocked, I would
be you know, fight or flight . I need to, I need to say something you know so, but handing a
card and just being-hey here you go-perfect you know.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Amber what tips do you have for someone making comment that the
baby or the child is too old to breastfeed, like “ I can’t believe you’re still breastfeeding your
child”. Any tips for that?
AMBER McCANN: You know , I think that what matters the most often, you know judging
them so comments that moms report that they hear. You know, the baby is two months old
and “Oh my gosh you’re still breastfeeding your baby?What are you thinking? You should
still be innocent”,you know. I encourage the moms to know The American Academy of
Pediatrics recommendation and that is, you breastfeed your baby forone year and then as
long as its mutually beneficial.
Even the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine says” Gosh , hit one year and keep going’, you
know and other health organizations around the world, they talk about two years and
beyond. The worldwide average is significantly on that. So, we in the United States have
this funky idea about how long to breastfeed a baby. Again, our big stand on what works for
you and your family is what works. And its the personal choice of the family to decide how
long they’re gonna breastfeed their baby.
Now, if some families come up with after the baby reach a certain age, the agreement with
the child that we’ll only nurse at home or we’ll only nurse in the evening or you know they
come to a point of deciding on that and I’m really supportive of that. The good side is, I
don’t want breastfeeding activity in the closet anymore. And it feel like for so many people,
breastfeeding beyond a year is something that really have to be really hush hush and quiet
about. So often, those moms are gonna hear “ This baby is too old. Once thay can grasp
oruse your, it has gone on too long.
I want to empower families with this fact about breastfeeding. We know that the
immunology benefit of a baby , breastfeeding beyond a year continue in a really powerful
way. That we keep our baby healthy by continuing to breastfeed them, as long as we’re
gonna breastfeed them. And you know, sometimes I have mom say you know some of
them makes a comment like “ we’re gonna just continue to hold conference with you?”,you
know. And that can be helpful to people. Again its you know, its really that confidence and
saying “this is what works for my family” and thats not a comment from the fact that you
breastfeed as long as this is just what you think should do.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Yeah. Kris did you find that you, you’d mention that these were the kind
of judgmental comments that you deal with. How did you handle it?
KRISTA LEIRMOE: I took kind of interest in maybe its not unique but I actually just, it was
family members first of all, so I would talk with them openly. I felt like if they were
actually exposing their judgements to me then that was actually an open door that I can
walk through. Versus, you know how, I think you were describing just the looks and the
non-verbal thats kind of a door you can’t walk through because theres no opening you
would actually have to make the first step.
So, I walk through the door and I and we did get a lot of the well, I didn’t do this and a lot of
my saying well thats okay you know. I don’t have a problem with what you did, are you still
having a problem with what I do? And it was much it freed them and it freed me and it
freed us to have a conversation together. So I have, I’d had the pleasure of having people
like my mom, who have come around and said,” you know I really didn’t think that what
you were choosingwould work because it looks so different but I see that its working for
you. And I appreciate that you are just doing your thing.” And thats a nice way to have it
come back around which you know just get it.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Rachel how about you? Have you dealt with comments about how long
you end up breastfeeding your children?
RACHEL RAINBOLT: You know, I haven’t really from any like people who are close in my
life cause I think my first I breastfeed for a yearr, my second for almost four years and my
third is still nursing. So I think with the first child I was sort of able to prune my, my
friendship garden well, so by the time you know, I have my subsequent children, people
that move in my circle are very supportive, I really can’t talk a lot at that point. I was a lot
more confident and so when people do comments about it now, I don’t really recieve it as
judgement orrecieve it as like we’ll talk out of like curiousity, like an open door, I hear them
saying”I’ve never seen that before, what is that?”you know. And I can just sort of say you
know address their specific question with a smile and just assumed that I planted this
seed for them that can sort of leave the door open for the future.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Cool. And how about you Colina, what were you thinking about?
COLINA COROTHERS: Well obviously we haven’t had really them issues that , the age
issue. But I have already had people say you know, “Oh so you gonna go a year?Yeah a
year?Thats for a year right?” And like “Oh when you gonna stop?”. And I’m thinking, well,
we haven’t reven thought about that point yet and then even going to durationally, I mean
my fiance was like and he went to a breastfeeding classes I mean he wasall, was really
supportive about it but he was also kind of willed it out. I guess about extended
breastfeeding and past year, noting of two year olds nursing but my mom did it so you
know, she did it with all of us.
