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Thread: Going back to work at almost a year... Family not supportive of continued BF!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Default Going back to work at almost a year... Family not supportive of continued BF!

    This is the most recent question a mom has asked to be answered in New Beginning, the LLL online national magazine. Can you help her? Answers may be published in a future issue (let me know if that's not ok!). You can reply in a private forum message to me or to this post. Thanks, mamas!

    Mom's question:
    "I often work very long hours and, although my daughter is nearly one year old, I still pump at work because sometimes I do not get home until almost 8 p.m. We co-sleep in order to get time during the week together and because she gets much of her nursing during the night. That is fine with me, but my husband and other family members are constantly telling me that she should wean because my daughter can eat “real” food now. I feel like I am making things easier on her by being able to connect with her and mother her during the night. I don’t mind pumping because I sometimes still feel uncomfortably full at work, especially in the evening, and my daughter can still have some breast milk when I am away. This discussion can get pretty heated, and the older my daughter gets the less others seem to respect my wishes. What have other mothers done to keep the peace?"

    Winema N. Lanoue
    Contributing Editor
    Making It Work
    New Beginnings Magazine

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Southern Indiana

    Default Re: Going back to work at almost a year.

    Tell them that it is a very special bond between you and your daughter and it's up to the two of you when it is over. I don't believe they have a say because they are not physically involved in this bond. My daughter will be 2y in Sept and she still nurses pretty much when she wants to and if I am away for a day she makes it up at night as we too co-sleep. We both enjoy the closeness her nursing brings and the comfort and reassurance it gives her. She will stop when she is ready, why would I want to take my child's security blanket away from her at such an early age. She benefits from it nutritionally and emotionally and that is all that matters to this mommy!
    I serve an awsome God!!

    Bailee 9y

    JW 6y

    Liberty 3y

  3. #3

    Default Re: Going back to work at almost a year.

    Well, it sounds like the idea to stop breastfeeding is not your own. I highly encourage you to thoroughly study all the benefits of breastfeeding before making your decision. There is nothing you can feed your child that is more nutritionally complete. As your child grows, your milk will adjust to her needs. Our children are at such high risk health-wise anyway (with unprecedented environmental toxicity levels), they need as much defense early on as possible. Also, breastfeeding is an emotionally nurturing experience. And with how fast they grow up, giving you both this experience to bond will be extremely valuable. I believe through and through that nursing is the most precious, beautiful, natural, unique experience a mother and child can share, and it is a privilage and honor that should be cherished and enjoyed for as long as it is naturally and mutually desired.

    I, too, faced criticism and "suggestions" (read: pressure) from family, friends, strangers. People are incredibly eager to say what one should or should not do (often based on what makes them comfortable/uncomfortable), especially to first time moms. I believe it is because they have not enjoyed the opportunity to experience this spectacular gift in a healthful way. So, I made the decision, and I unshakably stood my ground - respectfully and with genuine appreciation, declining their advise. I just remembered my mantra, "This is MY child, I am serving him. Trust my maternal instincts!" After a while, they backed off.

    Obviously, our duty as mothers is to hold the well-being (in every sense) of our children above everything else. Keeping the peace becomes a distant matter. But if you feel your husband is truly unsupportive and opposed, I hope you can find a way to educate and share with him the importance of this experience.

    I nursed my son until very recently, just after his third birthday. Granted, MUCH longer than I planned, but my son is extremely bright, well-adjusted, healthy, outgoing, compassionate, and masculine. He's not a clingy child, and feels very at ease in any surrounding. I think knowing that he can find comfort in our bond provides him with a sense of certainty, clarity, and confidence. My experience in nursing has been one of the most pure, beautiful, and impactful of my life, and I would NEVER trade it for anything in the world.

    Have faith in your motherly intuition, it is speaking loud and clear and only to you, for a reason.

    Best wishes to you and your family~

    Last edited by @llli*aimeerebecca; August 20th, 2011 at 02:45 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default Re: Going back to work at almost a year.

    It's difficult to be the one doing things different than most people, isn't it? I honestly have been in your situation. My son is now 23 months and I am still pumping at work for him (I am a nurse and am gone 6am-8pm 3 days a week (since he was 5 weeks old))and this is a sore topic with my MIL and my husband. They want me to wean him. They think he is too old to nurse and should eat more solids. I have shown them some great literature on why extended nursing is so important for overall health, why breastmilk is more nutritious than solids and cows milk, and why SLOW gradual weaning is important to my son emotionally. They still give me a hard time about it, and make comments, but ultimately, they can't keep me from pumping at work and nursing my son! They have basically nodded and said okay to the extended nursing, but still say what they want. We agree to disagree basically. That doesn't make it easy for us. But we are ALL parenting Benjamin and they see that I am just trying to do whats best for him.
    It helps that they have a strong family history of obesity, cancer, and overall poor health and I point out often how breastmilk beyond 1 year helps to prevent those issues with my son and ultimately, thats why they don't give me an even harder time.

    Show them the research, during a calm cool collected conversation. Tell them you feel its important and NECESSARY and that you WILL be providing the milk because it is in her best interest, and you know they all want whats best for her. You can point out that the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until age 2 if you think that will help.

    Hope this helps!!!

    Momma to Benjamin, we recently made it nursing to age 2!!!!

    Benjamin born 9-17-09

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Going back to work at almost a year.

    It seems that you have already decided to continue to breastfeed, which I think is awesome and wonderful for you and your child. You know in your heart that you are not going to be swayed by others beliefs and opinions about it. I notice that your question at the end is what you really want help with: getting others to respect your wishes, and also how to keep the peace. Sometimes its not possible for people to do this, for example a mother-in-law set in her ways might never respect your wishes and you may need to accept that you can't ever have her respect. However, I think its unacceptable in a marriage for a husband to disrespect his wife in front of other family by allowing a discussion to get heated where his wife is the object of attack. I think the first thing you would have to do is sit down with your husband and really talk about this issue and how it is affecting you. This will also help so that you could then have his support when other family members decide to "take it to the next level" and interfere with/heatedly debate your parenting choices. He should be the one who loves you most and defends you from this sort of attack, and you should tell him so.

    Ultimately I think the best way to keep the peace is to remove the topic from discussion. If your husband is on board, it will be easier, but if not the best thing you can do is refuse to participate in heated discussions about the topic and be prepared with phrases such as "Thank you for your concern, however this topic is not up for discussion". Unfortunately, sometimes the best way to keep the peace is to physically leave a discussion that is getting heated, to show that you will not tolerate that sort of behavior and disrespect.
    Can't believe I've been and a full-time SAHM to Elena (5/2010) for over 2 yrs!
    Mami de mi preciosa Elenita
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