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Be A Sensible Breastfeeding Advocate

Advocacy Is All About Balance !!

Naturally in life we are introduced to products and beliefs that we embrace

and that we wish to tell the world about and promote.Whilst our intentions

may be noble we must balance our enthusiasm as individual circumstances

can vary greatly.

Breastfeeding Is A Wonderful Thing…. but 

But we must remember that there are many variations and considerations

that must be taken into account before we criticize those that choose not to

breastfeed. Personal preference is each and everyone’s right  ….so consider the

following.

beautiful girl holding an apple on her head

beautiful girl holding an apple on her head

© Andres Rodriguez | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Five Things Breastfeeding Advocates Need to Stop Doing

I consider myself a breastfeeding advocate. I breastfed all three of my children through toddlerhood.

Here are five habits that breastfeeding advocates need to check:

1) Arguing with moms who say they were unable to breastfeed.

The fact is not all women are able to breastfeed. There’s no way for you to know with certainty whether or not a mom’s issues fall under that umbrella. There are some conditions that make breastfeeding impossible and circumstances that make breastfeeding so complicated/painful/overwhelming that moms choose their sanity over breastfeeding. It’s not anyone’s place to judge another mom’s breastfeeding experience.

If a mom asks you what she might do next time to make it work, that’s the time to suggest some options.

2) Acting like formula is poison.

Yes, it’s nutritionally inferior to breastmilk. Yes, it’s lacking many things beyond mere nutrients that breastmilk offers. Yes, breastmilk is the optimal food for a baby. Formula manufacturers have some major marketing ethics to answer for.

But in some cases, formula saves lives. And it’s hurtful to those who feed their babies formula to insinuate that they are poisoning their child. Let the facts speak for themselves.

3) Assuming that someone who didn’t breastfeed doesn’t know the facts.

There are some moms who know all the facts about breastmilk and breastfeeding and choose not to breastfeed anyway. Remember that there are some very private, totally understandable reasons a woman may choose not to breastfeed. (Sexual molestation, mastectomies, nipple issues that couldn’t be resolved—just to name a few.) Women may not want to go into detail about why they aren’t breastfeeding, even when they know all of the facts. As an advocate, making sure information is available is vital. Providing facts when asked for them is commendable. Hounding someone with facts in the hopes of helping them see the error of their ways is presumptuous and a bit rude.

4) Refusing to sympathize with people who are uncomfortable with breastfeeding.

This one might come as a surprise, considering how vocal I’ve been about breastfeeding in public. I don’t think that it’s a breastfeeding mom’s responsibility to make sure people are comfortable, but I also don’t think that being uncomfortable with breastfeeding means you’re evil.I feel for people who are uncomfortable seeing a baby breastfeed. I really do. They are part of the reason I think moms should breastfeed in public—not to force people to deal with it, but to hopefully, gradually normalize it.

I said it before and I’ll say it again—people who grow up seeing breastfeeding do not see it as a big deal. That discomfort is totally a result of not seeing it, or of only seeing it on rare occasions. I can sympathize with that discomfort. I don’t think it should be coddled, but it wouldn’t hurt to be understanding of it. And since a lot of women don’t breastfeed because of that discomfort, a listening ear and some diplomatic discussion about it will go much farther than browbeating.

5) Letting your passion about breastfeeding come out as snark.

Getting snarky with those who are not there yet will not help them get there.

Effective advocacy attracts people; it doesn’t turn them away.

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