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Thread: Warning...ranting about family judging me for extended breastfeeding!

  1. #1

    Default Warning...ranting about family judging me for extended breastfeeding!

    I came on here, maybe just to write about my experience, share it with other mothers who believe passionately about breastfeeding, and see if others are sharing the same judgements that I am. I come from a pretty educated family, most of us are college educated, with a few having graduate educations and a few Doctors. SO it's not like any of us have never picked up a book, and don't know SOME common sense...I DO think the decision to breastfeed IS common sense..I have experience more judgement about my extended breastfeeding from my family members, than any body else. Maybe it's due to that fact I talk more with my family, however the comments are mindless, thoughtless, hurtful and rude. I've had a sister tell me that my daughter at 11mo was ready to wean and I was not...I laughed, and said really? Come hang out with us for a day, and you'll see who is NOT ready to wean. I was told to not TALK about breastfeeding, becuase she thought it was gross. Asked why she cant just have it in a bottle, that drinking from the breast is..and I quote "Gross"! (sister and I did have a conversation, and I learned my BF caused a guilty feeling...)
    DD is now 22 months old, and I am pregnant. I am STILL breastfeeding DD, and plan to continue until she is ready to wean. We are getting there, but as you all know, it is a very slow process when you allow your children to lead. Tonight, in some random conversation my brother learned I was still breastfeeding, and he was floored, he threw out ridiculous comments, they were down right mean, and I was very hurt! I wish I wouldn't have cried, and could have calmy said that he could learn a few parenting tips from me, but I am so senstivie to judgement. I just broke down and tears and told him to do some reasearch! I am so damn tired of people ridiculing me for doing the absolute, most amazing thing for my child. It is NOT disgusting, it's beautiful, she is super healthy, brilliant, and the most vibrant full of personality little girl. Not to mention our bond that was created from breastfeeding is beyond words! What I DON"T get is WHY parents would critisize me for doing amazing things for my child...how about judging a parent for real things...like giving your 4 year old diet coke, like, r u kidding me...cause that's real healthy! or smoking with your child in the room, or smoking in general for that matter...c'mon! Have any of you ever experienced this, with your OWN family?? I don't need praises, heel kicks, and high fives for the accomplishment of breastfeeding for this long..and it IS an accomplishment, not always easy. My praises are shown thorugh my DD, that is ALL I need! I just DON"T need to be pounded with judgement, hurtful, ridiculous comments!! GRRR!! Anyone else have any similar experiences? Witty comments? Thanks for the space to vent, and any eyes reading this...the sound of my fingers pounding the keyboard, was in and of itself, theraputic! WAY TO GO breastfeeding moms!!!! We're building a brilliant, healthy future generation!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default Re: Warning...ranting about family judging me for extended breastfeeding!

    Im so sorry that your family is being so rude and unsupportive! Im glad that you have a strong foundation in your beliefs and are willing to stand up for them (and for your DD). Not everyone has that and its comments like those that you encountered that deter alot of moms from breastfeeding or continuing to feed in general.
    People are always going to have comments. Do what you feel is right in your heart and I dont think you can go wrong! Hopefully one day your family will look back and feel ashamed for the judgement they passed on you.
    Jess, mother to Everett & Macey (Born 02/08) who are no longer & Kennedy (12/4/09) who I exclusively for due to a soft cleft palate.
    We and cloth diaper!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Warning...ranting about family judging me for extended breastfeeding!

    I'm so sorry you feel judged by the people that are supposed to care about you the most. I am like you, emotional, and I would've cried too! But thats okay, wipe your tears, and print off some research for your family. Let them know "It really hurt me when you attacked my Mothering."
    Nursing the girl with kaleidoscope eyes

    Mama to Daniel (12/3/06) and Lucy Jane (8/28/08)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Not around here as much :(

    Default Re: Warning...ranting about family judging me for extended breastfeeding!

    : I have been trying to teach my husband somethign recently () that maybe youre family could use a lesson in as well. I think people end up saying things that come out rude/mean when they don't know what else to say. When they don't understand a situation and have no other idea what to say. They end up saying something idiotic. I have been, simultaneously, teaching my older kids this lesson as well. That there are times in converstation when the time comes for you to respond and sometimes the knee-jerk reaction is to say somthing that will end up being hurtful. I've been telling them it's much better to have a longer uncomfortable silence, to afford you the opportunity to think about what you should say... that to jump to say something thats hurtful.

    I'm sorry you're going through this. My best advice is to just steer clear of the subject.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Warning...ranting about family judging me for extended breastfeeding!

