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Mothering › Groups › September 2012 Due Date Club › Discussions › Hurtful comments about BFing

Hurtful comments about BFing

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hoping this doesn't sound too dramatic.. I just HAVE to get this out!

I have had a horrible day, thanks to a "friend's" facebook status about women who don't cover up while breastfeeding. The post literally said "So I am not understanding this whole breastfeeding in public thing, first of all what is so hard about throwing a thin blanket over your shoulder, what happened to modesty?" This really upset me and ruined what was otherwise a nice weekend at my in-laws with DH and DS.
This friend knows that I do not use a blanket while breastfeeding but I do not show anything either. Because I know she knows this I felt like this was a very personal attack and took it very hard.
Several other friends commented on her status in agreement with her and were talking about women NIP or mixed company w/o covering and how uncomfortable it makes them. I am pretty sure that I am the only woman that they would have seen do this, so their comments also feel personal.
 I sent her a private message explaining to her how hurt it made me and also explaining why I do not cover up and letting her know that she is welcome to leave the room or look away if it makes her uncomfortable.
I got a very nasty message back about how it isn't difficult to cover up and it is impossible not to show anything while BFing. And how it is disrespectful to others.
I honestly cannot tell you how lonely I feel now. It feels like I have no one (besides DH and our immediate families) who respect me and my decisions and I have been crying all day because of it. No one wants to feel like they are alone and that is how it feels. I can't imagine that something as simple as this would alienate people, it's so stupid!
Anyway I was hoping this would be a safe place for me to vent my feelings and hopefully find some healing. If anyone can pass on some encouragement I would be incredibly grateful.

post #2 of 24

I have never covered up while breastfeeding either, and I got my fair share of rude comments and disapproving looks as well. Mostly they were from strangers and that's hard enough. It really hurts when it is a friend or family member. You are a wonderful mommy and I respect mothers who don't feel the need to cover up something natural and beautiful!hug2.gif

post #3 of 24
No advice, just hugs mama. I'm sorry that your friend(s) said that, and I'm sorry that you're feeling hurt.

I pretty religiously prune the FB friends list -- but I've never had to deal with any kind of personal attack/issue.

It sounds like these are people you interact with IRL pretty frequently, too.

I think people post a lot of things / email a lot of things that they would never say in person. (I taught an online class, and in 6 years of in-seat teaching have never had students be so rude to each other as some occasionally were in the online discussions.)
post #4 of 24

UGH. You handled yourself very nicely. I would have lost it right on her wall.  In fact, I *just* had a BF debate on a friend's wall with a total moron who happened to post such crap about BFing vs formula feeding. My blood just boils when people spew ignorance.


It's pretty sad that because breastfeeding makes someone uncomfortable that it is automatically the nursing mother's fault and our problem and WE need to do something about it. Ha! That's insane. 


Yes, let me drape a hot blanket over me and my baby because YOUR comfort level is what's important here. Ugh. Suck it.


Sorry. Didn't mean to go off on a rant. hide.gif

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

Worldshakerz - Thanks.. It is so hard hearing this from friends especially in such an underhanded way. Thankfully I have very supportive family. DH, my in-laws and my parents are all very supportive of me, so that is nice. I guess it could be worse.  also think part of why I am upset could be hormonal... I have had some terrible mood swings.


crystal_buffaloe - I definitely think you are right about the online thing, I took online classes so I know EXACTLY what you are talking about! One of the reasons I sent her a PM instead of waiting to talk in person though, is because I can usually articulate my feelings better in writing and without sounding like a witch. These are people I see pretty regularly and my husband works with some of  them. I don't think this will spill into work though.


I really don't have a problem with women covering while nursing, I really try to respect everyone for their choices even if I disagree. I just thought since I tried to give people that courtesy I would receive it back... guess I was wrong.

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 

LOL MamanFrancaise! After the whole Chick-Fil-A non-sense I decided not get into debates on FB because you are right, there is an abundance of moronic spewing going on. It was incredibly difficult for me to come sound patient even though I wanted SOOOOO badly to use "colorful" language to emphasize a few points wink1.gif

Your right, why should the BFing mother leave the room? Absolute non-sense! DH had a friend who asked him to ask me to cover up while I nursed. That went over like a ton of bricks, I can tell you that.... For a while whenever I would nurse in front of this friend I would pretend to frantically be looking for a blanket. I decided if this friend ever said anything to me (which he wouldn't because, well that's just the way he is) I would say "oh no, I don't mind if you leave the room. Why don't you go eat in the bathroom, if it's good enough for me and my baby." I really do have to be careful about what I say because my husband works with most of the people involved in this whole ordeal, but that also frustrates me that I am the one who has to keep her mouth shut and let everyone just run their mouths... Hopefully people notice how dumb they sound... Man I am starting to feel better! Thanks!

post #7 of 24
Butting in again.

Is it an option to just defriend her?

There are a few people with whom I (very occasionally) interact socially that I just quietly defriended on FB. This was on account of politics, and we can still be sociable, so I can see how something personal would be different, but my theory is that I want my FB friends to be my actual friends and life is just too short for a bunch of drama.