She breastfeed all of us but you know, some of us longer than others. And so I kind of, I
already have that little bit of support and its just amazing when I think that mom do it and
do it so confidently, really inspires me. So, you know when we get there I just think of the
knowledge that I have, and security and why this good choice is going to be helpful, but I
mean even my brothers, I mean I’ve three brothers and all three of them the first time saw
me breastfeeding like, “ Eww, put that away, what are you doing, oh my gosh, my sister
eww I don’t wanna see that.” And at first I’d go “okay go to the other room then, if you don’t
like and whatever”.
Now they’vegotten used to it which is amazing. Exactly. And so I ‘ms thinking, oh, I must be
doing a great service to their future wife. They won’t even have an issue. I mean one
brother, he gets excited about it now when I tell him a new information “ oh did you know
this about breastmilk “ or “did you” and he thinks its great. And he’s , he actually went to
school filled about it and I’d say he has an interest about this type of thing.
So I think just spreading you know the knowledge slowly and bit by bit, is helping but I do
know that when he gets a little older , thats another thing that left to address with them
because, I even, I posted a picture of , of a mom breastfeeding a toddler and shared it on
facebook. And the oldest of my three younger brothers goes” that kid looks old as ( another
word that I wouldn’t say)” and I said “well yeah, he’s, he’s probably a toddler and its more
common than you think” and I just left it at that. And he didn’t comment back. So he and I
have a lot myself to say.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Yes, you were gonna mention something MJ.
MJ FISHER: Sure because while you were talking about your brothers, I realize too that as I
was doing what I was doing with my family that it really spread and my husband has
become the biggest breastfeeding advocate ever. He’ll talk to anyone and everyone about
breastfeeding. And I also wanted to share because you talk about planting the seed. My son,
breastfeed until he was seven. And that sounds, it sounds even crazy long to me. But, but I
trusted what we were doing and believe it or not I actually received reasoning on why that
was important when I did some testing a year or so ago, and both of us have metabolic
My husband and myself which we passed on to my son actually doubly and I really feel
extremely strongly that everything that he was getting all that immunity is what exactly he
needed. And I was just so, so blessed to kind of get that information I think at the time
where I was really like questioning (validating) yeah, and I was questioning why, why is
this , but I must trust it, but it was so hard to do those things when you don’t have the
evidence. And then to get it was just the bonus.
Just a huge bonus.I think , I think too that people don’t realize that the nursing relationship
actually does change over time. With the, I’m really enjoying now being able to tell my
toddler “okay one second no more nurse, I’m gonna do this” and he understands that and
we haven’t like wean that we would love to but we’re getting to the point that I know “ hold
on one second when the sun comes up, you know we’ll nurse” so its not like we pop out our
boobs every five seconds you know.
Its totally different like, of course when he is upset or something happens that he hurts
himself, I have no problem with nursing him because I mean he’s fine like that right away
you know. But its a little give and take between both of us, its really been cool because I
didn’t know what it was gonna be like you know and now, just over time have kind of
adopted from other moms, other older than me or have older kids and its been nice. It is
totally a relationship, and its changed you know, now that he’s a little older.
KRISTA LEIRMOE: And to trust in that change as it progresses and expands, theres
nothing really like that to really build into your future.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Absolutely. Well Amber, jus a final word maybe, I mean a lot, I think the
conversation that went from almost judgement did the way they overcome judgement is
by finding the other women in our lives who inspire us , to keep us going and doing what
we do. So, any final thoughts on that?
AMBER McCANN: I was just thinking, isn’t it mind saving that parents tell us the truth. And
it was so cool to the way I parent, even beyond breastfeeding. Even though the challenges
now are treating anxiety and emotions, we’re still about surrounding ourselves with those
people that really build us up and not tear them and how to build those support systems.
You know, its one of my markersin my support of breastfeeding, women is, you are not
designed to do this alone.
You think back to history, those really, those first generations where we haven’t mothered
in a larger community and so often were isolated and were, and were alone and people are
missing those sort of relationships in our lives. And I think they are critical thats why I love
you know, new mom topics and breastfeeding support groups and places where people can
go, find like minded friends, really reach out, build deep relationshipsthat can continue to
go over time. So I know this will sound like practical tips on what to say to a person who’s
kind of say in your face about breastfeeding, you know its kind of relational thing, but I
think its really a core of confident motherhood is having people around you that can
ROBIN KAPLAN: Absolutely. Alright, well thank you so much Amber and to our wonderful
panelists for sharingthese amazing tips on how to deal with ngative breastfeeding
comments from judgemental people. And for our Boob Group club members our
conversation will continue after the end of the show as Amber will offer her favorite tips
for dealing with judgemental comments from complete strangers. For more information
about our Boob Group Club please visit our website www.theboobgroup.com.
