About Me

MoxieTopics

  • MoxieTopics
    Short PDF ebooks on specific parenting topics, in-depth and focused

Coaching and Workshops

Click through to Amazon.com

Moxie's reading

The 10-year-old's reading

MoxieTopics

  • MoxieTopics
    Short PDF ebooks on specific parenting topics, in-depth and focused

« News:recall, internet safety, placental health studies, free newsletter for young musicians | Main | Q&A: Timeline for new baby stress »

Comments

Jan

My answer remains the same, that such a question would not bother me, and I think it's a shame that it would bother anybody.

I do think, though, that maybe this whole thing can have taught Joe, and other people out there (and me) that apparently this is an area where it might be wise to tread lightly. I still don't think there's anything inherently wrong with having a conversation with a new mother than involves how she's managing feeding her baby, but it's always good to be aware of when comments or questions might appear hurtful or intrusive to the recipient so you can guard against it. For instance, saying, "do you mind if I ask if you're breastfeeding" goes a long way toward indicating your respect for the woman's right to decline to answer.

Liza

I dunno, Jan, "Do you mind if I ask if you're breastfeeding?" seems awkward to me. If the answer is "Yes" then the conversation is sort of stuck.

Maybe "how's the baby eating?" -- which could be interpreted either as "breast v bottle" or "lots/some/not too well" and lets the mom choose how to answer.

amy

I didn't have time to answer the original post (too busy nursing my baby!), but I was in the "no big deal, though kinda awkward" camp.

Then my brother-in-law was over the other night and I was saying something to my daughter about putting on her pjs and my BIL looked at me and said, "Do you wear pajamas?" I know he wasn't trying to be personal... he was trying to make a point about how funny it is that we put kids in pjs but we don't all wear them as adults... but the next question he asked was, "So what do you wear to bed?" Again, he wasn't trying to be creepy... but it made me think about the breastfeeding question. Sometimes a topic that sounds like it's going to be interesting (the pj or breastfeeding habits of the adults in the room) feels creepy in practice. This isn't a judgement of either the guy who asked the breastfeeding question or my BIL as I hate small talk and greatly prefer an interesting discussion of something like breastfeeding or the pj habits of adults... but it takes a moment to get used to!

kelli

I didn't get an answer in the first time because frankly, I had to "walk away" and think for awhile. Many of the comments just made me downright sad. Particularly, the ones that fell into the Squeamish or Guilt category.

There were many commenters who said they felt guilty for not being able to breastfeed and that's why the question bothered them. Then, there were many other commenters who were clearly skeeved by the idea of a man even asking about it.

Breastfeeding is only one of many questions that folks ask about new babies - I get all sorts of questions regarding diapers (cloth/disposable), sleeping (crib/co-sleeping), etc. Yes, many of these questions are tinged with Potential Judgment, but that's LIFE. There will always, always be someone lurking inthe corner waiting to point fingers and Judge.

Anyway, as a 37 week pregnant gal who will be breastfeeding again in a few weeks, my answer doesn't need context - I totally welcome any and all questions regarding breastfeeding. Until folks get more comfortable with the whole concept of a "baby sucking at one's breasts" we are going to continue reading news story after news story of women being kicked off of planes, asked to leave restaurants, kicked out of parks, pools and other public venues all because folks aren't "comfortable" with it. Again, not angry. Just sad. Very, very sad.

Sue

I think "how's the baby eating?" or staying away from the whole feeding situation is wisest unless you have a pretty good idea of the answer. With my first, I tried to breastfeed, but due to low supply ended up switching to bottles at three weeks (I've had prior breast surgery, so it's not just in my head - it's a real physical problem). I live in an extremely pro-BF area, and people were always asking me why I wasn't breastfeeding. Of course, I was heartbroken that I couldn't, and frustrated by the whole expereince. An innoccent question like that would likely have sent me home in tears, especially at 3 weeks postpartum (right after we had the whole nipple preference/decision to stop pumping experience).
Of course, with my second, I'm taking about $150/month in prescription medications and supplements to help me breastfeed (still have to use formula a few times a day, even with all that) and I'm proud enough of this accomplishment that I probably would bring it up with anyone who looks even marginally interested!
I think the best thing to do is wait until she brings it up. You never know - if she wants to breastfeed and it isn't going well, you could cause a lot of unintended stress. Besides, she'll probbly tell you on her own - new moms aren't known for being too shy with the details!

