Contributed by Monica Beyer
Lots of moms breastfeed, but when people who really should be minding their own business weigh in with ridiculous bits of advice, it can drive moms everywhere absolutely insane.
Just back off
For example, a popular radio host, Dave Ryan, from The Dave Ryan in the Morning Show, recently told a caller to stop breastfeeding, go to the store and buy her baby formula. Was the caller wanting to know how to feed her baby? Nope. She was talking about her colicky baby and once the show host discovered she was breastfeeding, he handed down that ridiculous advice.
As you can imagine, The Dave Ryan in the Morning Show is now under fire — as is what happens when a public figure, business or establishment berates or harasses a breastfeeding mom. Or, as in this case, hands out ill-informed advice.
Advice from family …
Even worse, you can get really bad advice from friends or family members. For example, a mother who never breastfed a baby tells you that you’re nursing too much. Or your husband’s cousin says that it’s improper to breastfeed in front of the family. Or the distant relative who says that it won’t hurt to give a newborn a bottle of formula. Or the grandma who insists that your diet is all wrong and refuses to let you eat a piece of cake.
… and from professionals
And it can be really stressful if a physician says that your baby isn’t gaining enough weight and that you’re a bad mother if you don’t supplement (a story I have heard from a friend). When you’re a new mom, and especially a first time mom, even a small suggestion that you’re parenting wrong or that it’s easier to formula feed than breastfeed can undermine your confidence and lead to breastfeeding problems or early weaning.
What can moms do?
Surround yourself, either physically or virtually, with supportive people. Ignore the advice — at least until you can find out from an experienced friend or a lactation consultant if there is any truth to what has been said to you. Weight gain issues can be a real concern, but get more than one opinion (preferably from a licensed breastfeeding professional) before supplementing. And take heart — you’re the mom and you are doing the best job you can do.