    Many mothers find that their family isn't as supportive of breastfeeding as they expected, myself included. Some try to educate their families with information or just confront them about their judgemental and hurtful comments. This rarely works.
    Positive, open discussion can not occur with the expectation of changing someones mind. A statement that leaves room for discussion of differing opinions like, "You seem to feel strongly about this. How can I reassure you?" or "We both want only the best for _____. Can you tell me why you feel this is wrong?". Often, the answer is directly related to how they feel about their parenting choices or cultural norms. Once this is established, reassure them that their parenting choices worked for them and yours are working for you. You might want to communicate your need for support in your parenting since it is hard to find such support outside the family. Once they've been affirmed in their feelings and have been heard they will be much more willing to hear what you have to say.

    If this doesn't work or isn't an option you might be able to agree to disagree and find the boundries that will work for you and your family. For instance, when I visit my in-laws I take my toddler son to another room to nurse him, at my home they are welcome to leave the room while we nurse comfortably. They have made me aware of their opinions on many occasions and we've finally struck a balance. Of course, my mother-in-law still asks once every visit if we're still nursing. But now the conversation ends at, "Yes, he is."

    This is a tough situation at best. Hopefully, I've given you a new tool for your mommy tool belt. Good luck.

    A newborn baby has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three. ~Grantly Dick-Read

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Warning...ranting about family judging me for extended breastfeeding!

    Mama, you are so not alone. If you want to take the "educate yourselves and then we'll talk" route with your family, here are some articles you can share:
    When to Wean by Katherine Dettwyler- talks about the natural (as opposed to cultural) age for weaning
    Unraveling Breast Milk by Jyllian Kemsley - about the complex biochemical makeup of breastmilk and how it protects babies from disease
    Extend Breastfeeding's Benefits by Kyla Steinkraus - a general primer on the benefits of extended breastfeeding

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Good ole ATX y'all!

    Default Re: Warning...ranting about family judging me for extended breastfeeding!

    The previous posters all had some great suggestions so I don't have anything to add just hugs. It must be so upsetting to feel like you are constantly defending something so precious to you to your family.

    Though your family is educated they are obviously not educated on this topic. Maybe it will help you feel better to think of this as a way you are helping to advocate breastfeeding to them in the hopes that it will cause them to research it and learn about it on their own.

    Then again you might just have to ignore it and reply "pass the dip!" from now on!
    Jen - mom to 3
    DD who I FF
    I survived 10 painful mastitis infections and managed to nurse DS1 till he was 3 years and 7 months
    and now DS2 4 years now working on gentle weaning and

    "Pride is one of the seven deadly sins; but it can not be the pride of a mother in her children, for that is a compound of two cardinal virtues - faith and hope." Charles Dickens

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Harrison Township, MI

    Default Re: Warning...ranting about family judging me for extended breastfeeding!

    It takes a strong and confident mom to persevere and do what you know is best for your child in the midst of all of this criticism. It might help how you feel if you are just not the one to bring up breastfeeding. I don't mean to hide the fact that you are nursing or lie about it, but if you just don't bring it up, you can likely avoid confrontation.
    HOWEVER, if you love talking about mothering through breastfeeding, like so many of us do, that is certainly understandable. You can always do it on these forums or at LLL meetings! I go to 2 meetings a month because I can freely discuss toddler nursing with women who will not think I'm some weirdo extreme mother!
    Keep it up, mama, and get support where you can.
    SAHM to Mary who has been since she was born on 06-08-2007.

    Married to Jim since 07-30-2005

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Warning...ranting about family judging me for extended breastfeeding!

    You've gotten great advice already. I've never gotten outright rude comments from family while I was still nursing. They waited until my ds1 weaned to make mean comments about it being about time, etc... FWIW, with ds2, they never asked or commented.
    Proud mom of 2 boys, both weaned gradually and with love.

    Find a local LLL leader

    For each and every one of us, the person from whom we can learn the most is our own baby: listen to him. - Mary White, LLL co-founder

    The best-kept secret in child psychology is that children who were never spanked are among the best behaved."
    Murray Straus, Ph.D.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Warning...ranting about family judging me for extended breastfeeding!

    Two things I want to add is that you can always reassure them that just because you are doing something different than they did/will doesn't imply in ANY way that they did the wrong thing, you are just choosing to do something different because it works for you and your family. Some people feel that because you are doing something differently you may be implying that they did it wrong or that your way is better, and many times there are feelings of guilt that they wish they could have done what you are successfully doing. Reassurance that they did a good job might be all that they need to get off of you back!

    And the other thing is that you have the right to say that how you parent is a private matter and you don't care to discuss you parenting choices with them. End of story.

    Usually by the time your second child comes along you will have the way smoothed at least until the point you are at now with the first. When my second child was born my family and in-laws just figured I was nuts and gave me a lot less grief. I guess I took the blessings where I could get them! Good luck and hang in there! Jen

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