Monday, May 19, 2008

Breastfeeding Nazis Take a Chill Pill

Here's a question for you.

Why do people feel it's appropriate and/or necessary to ask you if you're going to breastfeed?

What business is it of theirs?

I would like to say, "It's none of your business, and while we're discussing things that are none of your business, I'm not telling you what form of birth control I'll be resorting to either."

Any suggestions as to how to handle those types of people? As much as I amuse myself with scenarios involving smart aleck comebacks, I know I won't really use them in real life. I need something non-rude. I welcome your ideas.

I happen to have a decent list of legitimate reasons not to try breastfeeding this time around. They are deeply personal and involve more than just the fact that I've not had success in the past. Breastfeeding Nazis don't understand that unfortunately. They assume you're selfish or not educated as to how important breastfeeding is to your child.

Tonight I've been visiting various websites where women are discussing the issue of not breastfeeding their children. One of the most popular questions is, "How do I deal with the guilt of choosing not to breastfeed my child?" It didn't matter if the woman had given background on her problems with it or not, there would still be BF Nazis popping up everywhere saying, "Why WOULDN'T you want to breastfeed your baby when it's the most natural thing in the world?"

Okay, Nazi...NOT the issue at hand! She's asking how to deal with the guilt...not asking you to lay more guilt on her.

Even the breastfeeding moms who were saying, "Don't feel guilty" had to add, "Not that I use formula because I had no problems breastfeeding." It's like a freakin' brag badge! "MY MILK GLANDS WORK EFFORTLESSLY! IN YOUR FACE!"

It's so insensitive. The women who are the type to feel guilty are usually feeling that because they're good moms who wish their circumstances were different. Don't all good moms wish they had milk fountains that gushed forth an abundance of immune system building, life sustaining, creamy goodness??? I have seriously heard of women who brag about the quality of their milk. What the heck? Pat yourself on the back, lady!

Luckily I am surrounded by supportive family and friends who don't act that way at all. The moms I know who have had success are very humble about it and view it as a blessing because they realize that's not the case for every mom no matter how badly she would like for it to work.

The main people I'm dreading dealing with are the nurses at the hospital and some of my in-laws. I'm already considering asking the nurse to note in my chart BEFORE I have my c-section that I am not breastfeeding, don't want to speak to a lactation consultant, and not to question me about it. As far as in-laws go...I have a step MIL that is all up in my biz anyway about how I raise my children. She felt comfortable in stating her opinion with my third child that I really should try to stick with it because formula is so expensive.

That's ANOTHER thing the BF Nazis kept bringing up on the discussion pages...why formula feed when breastfeeding is free? Can you say...STILL NOT GETTING IT!!!!!??? Like some poor woman is going to suddenly see the light and say, "WHAT? Formula costs money!?! Well, forget that! I'm not spending another DIME on this kid! I'm breastfeeding! Thanks for clearing that up for me!"

But back to my step MIL, I'd like to have some kind way to shut her up. I know (unless she's now reading this blog for some reason) she'll question me in this area. Currently all I've got in the way of dealing with her is a Three Stooges-type double eye poke. My FIL will sit by and quietly judge me and then bring up later that my children's teeth would be better if they had been breastfed instead of bottle fed.

So that's my beef tonight. I need advice about how to deal with these people, and I also don't have the first idea of what a woman goes through who chooses not to breastfeed from day one. I'll be talking with my doc about it, but as of today I'm reading the drugs aren't good that stop milk supply because they can cause such a hormonal shift that you end up dealing with depression. From what I've read, you just have to deal with the pain until it passes. Sound true? Anyone been through it? If you want to share your wisdom with me in a private forum, contact me at



  • Amen, sista! Read this blog for more agreement:

    I struggled with breastfeeding for 6 months, because I thought that's what I was "supposed" to do. My hefty baby dwindled into such a string bean, she was actually diagnosed with "failure to thrive" at one point! The minute we started formula, she filled out and hasn't looked back. And I felt more like myself again.