I also just wanted to say that you BFing in a way that works for you and your family is doing a lot more good than her trivial post is doing harm. You're doing the absolute best thing for your LO (he's just 10 months, right?), all while showing the other people around you that BFing is normal. Actions speak a lot more than words.

I'll also second mamanfrancaise's sentiment. Since when is HER comfort level part of the equation? If "a friend" walked up to a woman and made hurtful comments about how much skin they were showing or the manner in which were eating, that would be inappropriate/jerky/bullying/harassing behavior.
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 

I am not sure about defriending her... I have thought about it, but because we interact a decent amount on FB and in person I don't think I can defriend her quietly...

Yes DS is 10, almost 11 months old, and honestly I sometimes prefer to take him into another room to nurse because he is very nosy and is always popping off to look around, plus with my big belly it is very awkward to nurse him in front of people. This is for my comfort though, not someone else's. IMO if would not ask a girl in a bikini to cover herself up than you certainly have no business telling a BFing mother to cover up!

post #9 of 24
Oh, I think I was cross-posting with you. Well, you could always block her so that you don't see what she posts. I have my MIL on "limited profile" so she only sees about 1/2 of my status updates -- this is not because I'm talking about her or saying anything that would offend her, she just comments/calls both me and DH about everything I post -- this way, I only get multiple comments and text messages 1/2 the time lol.gif

We went through a particularly trying phase at 9 months where I'd have to go into a dark room and nurse side-lying. I nursed on a lot of people's and some virtual stranger's beds. (Somehow, this was perfectly socially acceptable? and nursing in the living room is not for some people? good grief.) Believe me, I always had a receiving blanket -- so as not to get milk on anyone's comforter!
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 

Well I think I may defriend her and her husband be cause he just said on FB that he had" seen a boob or two" and "you know who you are"...DH is pissed

post #11 of 24

do you have any attachment parenting groups or even LLLi around to look for other IRL folks around you that might just feel the way you do? 

I did cover up w/ my first b/c she was soooo hard to latch that it was less stressful for me but by the time she was 6 months she was better at latching and kicked off the hooter hider. W/ my second I never even looked to find the hider.  It just felt like a waste of time, esp since my kids were super fast nursers.


I think its just our culture that folks still aren't used to seeing bfeeding everywhere so they think its yucky or improper or something like that but the more moms that are nursing these days, the more their kids will be used to seeing it and then the more that their grandkids will be nursed, and so on. Remember that the last two generations didn't nurse much so its gonna be a pave-the-way thing for awhile. One thing that really opened my mind to bfeedin anywhere is to read extended stories like this one.http://www.drmomma.org/2009/07/breastfeeding-in-land-of-genghis-khan.htmlhttp://www.drmomma.org/2009/07/breastfeeding-in-land-of-genghis-khan.html

post #12 of 24

I'm so sorry you are getting this sort of treatment from a so called friend. :(


I found this blog post awhile ago, and I really think it applies: http://livingpeacefullywithchildren.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/a-matter-of-choice/


I hope it's not against Mothering rules to quote a small portion of it. This is my favourite line: "The choice to cover oneself, including covering when breastfeeding, is a personal choice. Women who choose to cover do so out of personal preference based on their beliefs. To tell tell others that they should cover themselves is an attempt at oppression, whether the cover is meant for the woman’s head or her child’s."


What your friend and her husband are doing is an attempt at oppression through shame. Good for you for standing up to them. 

post #13 of 24
PHD in parenting has a good article/video along the lines of what Carlin was saying. (I'm actually wondering if the two blog authors were reading each other or if they just independently made the connection): http://www.phdinparenting.com/2010/01/27/covering-up-is-a-feminist-issue/#.UB9Ee02PWNB
post #14 of 24

Absolutely enfuriating. I like to take the high road with things like that, too. But holy hell!! Sometimes I just envision myself acting on the same level of maturity and it's SOOO tempting! I can think of a lot of lifestyle choices that I personally would not choose for myself, but to blatantly ridicule them on a public forum knowing that I had friends who choose that for themselves? Unacceptable behavior. 
Good on you for being the bigger person.

post #15 of 24
I was thinking about this a tad more and if you do want to continue your friendship, a slight thought-change for you might be to actually view these moms that feel they MUST cover (its a different story if one chooses to b/c they or baby are more calm that way) as sorta sad for them in a weird way. When I feel baby's crying in strollers in stores, clearly hungry, I just wish mom would feel the freedom to just stop and nurse where ever they are. I also felt bad for a mom in my moms club that pumped milk before the group get together so she wouldn't worry about privacy. Now, maybe she had a distracted baby and it was too hard but it was just a bunch of moms nursing in a circle. No reason to feel like she needed to pump.
post #16 of 24

I'm SO sorry for her behavior.

I'm sure her Dh has seen some breast, I hope he's seen hers!  And if not, i'm sure he's seen more then what you 'flashed' by going to the beach.  good grief.


I would have been passive aggressive and posted a meme or someother fb picture thing about covering up.  You know, 'cause that would be oh so mature on my part as well.  


You showed remarkable restraint and adult choices by e-mailing her.  go you.