Sue

Sue

I think "how's the baby eating?" or staying away from the whole feeding situation is wisest unless you have a pretty good idea of the answer. With my first, I tried to breastfeed, but due to low supply ended up switching to bottles at three weeks (I've had prior breast surgery, so it's not just in my head - it's a real physical problem). I live in an extremely pro-BF area, and people were always asking me why I wasn't breastfeeding. Of course, I was heartbroken that I couldn't, and frustrated by the whole expereince. An innoccent question like that would likely have sent me home in tears, especially at 3 weeks postpartum (right after we had the whole nipple preference/decision to stop pumping experience).
Of course, with my second, I'm taking about $150/month in prescription medications and supplements to help me breastfeed (still have to use formula a few times a day, even with all that) and I'm proud enough of this accomplishment that I probably would bring it up with anyone who looks even marginally interested!
I think the best thing to do is wait until she brings it up. You never know - if she wants to breastfeed and it isn't going well, you could cause a lot of unintended stress. Besides, she'll probbly tell you on her own - new moms aren't known for being too shy with the details!

Sue

hedra

In the flow of the conversation as stated, I don't think I'd find it too odd - it was clearly a discussion about the commiseration of early parenthood. But I can still see how it could have brought up really uncomfortable stuff at that point - that's a really rough patch for a lot of bfing moms, and juuuust late enough to be after they've given up on bfing if it was a bad start. It is also early enough that even a happy/content formula user would not be prepared for how to react.

IMHO, the context does kind of give a picture of the motivation (the 'why do you ask' being 'because we're talking about all the things that are challenging about early parenthood'), but the phrasing is unsubtle and potentially distressing. I'd have gone with something more like, 'and man, feeding them - that's a whole other challenge... (insert some details about my struggles, maybe - reminiscing may be annoying, too, but at least it is less personal for THEM, LOL!).'

AmyinMotown

With the added context, no I don't think it was inappropriate, because it was along the lines of "and that's a lot of work too, huh?" And while I was on the side of hating the question because of the dread of the implied judgy finger of judgement if the answer was no, I don't think it's inappropriate for a man to ask. It sounds like you had a cordial relationship with the new mom and were just asking by way of commiserating. If it were a random stranger, I might be put off but if it were a friendly neighbor (like it sounds Jeff is with the mom in question) it wouldn't bug me at all.

I am interested and rather taken aback, though, by the people who say you MUST feel comfortable about discussing breastfeeding, it's imperative. I don't, with people I don't know. I'm totally down with other people nursing wherever they'd feel OK about giving a bottle and certianly don't think it's something to be hidden or not discussed in polite company, but I don't feel comfortable discussing my personal choices about how I choose to parent my child with people I don't know well. I don't discuss with random strangers what she eats NOW, you know?

Mona

It wouldn't bother me, as someone who has nursed two kids and will be again (hopefully) in October but I don't think it's an appropriate question. People have very different perspectives and experiences regarding it and if you are trying and facing significant challenges, this can be very tough to answer. There are certain questions that should not be asked (like intentionalness of child spacing for example) because you either know the person well enough that you know the answer or you don't and therefore it's rude. Just my .02.

Jan

Liza, I guess I'm in the camp of needing to take responsibility for my own issues. In other words, if someone says, "do you mind if I ask ...", I have to be willing to say, "you know, I'm really not comfortable talking about it."

Again, I just feel like we'd all be better off if we assumed the askers intentions were good, or at least neutral. And if we also felt free to honor our own feelings about stuff (e.g. saying "I'd really rather not talk about it")

The problem is that if you start off a conversation determined to avoid anything that could possibly be touchy for the other person, you can't really talk about anything. Because once in awhile you're going to ask, "how's your Mom" and the response is going to be "she died last week of breast cancer". You know what I mean?

