Breastfeeding can be a beautiful, wonderful thing. But it isn’t for everyone, and that perfectly fine. Some women choose to breastfeed while others choose not to, and those are simply two ways to feed a baby. Unfortunately, there are people who make women feel guilty about the choices they make. Well, I’m here to say let’s put an end to the bullying and stop the bressure.
Some people might not even realize they are being breastfeeding bullies, so I have put together this little quiz to help identify what makes a bully.
Are You a Breastfeeding Bully?
- Do you judge other moms for not breastfeeding? (Don’t be so judgy!)
- Do you confront moms who are bottle feeding their child and try to tell them that breastfeeding is better? (Ever heard of MYOB?)
- Do you call baby formula “poison” or “garbage”? (Oh, so you never eat food from the supermarket? If you don’t grow all your food and say this, you are being a hypocrite.)
- Do you stop being friends with someone if they formula feed their child? (Some friend you are. She is better off not being friends with you anyway.)
- Do you think that if you had an easy time breastfeeding, then it should be easy for everyone else too? (Seriously, everyone’s different and have different challenges.)
- Do you give others dirty looks while you’re breastfeeding your child publicly? (I’ve seen it. That’s not feeding your baby, that’s making a statement.)
If you answer yes to two or more of that list, you’re a breastfeeding bully.
Stop the Bressure
Take a good look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself to stop the bressure. (And also learn to mind your own business, because you don’t know someone’s situation and shouldn’t try to push your own beliefs on them.)
There is a difference between lactivist and bully. A breastfeeding advocate raises awareness and supports mothers. Bullies just judge and shame others. It is no secret that I am a supporter of breastfeeding and yet I am struggling with it and having to supplement with formula.
It isn’t for everyone – not everyone can breastfeed, and not everyone wants to breastfeed – and that is OK! It doesn’t mean you love your child any less and it doesn’t mean your child will suffer for it.
Your baby will thrive and grow into a successful adult not because of how you fed him or her, but depending on how you parented and raised him or her.
So please, can we just stop with the bressure and just support one another? Motherhood is a tough gig, so wouldn’t you rather be with people who celebrate each other’s victories instead?
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Adventures of a Novice Mum says
My word, I never knew breastfeeding touched so many nerves when I started out. 🙂
It’s a shame that one mum might consider herself better than another because of how they feed their child. I must say that I am somewhat wary of comments about bressure because one woman’s ‘bressure’ is another one’s encouragement. Nonetheless, I don’t think there is any justifiable reason to be nasty to someone because they don’t breastfeed. I mean, aren’t mothers busy enough … too busy to pay a judgemental level of attention to someone who isn’t mothering the way they are for whatever reason.
Thanks for getting us thinking and asking herselves questions about our attitude to each other. How we feed our children doesn’t make us better than the other person. 🙂
Thanks so much for linking to #BreastfeedingandI
It is definitely a sensitive topic these days. There’s definitely a difference between support and encouragement versus the “you really should do it this way” comments. And we moms are busy enough that we shouldn’t have to deal with nosy people questioning our decisions. Thanks Ms. Novice Mum 🙂
I really hate it when moms judge other moms! There’s no one right way to parent (aside from abuse, etc) and to impose a belief system on another is absurd. Grr on you bullies! (even the unintentional bullies!)
Ashwani Kumar Singh says
Being a guy, I never knew that there were so many complications even with breast-feeding 😮
Your article pretty effectively sums up things that even I, who hasn’t even heard of these things can easily understand your point. (Y)
Thanks for having the courage to share this as I know it’s a difficult topic. I agree there IS a lot of pressure to breastfeed, and a LOT of judgement when you don’t or can’t. For me, my children were each adopted so it wasn’t really a viable a choice. But I was still shamed a few times for not trying to take medication to lactate (apparently it’s out there) and I was certainly told by a few people that formula was akin to fast food and that my children would be sick (for the record, they are some of the most robust kids I know). I totally support the right to breastfeed babies and children wherever, whenever, however and for however long, but I would really appreciate a little more acceptance of bottle-feeding too. Thanks for sharing on #TheList 😉
It is sad when even adoptive mothers are shamed for not doing everything to breastfeed. But that is exactly the problem, formula is not like fast food, and adoptive mothers shouldn’t be shamed for not going on serious hormones to change their bodies. Thanks Jennifer 🙂
Natalie Streets says
To be honest, I really feel like this whole Bressure thing is a figment of the media’s imagination. I don’t know anyone who says or does these things – and I have come across a lot of very passionate breastfeeders. I’m one of them I suppose. But I also defended one of my good friends when her husband mocked her for not breastfeeding. All mums do their best, and the media need to stop over dramatising things to make people think it is something more than the teeny tiniest minority of self righteous idiots who say anything against breast or formula feeding. People need to stop defending their actions, because really nobody gives a s**t. Sorry – bit of a rant there! haha, it all just annoys me – I know nobody who judges other mums for keeping their baby alive – discipline differences maybe, but not feeding.
That’s awesome that you haven’t seen this in person! I have – most of the really bad stuff in online forums – but even in person I’ve seen some judgy comments. You’re right though, we’re ALL doing the best we can.
Natalie Streets says
I guess what I mean is I don’t think the ‘problem’ is as big as the media make it out to be. I know some REALLY passionate breastfeeders that HATE formula, but I don’t think they would ever judge a person for choosing to keep their child alive. Mostly they are disappointed at the lack of support available, either professional or personal and the underhand tactics of formula companies, but very very rarely does a woman judge another for her feeding choice.
And anyone that does needs to remember she hasn’t walked in another woman’s shoes, it’s not her body, and telling women to do something with their bodies that they aren’t comfortable with is really very wrong.
I had a really hard time with breastfeeding but seriously I can not believe that anyone would even say or do any of the above – how terrible! It really is the last thing you need as a new mother. #TheList
Yea! We mothers need to support each other instead of stressing out new moms.
Rabia @TheLiebers says
I was fortunate to be able to breastfeed all three of mine, but I know that not every mom has that option, or wants it! I hope that my actions are always supportive of whichever ways moms choose to love their kids!
I’m sure your actions in person are as supportive as you are online 🙂
Angela Gilmore says
I’ve known moms who breast-fed exclusively, who used formula because they couldn’t breast-feed, and who use formula because they just didn’t want to breast-feed. And it’s all OK! I breast-fed both my kids but I struggled both times and with my current child I’m actually switching to formula a lot earlier than I did with my first child just because it’s what I need. No one has any right to judge any other mother, Especially not how they choose to feed their child. BTW I’ve never even heard of lactivist, I love that!
Exactly! We do our best and make choices that fit our situations. I learn a lot of cool terminology online heh