ROBIN KAPLAN: So, here’s a question from one of our listeners, this is from Tracy and she
said , “ I had a periareolar breast augmentation thirteen years ago. And since then, I had
two children. I didn’t have a lot of let down for either child and stopped breastfeeding
between six weeks and two months with both. I’m pregnant again and would like to be
more successful this time around. Are there any tips or tricks you would recommend to me
. I do get some let down but not like I had before I had the surgery. I didn’t have much care
when I had the surgery and didn’t think I was gonna have any more kids back then, but
now obviously I do. Thanks a lot for any help you can give.
VERONICA TINGZON: Hi boob group listeners. My name is VeronicaTingzon, I’m a board
certified lactation consultant and owner of the original Campus for Lactation Services. And
Tracy, really the question is, what did your the breast look like prior to the surgery?
Honestly, sometimes we don’t know if its the chicken or the egg that came first. Was it the
actual quantity of the mammary tissue thats affecting your low let down or possible low
milk production? Was it the fact that you had the surgery and the other or maybe trying
Was it that your hormones really were never in sync or is it the actual incision that cut
some nerve ending that make, that you don’t feel and the baby suck also was and therefore
you’re having a very low let down reflex? And so, unfortunately you know, without
knowing what your previous history was , I can’t really tell you exactly what it is that’s
going on. However theres a couple of avenues that you can take. One, you can already start
doing slight nipple stimulation techniques with your fingers, possibly like at the last month
of your pregnancy and in Australia its very very common for women to do some hand
expression techniques and they get some glass and start filling that glass with your milk to
supplement feeding the baby once the baby is here.
So you can do some nipple stimulation and hand expression prior to your delivery. The
other thing is that what I typically do with some moms who had breast implants is that
once the baby is here, even if the baby is full time breastfeeding, I’ll get the mother a pump
from the first moment so it always requires that you get a pump in your room from the
time you deliver. So you breastfeed the baby and afterwards pump from your breast ten to
fifteen minutes afterwards. Yes, this is exhausting , I mean first one to three weeks of life,
you might wanna look into doing breastfeed- pump, breastfeed-pump, breastfeed-pump.
That way you are ensuring that you are building a good milk supply and that your milk let
down will then kind of follow suit. The more that you have, the better let down you should
experience. And sometimes its not even the breast themselves that don’t build the milk
supply, sometimes its the baby ‘s poor suckle that maybe needs some kind of help. And the
third thing that I’m gonna suggest is you know, start off on running with supplementing of
the breasts. If the baby will be getting more food from the breast, a little bit more liquid
food and the baby’s gonna do that by suckling.
The baby does better suckling, you’re going to get a better stimulation. Once again, the
more supply you have, the better the let down will be. And lastly you can always try using
some herbal lactogogues like Fenugreek or Blessed Thistle or even something called Goat’s
Rue which is kind of hard to get your hands on but if it is a hormonal reason why you are
not getting a good let down, then perhaps that can help put your balance or your hormones
in balance in which you can get a better development of the milk supply. Theres some
great products out there that have a cocktail of those herbs already concocted so that you
can get the maximum of that from the herbs and theres also the medicinal lactogogues like
Domperidoneor Regulin that can perhaps also help you.
So Tracy I hope that this helps in giving the answers or getting it for you. If you try all of
those things conversing that your aversion can be dealt with, a lactation consultant might
really suggest it. Anyway theres a lactation consultant that can help follow you even after
your discharge from the hospital and maybe if she does know your entire health history
maybe she can start putting those pieces together for you.
ROBIN KAPLAN: This wraps up our show for today, we appreciate you listening to the
boob group, don’t forget to check out our sister show The Preggy Pals for expecting
parents, our show Parent Savers for moms and dads with newborns, infants and toddlers
and Twin Talks, our show for parents of twins. Thanks for listening to The Boob Group,
your judgement for breastfeeding resource.
This has been a New Mommy Media production. 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 information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to
replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for
diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you
have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your
baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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