Lisa

I don't think it's rude (unless you are picking a fight or want to convince someone that one choice is "less-than", of course).

I wouldn't mind if anyone, male or female, asked me about our feeding situation, but I'm pretty laid-back about the whole thing. I think everyone should do what is best for their situations and their babies. Before I had my son, I thought of breasts as more sexual in nature, and I was not even sure if I'd be comfortable nursing. Now that I've done it, it's no big deal and they are just breasts, doing what they do with no big-deal stigma attached in my mind.

I notice a lot of people are more comfortable with the term "nursing" since it doesn't have the word (gasp!) BREAST in it - that helped my older family members who were a little conservative.

I guess it's like religion and politics, a topic ripe for an argument if both parties are not respectful and understanding and interested in talking about it.

Lisa

I don't think it's rude (unless you are picking a fight or want to convince someone that one choice is "less-than", of course).

I wouldn't mind if anyone, male or female, asked me about our feeding situation, but I'm pretty laid-back about the whole thing. I think everyone should do what is best for their situations and their babies. Before I had my son, I thought of breasts as more sexual in nature, and I was not even sure if I'd be comfortable nursing. Now that I've done it, it's no big deal and they are just breasts, doing what they do with no big-deal stigma attached in my mind.

I notice a lot of people are more comfortable with the term "nursing" since it doesn't have the word (gasp!) BREAST in it - that helped my older family members who were a little conservative.

I guess it's like religion and politics, a topic ripe for an argument if both parties are not respectful and understanding and interested in talking about it.

Christi

I can't remember if anyone else mentioned this, but when I play the conversation in my head, with me as the new mom, I feel more comfortable with the word 'nursing.' I don't know why.

That said...I bottlefed my first, due to incompatibility with the SSRI I was taking for ppd, and extended breastfed my second (using a different ssri, since I had ppd a second time)...but I don't think it would ever have bothered me to share those experiences with anyone, male or female. With me, it tended to be a 'don't ask if you don't really want to know,' thing, because i could definitely go on. :-)

I think having gay male friends helps, because I'm aware that men can be genuinely interested or curious about the process (or more generally, how things are going) than asking for prurient sorts of reasons. I think, in this context, what the original poster said makes more sense than the neighbor's chastisement, fwiw.

cat, galloping

i'm okay with that question so long as, if you asked it of me, you were prepared to laugh appreciatively to my response: "No, thank god!"

rudyinparis

I really appreciate Joe giving some context. Sounds like an awkwardly phrased question met up with some seriously deficient social skills (on the part of the person who criticized him).

Yeah, Amyinmotown, I agree with you. For me the idea that if you nurse you are REQUIRED to act--feel--think a certain way creeps me out. There are as many ways to be a mother as there are mothers! When will we be freed of ideological dogma?! (lol)

Fahmi

I didn't comment then, mainly because I saw the post a few days after the fact, but I thought it was a no-big-deal. It seems like, yeah, it's potentially an awkward question, because if the mother struggled with the breastfeeding then there's guilt to deal with. But I also think it's a perfectly natural thing to ask, since it's about baby care. I don't consider breast-feeding a personal question, at all. I wonder if this is a bit ingrained with the American tendency to shy away from anything breast related (wasn't there a magazine controversy recently about the picture of a baby nursing on the cover?).

I admit that if I'd been asked to weigh in on this before I had my child, I may have responded differently. It's amazing what going through the experience can do to open up my eyes to something so natural.

Shandra

I didn't respond to the original either. In this context it seems fine, but it was hard to judge without any.

Vaguely on topic - I really hate how parenting opens up all these very personal questions. I don't like most of them. Didn't like them when I was pregnant. I'm not sure why I feel that way, since I regularly offer information. But I just don't like being asked. I'll be glad when my son is 10 and everything is clearly my fault. :)

At the same time, I enjoy the benefits of the village. I understand why people reach out, with questions. But I am most appreciative of people who find a way to converse with me without asking all the traditional, intrusive questions into our family. I guess I am a bit repressed that way.

Lisa

Sorry - no idea how the double post keeps happening!

