When you become a mom, it seems that everyone has an opinion—from how you birth your baby to how you diaper your baby to whether or not you go back to work. One of the more polarizing topics in new motherhood, however, is how you feed your baby. Breastfeeding is one of the more puzzling controversies—moms are under great pressure to breastfeed, but opinions abound in all directions on where, when, and how long they nurse their little ones—but that doesn't stop people from saying dumb stuff to you about feeding your baby with your boobs.
Here are a few shining examples of what not to say to a mom who is breastfeeding her baby.
1. "[Insert breastfeeding horror story here]"
We all love to share horror stories. The "I caught a fish this big" version of mom stories generally fall into a few different categories—one of which is the horror story. And out of the millions of moms who breastfed, there are certainly horror stories to share. For example, a mom who didn't get the support she needed so she never got off to a good start and she couldn't keep her supply up, or a baby with a tongue or lip tie that wasn't taken care of so her latch was poor, or the baby who got thrush and shared it with his mom's boob—these are all horrible stories, for sure.
However, these aren't the stories to share with a pregnant woman or a new mom starting out. Instead, share how intervention and support could have helped you, especially if your friend seems to be having some of the same issues. Assuming (or insisting) that your mom friend will give up breastfeeding too? It's not fair to her, nor her baby.
2. "You're not eating the right foods to make good milk for your baby."
Basically, it's not polite to talk about what a woman is eating. Pregnant women absolutely hate it and its implications—that they aren't capable of eating well and staying healthy for their unborn baby. Breastfeeding moms hate it, too. I remember my lovely grandma teasing me that I was only going to make skim milk for my first baby because I didn't have much of an appetite after his birth, and while I smiled on the outside, inside I roared, "DAMMIT GRANDMA LEAVE ME ALONE."
3. "Are you going to eat that?"
Along the same lines, there are so many myths out there about what moms can and cannot consume while breastfeeding. Truth? If you see a nursing mom eating a plate of hot peppers, leave her the hell alone. You don't know what her baby can or can't handle, and remember, women who live in areas where the local cuisine is fiery hot seem to have no trouble nursing their kids.
If a mom wants to nurse her kid at Taco Bell, or in church, or at the mall, or at the water park, then she's going to nurse her kid.
4. "Are you going to do that here?
Just no. If a mom wants to nurse her kid at Taco Bell, or in church, or at the mall, or at the water park, then she's going to nurse her kid. Being a butthole and insinuating that feeding her child is in some way inappropriate, dirty, sexual, or gross means that you've got issues, pal, and you'd better button up and look away. There's no room for people to make moms feel guilty for feeding their child.
5. "Breastfeeding will make your boobs sag."
I applaud the effort here—shaming a mom for nourishing her child while appealing to society's love of non-breastfeeding boob—but sorry, breastfeeding doesn't do anything to a boob that nine months of pregnancy hasn't already done. Just ask science.