This is what i would have posted in response.  Cause I'm a grown up like that.

post #17 of 24

I'm sorry this happened to you, and I would definitely be hurt.  It's so easy for people to think that their way is the only right way and that other people need correcting.  I would (try to) drop it and continue rocking on with your breastfeeding life :)  Her DH sounds like a moron to be honest, better that you know that now.  Can you click that down arrow on the right of her posts and make it so that you 'unsubscribe' to her . . . meaning you're still FB friends but you don't see her posts unless you go to her page, or just subscribe to her 'important posts'?  I do this for a few of my closed-minded opinion spouting relatives that I can't de-friend! :)


I haven't had to deal with this with breastfeeding yet, but even my own mother makes the occasional thoughtless remark about natural childbirth.  It was really bothering me for a while and eventually she said something that completely contradicted her previous remarks and I realized that she is just chatting and doesn't actually have the strong convictions (or even the detailed knowledge of the subject) that she seems to have.  The best was her saying that people who really care about having a natural birth (like me!) are like people who only care about having a huge, perfect wedding (great birth experience) instead of focusing on the marriage (having a healthy child).  I was so hurt and irritated and stewed on it, then a week later she mentioned that she told our neighbor quite strongly that having a natural birth is best for mother and baby.  HAHA.  So now it's so much easier for whatever craziness she comes up with to just sliiiiide off my back because it's clear that she just wants to chat with me about babies and pregnancy, and isn't necessarily so SOLD on what she's saying. 


She was also pretty anti-cloth diapering until our adorable cloth diapers showed up in the mail and she started carrying one around with her to show her friends and sisters.


Does your friend have kids?  Does she BF?  Wait til she is trying to cover her squirmy baby under a hot blanket!

post #18 of 24

I am so sorry you had to ggo through this this weekend.  It is really good that you got your feelings off your chest.  Are there any nursing groups in your area where you may make some like-minded local friends?  I have never had anyone say something hurtful like what they said to you, but I do find that it is really helpful for me to comliment other mamas when they do nurse in public etc.  Hang in there, there are lots of people on your team!

post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the blogs everyone, they were super sweet!


Katt- I saw that picture and wanted so badly to post something like that but my husband works with a lot of these people so I felt like I needed to use more restraint than I would have otherwise... It sucks being the bigger person... If I didn't have to see these people regularly I would have gone off...


her last PM to me said that she valued my friendship and wanted to talk more about this in person. I haven't responded because of her husbands comments and am still considering defriending both of them. DH was super pissed by what her husband said, I wonder if anything will be said at work. Her husband PMed my husband and that he was sorry IF he hurt me and for my dh to please tell me that... When DH left for work I told him tht her husband can apologize to me and not through him. 


Anyway she said that she honestly wanted to know why women choose not to cover up and I told her she handled it horribly. She should have only asked moms who don't cover that question instead of posting it publicly for any moron to comment on, most of whom don't have kids and have never BF (it's amazing how much you know before you have kids right?). If she genuinely wanted to know why women chose not to then she wouldn't have started that thread.


She has a 5 year old who is an absolute monster and bullies my younger brothers (6,4, and 2) constantly. I haven't said a whole lot about it because honestly they are new to being "good" parents and I just thought it was part of the learning curve and besides when I do, they don't do anything about it. I won't be quiet about anything more that happens though. She did breastfeed but made a big deal about covering up and how it wasn't difficult.


FINALLY at the end of the thread someone other than DH called them on being total jackasses in the name of modesty and righteousness.


They just make me sick because I was attacked for not being modest and how religiously you should be more modest. I also know that everyone on that thread who lives near here knows exactly who he was talking about when he said "and you know who you are"


One funny thing I get a little bit of pleasure out of knowing (not that anything would come of it but it still makes me feel better) is that this friend's husband's boss(who is very much pro BFing and APing and really could care less if I covered) is like a second dad to me and my dad has a lot of influence with the boss too (everyone works at a small family business) this guy is also the last one hired, not related to anyone and low man on the totem pole. So he really is a moron for attacking me...


I eally appreciate having a safe place to vent... thanks mamas!

post #20 of 24

Ugh, I'm so sorry you're having to go through this!  Why is it always moms who go with the more natural route have to take the criticism?  I say NOTHING to other moms who do things that make me cringe: my friend who scheduled her induction as soon as the docs would let her at 39 weeks; my SIL who scheduled a c-section/tummy tuck at 37 weeks; my co-worker who eats McDonalds or Chef Boyardee ravioli every day for lunch and thinks I'm insane because I want to nurse; etc. etc. etc.  God forbid we should say something about our choices being best for baby, because we're acting high and mighty.


For the time being at least, you have to surround yourself with people who support your decisions.  However you need to do that, please make that happen for yourself.  It is unconscionable for a "friend" to be so unkind to you when you're about to give birth to a baby, and I'm really sorry you're going through this.  As a mom who plans to nurse whenever and wherever my baby girl asks, I salute you for taking care of your children.  When I see moms nursing, I don't look for blankets of shawls; I look to make sure they're in a comfy chair with a bottled water and maybe even a snack nearby.  Sheesh.

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