While I don't mind questions about my choices, I did find one woman's question a bit peculiar and thought you'd get a kick out of it.

During my pregnancy, she saw me regularly and would visibly assess the state of my belly and chest, which I thought was a bit unusual.

Finally, one day she asked, "Wow, you're really getting big there - has your milk come in?"

I did think that was a bit strange. I was so bewildered I just muttered something unintelligible and scurried away.

and ps - no offense to those who like "nursing" better (I do, too) - I was just using the "GASP" as poking fun at people like my dad who don't like to say "breast" even in the contexts of feeding or cancer. It looked a little snarky once I re-read my comment. No offense intended.

LEB

I've been thinking about this for days now & I still don't get why it's a big deal. I just don't understand the squeamishness at all. All the women in my family breastfed (g'ma, mother, MIL, sisters, SIL, cousins), all my friends breastfed, I've bfed in front of husbands of friends, elderly male relatives, acquaintances etc it would never occur to me that it was an issue. I find people thinking that it was odd for a man to be interested particularly weird & pretty sad actually.

I don't know, maybe it is a cultural thing? Are attitudes that different in America? (calling it nursing in the UK would be met with blank looks or worried questions about the baby's health)

Portland

The context helps, but I still don't think it's the greatest question to ask - it's just such an emotionally sensitive time for new mothers, and breastfeeding is SUCH a sensitive subject for many women. For those women, it takes awhile to reach a comfort level with your decision to not breastfeed, or with the realities of being unable to breastfeed. It isn't trying to shove breastfeeding into the closet - it's being a little bit respectful of this delicate time in a new family's life.

You could say something like, "Yeah, that rocking chair becomes fused to your body, huh? Are you on the every-two-hour feeding schedule?" instead, which is really what Joe was asking (not, in fact, whether the mother had chosen to breastfeed vs formula feed).

Believe me, breast + syringe feeding a baby who didn't wake herself up (thus necessitating a horrible alarm clock instead of baby cries to wake us!) and who took one of those two entire hours to eat, was just as exhausting as round the clock exclusive breastfeeding (and exclusive formula feeding can be horribly time consuming as well - no "fall asleep while nursing on your side," and LOTS more stuff to clean and sterilize, figuring out formula allergies, etc.) - so the assumption that breastfeeding was "requiring even more effort on her part" might not be fair.

pnuts mama

i didn't comment the first time but i don't think my answer has changed even with the context. i tried to picture my husband asking a brand new mom he hardly knows if she was breastfeeding, then i tried to picture myself as a new mom being asked by a man i hardly know asking me the question. i didn't feel comfortable in either of those imagined situations, and i'm know the reason is completely personal and based on the amount of judgement we received during our experiences with bfing pnut til she weaned herself at about 20 months. i also probably wouldn't have felt anymore comfortable if joe's wife had asked, either, for what that's worth. if it was a new-parent support group, maybe. but a picnic after a clean up down at the lake? and i don't even know you or much of anything about you? no. please, leave me alone, i'm exhausted and I'm not a sideshow at the circus.

the reason i would never ask a parent how they were feeding their child is because the issue is so loaded- what if the mom had said "no"? you are putting her in a position (at three weeks!!) to feel as though she needs to defend her choices to feed her child- either breast or formula or both. and even though i nursed, i'm pretty sure formula with a newborn is no picnic, either, so perhaps assuming that it's harder either way is not fair- it's hard any way! i am happy *NOW* to share my experiences and commiserate with any mom about how unbelievably difficult it was to nurse if they bring it up or allude to it. but it really isn't any of my business to ask specifically how anyone feeds their child- then or now. i have no problem sharing the fact that we breastfed pnut, and i support advocacy for it, but IMO today's parents have the info they need to make their own decisions and don't need my sanctimommyous nose sticking into their business. for me it goes back to the "why do you ask" question.

i asked my husband and he said he was happy to chat with any new dad and share our experiences when asked. he remembers those first few months as being starved for information as to "what was normal" (pre-moxie days) and other dads (and moms) were able to give him perspective and information that he didn't have yet. that may be the difference, for me, giving the choice to the new mom or dad to ask *you* "did your wife nurse? did your kid just want to eat from 2am straight on through til 6am every night? did you guys co-sleep?" etc etc. because you've already been there, and are *being asked* to share your experiences- instead of thrusting them on someone who may not even be interested in your experiences or feel overwhelmed by the question. so i guess until i'm asked maybe the new mom would be happier if i kept my bfing, etc. experiences to myself.

