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Thread: Shaming comment directed at DS

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Default Shaming comment directed at DS

    Hello Llladies!

    I'm fuming and need a sanity check from some like-minded individuals.

    Tonight at dinner, when DS (21mo) asked to nurse, my father addressed him directly with, "You're too young to nurse."

    My immediate response was: "No, he's the right age to nurse."

    I'm obviously concerned about the rising tide of pro-weaning messaging that my parents are directing at DS, most of it being "you don't want to nurse" from my mother (who breastfed me until I self-weaned at 19mo). I've expressed my displeasure with the comments but seem to need to be more direct. What do you think of this:

    I'd like to discuss appropriate language around DS' nursing. I'm hearing a lot of potentially damaging comments about DS' continued nursing, like Dad's comment at dinner last night to DS about being "too old to nurse". He is not. Mum, I don't know if you're aware you're doing it but, since we've arrived, you've told DS flat out that he doesn't want to nurse when he asks every day, often multiple times. He does.

    He will be continuing to nurse for the foreseeable future. I have consulted a world-renowned paediatrician who specializes in child nutrition, and I understand that our current practice is developmentally appropriate both biologically and psychologically.

    DS is a smart child, and he will pick up on the disapproving language you are using. I would not want you to alienate yourselves from him. He should not be harassed for partaking in this appropriate behaviour going forward. Do I have your support?

    ----

    Thanks ladies.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,944

    Default Re: Shaming comment directed at DS

    I think that sounds like a fine and very straightforward approach.

    Something that someone here said really struck a chord with me, and that is that women often fall into the trap of over-explaining. If they want to make a point, they add all this supporting data. If they want to say "no", they can't do it without a big explanation of why they're saying "no". Otherwise they feel like they're being b*tchy or bossy, right? But all that over-explaining can be counterproductive, because it can make people think that the point you're trying to make is open for discussion. My point being that in this case, you might just want to limit yourself to saying "Hey, Mom and Dad, you've been telling DS that he's 'too old' to nurse and that he doesn't want to nurse when he clearly does. And I want you to knock it off, okay?" Afterwards, if they ask why, you can launch into your reasons.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    358

    Default Re: Shaming comment directed at DS

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    I think that sounds like a fine and very straightforward approach.

    Something that someone here said really struck a chord with me, and that is that women often fall into the trap of over-explaining... My point being that in this case, you might just want to limit yourself to saying "Hey, Mom and Dad, you've been telling DS that he's 'too old' to nurse and that he doesn't want to nurse when he clearly does. And I want you to knock it off, okay?" Afterwards, if they ask why, you can launch into your reasons.
    That's good advice. Thanks mommal. I really appreciate your thoughtful feedback.

    I took a middle approach with a minimal explanation and had a favourable response from my Mum. My Dad gave me push-back and denied that he was shaming DS, so I had to be quite firm with him. He can be a mean little bully if unchecked, and I wanted to nip those comments in the bud.

    Yeeesh! File all that under "crap nursing mothers shouldn't have to tolerate".

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Shaming comment directed at DS

    Yes, that is so true. We really shouldn't have to justify breastfeeding at all. Hope your parents can start to accept the relationship between you and your son as just that! Between you and him,and not any business of theirs.

    All the best.
    Mum to 3 gorgeous sons - all breastfed

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    358

    Default Re: Shaming comment directed at DS

    Thanks free2beme.

    If you can believe it, I had to chat with my Mum again this morning. She was feeding DS breakfast (ham and a mix of berries...completely ok!) and was saying he was a good boy for eating so much.

    While nowhere nearly as damaging as deterring breastfeeding, I can see how eating disorders start with that sort of subtle messaging: good= eats lots, bad = doesn't eat what the adult wants. My mother is an obese nurse who expresses love with food, and I struggled (and still do) with listening to my satiety cues, so I know first-hand the unintentional effects of gentle force-feeding. So I suggested she say, "It's so good you're an adventurous eater!" or "Good for you for tasting everything!"

    I addressed it gently and she said, "but he needs nourishment!", as though:

    A) Breastfeeding provides no nourishment;
    B) He isn't offered a wide variety of nutritious foods throughout the day.

    Arg! It just goes to show that you have to be vigilant, even in families that are purportedly pro-breastfeeding. I know her heart is in the right place, but it frustrates me nonetheless.

    Thanks for listening to my gripe.
    Last edited by @llli*alphawoman; August 4th, 2013 at 10:49 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    312

    Default Re: Shaming comment directed at DS

    I think that good= eat all your food is a very damaging message. I had eating disorders for years that started when I was very young. That's great that you are nipping it in the bud.

    I had to do this with my father in law, not pleasant, but I'm glad I did. Both my husband's parents make lots of comments about good = potty use, good= clean your plate (even when DD says she is full). Big girls don't cry, oh man did I lose it when I heard that one. I used to be very reserved but now I just say "No, big girls cry all the time. I'm sorry you're sad sweetie, what's wrong, how can I help you?"

    Anyway best of luck handling the nursing comments and general eating comments! It's hard to take a stand but once you start doing it, it gets much easier!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*alphawoman View Post
    Thanks free2beme.

    If you can believe it, I had to chat with my Mum again this morning. She was feeding DS breakfast (ham and a mix of berries...completely ok!) and was saying he was a good boy for eating so much.

    While nowhere nearly as damaging as deterring breastfeeding, I can see how eating disorders start with that sort of subtle messaging: good= eats lots, bad = doesn't eat what the adult wants. My mother is an obese nurse who expresses love with food, and I struggled (and still do) with listening to my satiety cues, so I know first-hand the unintentional effects of gentle force-feeding. So I suggested she say, "It's so good you're an adventurous eater!" or "Good for you for tasting everything!"

    I addressed it gently and she said, "but he needs nourishment!", as though:

    A) Breastfeeding provides no nourishment;
    B) He isn't offered a wide variety of nutritious foods throughout the day.

    Arg! It just goes to show that you have to be vigilant, even in families that are purportedly pro-breastfeeding. I know her heart is in the right place, but it frustrates me nonetheless.

    Thanks for listening to my gripe.
    and Mama to two little girls

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: Shaming comment directed at DS

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*karrieperry View Post
    I had to do this with my father in law, not pleasant, but I'm glad I did. Both my husband's parents make lots of comments about good = potty use, good= clean your plate (even when DD says she is full). Big girls don't cry, oh man did I lose it when I heard that one. I used to be very reserved but now I just say "No, big girls cry all the time. I'm sorry you're sad sweetie, what's wrong, how can I help?"
    Karrieperry, ITA. Thanks so much for your input. I'm sorry you had to deal with similar frustrations.

    These sorts of comments are pernicious. I see a "big 4" around negative/demeaning commentary that are really reflective of the commentator's underlying insecurities.

    1. Nutrition
    2. Sleep habits
    3. Toileting
    4. Expression/suppression of emotion

    It just eats me up inside how children internalize those messages, though. IMHO, most of the time, no comment from bystanders is the ideal. I wish people wouldn't project their psychological baggage on children.

    I know going forward, I'll have to be especially careful with my father's messaging, because he has a very sexualized view of breasts and has always been apprehensive of my nursing in public. Truthfully, I've been really disappointed in him in this regard. I don't want DS to ever feel nursing is shameful. (I just nurse openly when in public and will continue to do so even after DS turns 2. I think society needs to see what is normal and healthy head-on. Wait...are those my lactivist colours showing? Aw, shucks!)

    I'll step off my soapbox now.
    Last edited by @llli*alphawoman; August 4th, 2013 at 12:08 PM.

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