The key to responding to these comments is to educate. Here are some sample questions you may get asked as well as our responses to them:
- “Are you still breastfeeding?” or “Oh, are you still doing that?”
Yes, breast milk does not stop providing nutrition to the baby. It actually is recommended you do so as long as you and your baby wants. The World Health Organization says a minimum of 2 years!
- “Cover up! Don’t make the men in the family offended!”
Unfortunately, we have sexualized breasts in today’s society. Breasts are a means of food for infants, and are not meant to be treated as sexual objects. If someone is uncomfortable with you openly breastfeeding, they may excuse themself. However, if you want to breastfeed in private, that is totally up to you.
- “Can I give the baby a bottle while you rest?”
If you have not given your baby a bottle yet, and you do not feel comfortable doing so, be honest. If you have given your baby bottles before and are comfortable with it, that’s fine too! Just make sure you pump beforehand!
- “Oh you should give your baby formula so they sleep better.”
If your baby is gaining weight properly and you have enough milk supply, all your baby needs is breast milk. Formula is not necessary. Breastfed babies eat more frequently since breastmilk is more easily digested. Without the frequent removal of breastmilk, your supply will also begin to diminish.
- “You should put rice cereal in the baby’s bottle.”
This is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. While some infants do need this for health purposes, you should not do so unless instructed by your pediatrician. This can actually lead to health issues like aspiration pneumonia.
- “You can’t have that drink, you’re breastfeeding.”
You actually can! The best time to have a drink is while breastfeeding or right after feeding. Alcohol takes 2 hours to clear through breastmilk, and does not instantaneously go into your milk. If you feel the effects of alcohol before breastfeeding, that is when you need to pump and dump and have other breast milk already stored in advance.
- “You need to sleep train, your baby should be sleeping through the night already.”
All babies are different. Some sleep 5 hours a night as early as 4 weeks, while others never sleep 5 hours a night. Part of this depends on milk storage capacity, or how much your breasts can hold and how much the baby can eat during the day. The more the baby eats during the day, the more likely they are to sleep longer at night”
- “You are going to spoil the baby if you hold them too much”
This is not true! You cannot spoil a baby in this way. Especially the first 3 months after birth, this bonding is incredibly important. Hold your baby if you want to!
Remember, the holidays are meant to be enjoyed by all- that includes you! Do what makes you happy, set boundaries, and take some time to yourself this holiday season.