Eva

I don't know that breastfeeding is necessarily more work than bottle-feeding (although exclusively pumping, or nursing with problems, is certainly more work than strictly formula-feeding). I guess that seems like a weird assumption on his part to me.

His asking that question still felt like a challenge to me, even with the added info. Like was mentioned above, what is she isn't breastfeeding? Do you really want to make her go into why? Seems rude.

Sally Big Woods

It's interesting to me that Joe's question was posed as a question of etiquette. I'm not Miss Manners, or Emily Post, but what I appreciate about etiquette is that it gives guidelines for our behavior in situations where we're not sure what to do, in case we might offend someone. It's not how we might WANT to behave or express our political beliefs. It's the behavior we need to express in order to get along in situations with people we don't know that well.

I still can't really tell how well Joe knows the nursing mom. It's nice that he and his wife sent the card. If he doesn't know the mom v. well, then I would say the same rules apply to conversation that apply in the "real world": Stay away from religion, politics, and subjects that might be uncomfortable. Some commenters have said that following these guidelines, people would never talk at all - but they are guidelines for avoiding offending people we don't know well. From the tone of many of the comments, the Breastfeeding discussion could fall under the heading of "politics". Just a thought.

I nursed both my kids. I have thought about Joe's question a lot over the past days. I put myself in his shoes, the nursing mom's shoes, the "joking" neighbor etc. [btw, I think comments made "in jest" can be rude too, and somewhat passive-aggressive. If the person really feels that way, they should "own" their feelings, not hide behind some statement of "you took it the wrong way." Sheesh that drives me crazy!!! PLUS, what is more rude than (the neighbor guy) trying to CORRECT someone's perceived breach of etiquette??? ugh. /rant]
I have gone back and forth, back and forth - felt it's 100% ok and good to talk about nursing, take away the mystique. On the other hand, I wouldn't feel comfortable talking about it with ALL men, some men, yes, and Joe's clarification made it seem like I would love to talk to Joe about my experiences. But it really depends for me. I cherish my nursing experiences, but the second time around was really friggin' hard with recurrent mastitis. I STILL don't like talking about it!

So, to make a long post longer, I see both sides, and feel like, etiquette has a purpose. If we aren't sure that a topic might offend, maybe better to steer clear 'til you know the lay of the land better....

Love Moxie's Blog!


Ariella

I didn't need context the first time, and I don't need it now. Questions like that are fine with me and I think they help to make people more comfortable with breastfeeding, in general, which helps to promote public breastfeeding. I would welcome all such questions.

Shelley

"Breastfeeding is only one of many questions that folks ask about new babies - I get all sorts of questions regarding diapers (cloth/disposable), sleeping (crib/co-sleeping), etc. Yes, many of these questions are tinged with Potential Judgment, but that's LIFE." Kelli, I agree, and you can add working/staying home to that list among many other things. But for me, breastfeeding was by far the most sensitive of all of those topics, because it was the only one where I truly felt I'd FAILED MY BABY. Otherwise, I felt pretty good about my parenting choices and would have had no problem with questions from anyone on any of it.

To clarify, I know I'M the one with the sensitivity, but it's all about my own personal situation -- in no way do I feel the topic is taboo. I think Joe's comments to the new mom would have been less awkward if he had made a statement like, "...and breastfeeding the baby is so hard too," rather than a direct question the new mom had to respond to.... that way she could choose to nod and smile and change the subject, or launch into a discussion of how nursing has been hard, or whatever felt most comfortable to her.