    By Blogger Erin, at Mon May 19, 06:43:00 AM  

  • I didn't breastfeed either kid. I tried with my first until I got home from the hospital and then I cried and whined because HE WASN'T GETTING IT AND WHAT IF HE STARVES and immediately switched to formula. The milk dried up in about a week. It wasn't that painful at all really. I didn't even try with my second and same with the milk drying up. It wasn't nearly as bad as I expected.

    And to your MIL I would say this: Oh, I would love to breastfeed, but Ironman just doesn't like to share my breasts. HA. ;) Okay, no I wouldn't. I would probably just get angry and ignore her. Because thats what I do.

    By Blogger Karly, at Mon May 19, 08:52:00 AM  

  • I breastfed, my sister was unable to... and this is what I tell the BF Nazis (love the term btw)... "some women and babies are better off bonding over a positive pleasant experience" (then let them wonder about the details), just because one experience works for one mom, doesn't mean it is the ONLY way! My niece and nephews are beautiful smart healthy successful young adults now -- drinking formula didn't leave any lasting scars! (I'm not bragging, just giving you ammo... oldest graduated with a double bachelor in three years from a very prestigious university, with honors -- second oldest, dancing on all sorts of shows and music videos and with really famous awesome peeps on tour and in Vegas -- third oldest, successful print model and going to a prestigious university) -- my three kids, also successful and healthy -- early diet differences aside... must be the bonding and love and not the diet eh?

    By Blogger momumo, at Mon May 19, 09:03:00 AM  

  • Get me, a MAN posting on breast feeding!

    Whooo! Boooobies!


    When we had our first, Jo tried her *damnest* to get Jaysen to chew her nipples off because the nurses and the midwives all pretty much DEMANDED it. We're talking full-on guilt-trip-central-you're-going-to-make-your-son-ill-if-you-don't.

    It was awful, he was always hungry, chewed her nips till they were bleeding and cracked, and hardly got any milk out. We resorted to everything to get milk out them thar udders, but it wasn't happening, even with expressing and suchlike.

    When our second was born, she was hooked up to all sorts of machines and what-not, and Jo decided to give her the best she could, and was expressing. On the down side, she was only getting out an ounce or two at a time. On the up side though, Bethy was poorly, and not allowed much more than that anyway, so result.

    Number three and we decided it just wasn't worth the hassle stress and crap, and decided to go straight to bottle and ignore the flack from the Breastfeeding Nazis. Nurses and Midwives tried it again, but I told them that unless they were going to pop out their mammaries, then it wasn't going to happen. But if they did, could I watch.

    Never went down very well really. But, it diverted the conversation pretty fast ;)

    You do what you want, stuff the world. And if a man gives you a hard time about it, just ask if he is only trying to get a free look at your boobs. That'll divert it ;)

    Good luck :D

    By Blogger Dan, at Mon May 19, 01:45:00 PM  

  • Dennis just says "I don't feel comfortable probing into other people's personal lives and you don't look comfortable doing it either!" let them untangled that in their minds as you carry on with what you were doing.

    By Blogger dennis, at Mon May 19, 02:01:00 PM  

  • PS

    Dennis never put the bitey on his mother. FYI.

    By Blogger dennis, at Mon May 19, 02:02:00 PM  

  • You could say : when you have 3 kids in 3 years, then come back and quiz me about this BS.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon May 19, 02:04:00 PM  

  • Chick post, awk...........!!!!

    By Blogger Merle Sneed, at Mon May 19, 05:31:00 PM  

  • As always, well said. I would feel free to lay a guilt trip on your MIL if she lays into you...A low quiet voice; use her name repeatedly; and shame her. It should shut her up quickly ;) And that's a great idea about having a note made in your chart at the hospital. Do it!

    By Blogger RowdyGirls, at Mon May 19, 10:06:00 PM  

  • How about, "I appreciate your concern, but we've decided bottlefeed for a very personal reason that I'd rather not go into."

