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What Did You Say When . . .
~ A Message Board Archive

From Mommyof3boyz: When my 3-year-old was six months old, I was nursing at church and an acquaintance came up to me and said, "Aren't you about ready to wean him. He's getting too big for that." This was the first of several comments from this person. I then became very self-conscious about nursing at church and elsewhere, so I quit nursing two weeks later cold turkey. I TOTALLY REGRETTED IT!!! My new baby is 11 weeks old. I want to nurse him until he is ready to wean on his own. Which leads me to my question . . . what do you say when people make rude comments like this?

From SusanH: Well, a thousand rude retorts spring to mind, but since this happened in church, I suppose politeness is called for. No one has ever asked me when we are going to wean, but I imagine I would just say, "When one of us is ready" and change the subject. Or if asked, "Are you going to wean him soon?" just say "No" and leave it at that. If pressed, you can always elaborate that it is a private decision concerning only you and the baby and really no one else's business. Or if you feel the urge to educate, you can always point out that the AAP recommends nursing at least for one year and the WHO recommends at least two years. I can't believe someone was so rude to you!

From KristaLove: I'm sorry someone was such a brute to you! I've had lots of good and bad questions and comments about nursing and I usually try to be light and use the same reply as Susan, "When one of us is ready". I guess it depends on my mood. I'm always armed with statistics (in case I'm put on the defense) but I try to securely tell the person that breast is best! Once at church I kindly reminded a woman that Mary breastfed and Jesus grew up just fine.

For when your baby is older, people might comment that ". . . when they're old enough to ask for it, it's time to stop!" Baloney! We don't stop giving babies juice or cheese when they can ask for it! As long as you're comfortable and your baby is happy, it's a good fit!

From Gayesy: Gee, I am so sorry you had such trouble with this person in the past. How RUDE! Why can't people just mind their own business??

I think your reply can depend on how well you know the person, how much time you have, etc. Certainly whatever someone says, you don't have to let that deter you from doing what you want to do. You might not be able to change someone's mind into thinking that nursing past a few months is a good thing, but hey, who cares?

I like the suggestions already given. I used to say, "I am not going to wean Thomas at all - he is going to wean himself when he is ready!" (You can imagine people's jaws drop!) You could also say something about wanting to go for at least 12 months as that is the current recommendation of the AAP. Basically though, you don't owe anybody an explanation! You can choose to give one if you feel up to it, but really you can politely but firmly just say "No, we are nowhere near ready for weaning yet" or something of that nature. Good luck!

From Juliet: Don't you just love people that have all the advice in the world? When I get people talking about weaning and when am I going to do it, I just reply saying that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants should breastfeed for at least a year and that the world wide average is 4 years of age. Then if they say that is not how they did it, I came up with this analogy . . .

Computers, technology, medical science, biology, cooking, cars and pediatrics care change; all these things where different 20 years ago and have improved with age, along with medical science. I am using the latest and best knowledge that I have researched and I have found what I want to do, and this is the way I think is best for my child. Maybe in another 20 years things will have changed again and everything will be different, but for right now, this is how I will do things, just as you did in your day. Would you care to see the studies and letters and documents and transcripts I have? I would love to be able to show you and you can see how far we have come since Dr Spock. This usually shuts them up pretty quickly and if it doesn't, just look them in the eye and say, I believe in what I am doing and I know I am doing what is best for my child. Now if you will excuse me, I have to breastfeed my child.

If we weren't meant to breastfeed our children, why did God give us breasts that would sustain life? And if they didn't have bottles and artificial nipples in those days, what did they use??? BREASTMILK!!!!!!!!

From emmabsmom: This is my response to all stupid, rude questions about my PERSONAL decision to continue breastfeeding: Cow's milk is for baby cows. Breastmilk is for baby humans.

From Raine: Ugh! I'm sorry you had to deal with someone rude like that. I'm starting to get the comments more and more now that Noah is getting older. I just tell people that he'll stop when he's ready. I told a woman at my older son's school recently, "With all of the proven benefits of breastfeeding, I'd be crazy not to nurse." As long as I remain confident people tend to back off.

My favorite comeback came from my DH. One of his (idiot) friends asked, "How long are you going to let her nurse him?" [Don't even let me get started on the way he phrased that!] DH answered, "Until he's old enough to find a pair he likes better." Kind of crude, I know, but it put this guy in his place.

From Mommyof3boyz: I truly appreciate the support of you ladies. I am very determined to do this for as long as we possibly can. I probably should have added that this individual never breastfed any of her five children. She said that each of them was born tongue-tied. I guess maybe I should have "pushed her" a little more eh?

Another question that I have is that when I go out to eat with my family or out in public event (dh and the kids), he doesn't want me to nurse in public. I respect his wishes and take the baby into the bathroom and nurse him. What is it with men? Is it embarrassing to them or what? When I go out into public alone or with friends, I nurse in public.

From luv2beemom: I would ask your dh for assistance on what you could do to make it more comfortable for you to nurse in public OR tell him, he can eat his meal in the bathroom, too.

From postcardgirl: I tend to just say something like "when we're both ready" and leave it at that. DON'T let other people bother or upset you!!!!!!!

From Katesmom: I am so, so lucky! I have NEVER gotten a rude remark about nursing in public! As for the woman with the tongue-tied kids, if you wanted to be polite, you could say, "What a shame you couldn't nurse--they know how to work around that now." Or if you wanted to be rude, you could say, "Well, it's clear they didn't get it from your side of the family!"

As for your DH, I don't want to cause familial strife, but I have to agree with luv2beemom! I think if my DH had ever suggested I nurse in the bathroom, I'd have said the same. (I'll admit, when I was first starting to nurse in public, I'd go into the ladies' room to get dd latched on and look in the mirror to make sure nothing was showing, though.) If you are at all discreet about it, most people do not even know you are nursing in public.

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