annoyed

I am so annoyed .... Ariella and all the others who think that conversations like the one Joe related somehow "promote" breastfeeding ... this shows such a lack of sensitivity to women who've had a really terrible time with establishing breastfeeding, who might feel tremendous grief or guilt or overwhelm about it ... being directly questioned about how you are choosing to feed your child - or whether you co-sleep or sleep train or baby-wear or anything else - when your baby is THREE WEEKS OLD - is not at all supportive to new mothers. It can be very invasive, unless you approach it very delicately and with the utmost concern for showing support for *whatever* choice the new mom has made. It's a challenging time, and new moms do not need to be challenged - even if it isn't intended that way. If you *really* MUST know how a mother is feeding her baby in order to find some common conversation ground to commiserate, get to it in a roundabout way that gives her an "out" if she doesn't want to discuss it. "Is your baby eating OK? Mine struggled for a bit!" or whatever. The details will reveal themselves soon enough, and if the mom is up for a conversation or debate over the finer points, you'll know pretty quickly. Ariella - questions like that would NOT make a struggling-to-breastfeed new mother more comfortable with the idea, and using her to have some sort of platform at a party to rah rah the breastfeeding cause just isn't right. Get a bumper sticker. Sorry if this sounds harsh - I've read all this for a few days now, and it's bugging me! For the record - I am totally pro-breastfeeding. But still!

Andrea

If strange women in the grocery store can come up to me and ask me if I'm breastfeeding, why can't a man that I know?

I didn't answer the question the first time around because I didn't get to check the site until today due to my baby having an ear infection. Knowing the context doesn't really change how I feel about being asked. My baby is almost 6 months old now (she is my first), and I must admit that I was a little uncomfortable about the "invasive" questions during the first couple of weeks, both from men and women. It may be because I live in the south, but I've had a LOT of strangers ask me very pointed questions without giving me a reason for the questions. Granted, I didn't ask them why they wanted to know, but I've gotten really good at fielding the questions. I don't mind talking about breastfeeding or actually breastfeeding in public. I do try my best to be as discreet as possible about it and do it at the most opportune time and place.

I guess because I'm a knowledge-addict, I don't mind answering the questions because apparently, since they asked, they wanted to know! Though I will admit my answers vary slightly depending on who I'm talking to. I might have answered Joe with a very simple, "yes, we're giving it a go," whereas I would have answered his wife with, "yes, and my nipples sure are sore!" (Okay, maybe not that blatent, but you get the idea.)

Another reason I don't really have a problem with men asking is because my husband would have probably asked the woman the same thing because to him choosing whether or not to breastfeed is part of being a new mom. I've shared with him my fears, my questions, my ponderings, my pain, my pleasure, even my flow status for the day. :) If the woman he asked answered, "well, we tried, but it didn't work out," he would be sincere in his consolating response because he knows how important it was to me.

I'll step off the box now. Sorry about that.

Shelley

"If strange women in the grocery store can come up to me and ask me if I'm breastfeeding, why can't a man that I know?"

If I'm understanding correctly, the general consensus among us who don't think it's a great idea to ask a new mom "are you breastfeeding" in such a direct way don't find that it makes a difference whether the questioner is male or female, a stranger or casual acquaintance.

Niki

One thing I haven't seen any commenters...um, comment on is this: The comment came from a man, who doesn't appear to have been the mother's husband. Our poster, worried that maybe the man was right, came to "the source" to ask women how they feel about it. Not surprisingly, the answer is, "it varies!"

Sounds to me very much like the guy who interjected was uncomfortable with the question. And the phrasing of his rebuke makes it sound very much like the objection came from a gendered perspective: You can't ask women about their breasts!!!!

For all of these reasons, I'd say the context changes things greatly. They were discussing the challenges of parenthood, which is very different from casting about for small talk. So, it wasn't at all an unreasonable thing to ask. And really, the best way to know if it was a mistake in this particular situation is to gauge the woman's reaction. Did she shrug of the other guy, and proceed to discuss breastfeeding and some of its challenges with you? Or did she give you a short answer and move on to another subject? (If the latter, this doesn't necessarily mean you were out of line; she might simply not have wanted to talk about it.) I don't think your question was doltish, in any case.