    This post kind of surprises me. I breastfed both mine and was made to feel like the village weirdo by a lot of people. Maybe not so much at first, but after a few months a lot of people were wanting to know when I was going to wean. Why won't I just let them have some formula to give myself a break? Then there were the suggestions that maybe they wouldn't be so fussy or clingy if I put them on the bottle. Anything that wasn't perfect was because I was breastfeeding according to someone. I was told I was spoiling them. One person told me I was no fun since I wouldn't give up nursing so I could drink alcohol. Even my very good friend told me she thought it was gross and shuddered. Sure, there were supportive people, but I'd say about half had something negative to say after the first 4 months of acceptable nursing.

    And I never said anything about a bottle feeding mother's choice! Even if I wanted to be snooty about it there would be no point. It's not like you turn the mammaries back on once they've dried up. It seems like no matter what choices we make, once you we're mothers people feel they have the right to judge and pick apart your decisions.

    By Blogger Julia, at Mon May 19, 10:15:00 PM  

  • "...once you're a mother people feel they have the right to judge and pick apart your decisions." SO TRUE!

    I breastfed and didn't like it one bit except for it's availability. I did it for 20 months and am proud of it because it was a physical sacrifice, nothing more. My hubby even said I should quit after the first 7 weeks of me crying each feeding. I refused to have a formula bill though. We didn't budget for that and things were tight. I had no idea breastfeeding would be so hard though... everyone I'd seen had no problems. If I ever have another baby, it will be bottle fed. And that is my choice.

    I loved this post, Jenny. Keep your chin up and stand your ground. I think putting it on the chart is an excellent idea. Make a sign to put on your door too.

    By Blogger Liam's Mom - Gina, at Fri May 23, 12:21:00 AM  

  • Even as a BF'er, I HATED it when people would ask me if I did. Almost as much as when people ask me, "When are you going to have another baby?"

    It's nobody's business - I don't get people who think they need to hit us with all the questions. I prefer to reply with sarcasm, but most of the morons don't get it anyway.

    You do what's right for YOU! Just try to ignore the boneheads. And I have to say that I love Karly's comeback. :)

    By Blogger Super B's Mom, at Sun May 25, 09:31:00 AM  

  • yeah I told people it wasn't their beez wax but that's the way I roll

    By Blogger IEAT_SNOWMANPOOP, at Sun May 25, 03:39:00 PM  

  • No fair posting when I think you've stopped posting!!

    Let me just say that sooooo many things in the post made me laugh hard! Such as the one that ended, in your face. teeheeheehee.

    And I loved Dan's reply. Such a man that one.

    I think to your MIL you should insist that you just want your nephews to think yours are pretty too. (Was that vague enough?) Or the one about Michael not sharing. Or say that he insists on snacking when your breastfeed. EEEEEWWWWWW! Sorry.

    By Blogger headless chicken, at Mon May 26, 06:00:00 AM  

  • I just told people that the idea of a baby sucking on my boob did not appeal to me. If you want to make people REALLY uncomfortable and end the "yes....but it's so healthy for the baby" throw in that you are not even really a fan of your husband rooting around there.

    Then they are usually too dumbfounded to retort. Just an idea!

    PS: I have no problem with others breastfeeding....I just never wanted to do it.

    By Blogger Queen of the Mayhem, at Mon May 26, 04:24:00 PM  

  • I think breastfeeding is only best if it works for you and your baby. I'd just tell people "I'm not sure yet." and leave it at that.

    By Blogger Big Momma Pimpalishisness, at Sat May 31, 02:24:00 PM  

  • Ok. So, again. It's been awhile since you wrote this & you're more than likely in the hospital right this very minute recovering from having the young person ripped from your body..... And answering every other nurse who walks into your room that you're formula-feeding... (I think I dealt with that by telling them that yes, I will BF and supplement w/ formula. Then just used formula!!!)

    I did try BF for like 5 minutes. Then realized I was really tired & that if we used formula my DH could feed her while I slept. End of discussion.

    Never had to deal w/ BF nazis, though. Could be that I had the look of a "crazy just-had-a-baby" woman and they knew better... somehow...

    But my 5 year old hasn't had one cavity yet!! (might be the chocolate milk she drinks by the gallon, too... not sure). But the good 'ole double eye poke just might be the best choice!

    Anyway. I'll stop now.

    Good luck!!!

    By Blogger MustangChick74, at Tue Jun 17, 04:52:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home