All that said, I do think breastfeeding is really emotionally charged. So I can really respect those who would rather not talk about it, and would prefer that nobody ask. I just...well, it seems that lots of things can be emotionally charged, if you as a parent have struggled with it. "Are you letter her cry it out?" "What are you feeding her?" and etc. It seems unrealistic to expect a conversation partner to know the exact minefields.

One possible solution to this conundrum is to adjust the form of the query. Most new parents are terrified they're doing something wrong. And so many people are happy to confirm this. So a question directed at the parent's choices is going to carry a greater risk than one directed at the child's activities. So, "is she nursing?" "How is she sleeping?" Etc. It seems like questions about the child move away from an implied "What choices are you making!!?!!?" might be the wisest choice with someone who's merely an acquaintance.

But if you're in a discussion where the new parent is specifically talking about her experience, what she's doing, what she's feeling, I think it's right and proper to ask questions directed at the parent's actions.

This brings me back to my own gauge for these sorts of questions: If I am interested in the person's experience (whether comparing notes with my own, or simply to support and listen to a friend), I don't worry too much about intrusiveness. If I am asking out of curiosity, or idle chit chat, the risk of overstepping my bounds is almost 100%. I don't always succeed at making this distinction, but I try.

pnuts mama

i agree with shelley- gender for me is irrelevant, the pointed question is what bothers me. it would have been different if the new mom had made reference to breastfeeding with some key words (such as: lansinoh, plugged duct, engorgement, etc.) and then instead of asking "oh, are you breastfeeding?" (because, well, duh) and then perhaps the better response could have been "oh, my wife (or in the case of a woman, I) breastfed and found it _____ (challenging, wonderful, different than i expected, etc) and allowed the discussion to progress.

the actual question "are you also breastfeeding"- that to me is the business of the new mom to bring to you, not you to fish for an answer. if the new mom shares the info with you, or asks you your experience (looking for support), feel free. if not, just make small talk and offer to bring by a pizza on wednesday.

i'm sorry, but this topic has really struck a nerve. i just feel for that new mom.

lydia

Maybe a little off topic, but...

I'm breastfeeding my second child now. I don't really like it. It's going fine, certainly better than it did with my first child. I'm sometimes pretty uncomfortable rather than always in awful pain like before. Still, I'd rather quit now that he's three months. But this little twerp won't take a binky or a bottle so I'm kind of stuck.

Anyhoo....my MIL, who has watched all three of her grandchildren's mothers push ourselves to breastfeed through all kinds of problems, thinks that vocal pro-breastfeeding folks should be ridden out of town on a rail. Our pre baby-boomer mothers and grandmothers all (okay, maybe I exaggerate) think we're completely nuts to focus on long-term breastfeeding as some kind of brass ring of motherhood. Look at it this way: a whole generation of women LEAPT at the chance not to breastfeed...and maybe now we're learning some of the reasons why.

Katie

So, it's only mothers that can be concerned with what babies are consuming?

No way: Of course he could ask.

When I took my first plane trip with Cricket, the man across the aisle from me asked if I was breastfeeding. I didn't find anything odd about it at all. In fact I think I had a plane crush on him for being so concerned and such a cute dad.

Ahmed

This is awesome. Im an Army offcier and wish that the Army would take the necessary steps to make provisions for breastfeeding mothers. The first step would be to inject the new federal laws into the Army doctrine. Its a baby step but one step closer to a MOM-friendly Army. I wish I knew where to start. Im definitely intersted in facilitating change. You should be honored that you are helping so many.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Search Ask Moxie


Sign Up For My Email Newsletter

Blah blah blah

  • My expertise is in helping people be who they want to be, with a specialty in how being a parent fits into everything else. I like people. I like parents. I think you're doing a fantastic job. The nitty-gritty of what you do with your kids is up to you, although I'm happy to post questions here to get data points of how you could try approaching different stages, because, let's face it, this shit is hard. As for me, I have two kids who sleep through the night and can tie their own shoes. I've been a married SAHM, a married freelance WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WOHM, and now a WAHM again. I'm not buying the Mommy Wars and I'll come sit next to you no matter how you're feeding your kid. When in doubt, follow the money trail. And don't believe the hype.
Blog powered by Typepad