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Yesterday I went to see a friend and her 2 month old baby. This was the first time I had seen the baby since he was born. During her pregnancy (second child), the friend was taking breastfeeding classes and seeing a wonderful LC. She said she really wanted to breastfeed this baby, as it didnt work out with her first one. About 15 minutes after I got there, she told me had given up after 3 weeks because it was hell and she didnt want to tell me because she thought I would be mad!
Sure, I am a huge lactivist and I wish every woman and child could be successful at it. But, I don't want others to think that I will be mad at them, or think less of them, if they dont. 2 years ago, maybe. But I have grown a lot and learned a lot.

This has been on my heart heavily since then. Do others find it difficult to maintain friendships with mothers who do not, for whatever reason, breastfeed? Are you accused of being judgemental, even though you dont feel that you are? Is it something we are doing, or is it their own guilt? How can we remain passionate about breastfeeding without turning others off?
 

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Good questions-- I am still nursing my 2.5 yr old and feel that a pregnant friend of mine is on edge around me thinking I'm going to judge her for only bfing 6 months (what she plans). For all I know she may be judging me for bfing as long as I have. I am certainly not going to browbeat her or anyone to bf or anything else. So, no answers here-- interested to see what others say.

Zoe, mama to Thomas 01/06
 

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I have a friend who's daughter is the same age as mine. She pumped for 8 months for her, due to some bad advice that ruined lo's latch.

She now has #2 and has been having issues from the start- some due to reflux, some due to her DH wanting more sleep and giving lo a bottle gets him back to sleep easier than dealing with nursing.

She claims to 'really want to make it work' and it makes me really sad, because I can see a few simple fixes that would really help. She has asked my advice on a couple of occassions and I have told her what I think would help. But other than that I keep my mouth shut. She is doing the best she can with what she has and I don't want to make her feel worse. I'm willing to give advice when asked, but I don't want to alienate her, y'know?

I would be so hurt if she thought I was mad at her for her choices.
 

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I have to bite my tongue. A neighbor is due next month she didn't nurse her first although she planned on it. So she decided that her first dd will be jealous if she nurses her second. But in the same breath she tells me how expensive formula has become. Personally, I think she saw how easy she could dump her dd off on grandparents that she wants the same with the new one.
This weekend I was at a party where a mom whose baby was 7 months said her pedi. told her to quit at 3 weeks because the baby "only" weighed 9 pounds, the baby was 6 pounds at birth. Apparnetly 3 pounds in three weeks isn't enough?????
So I just let it go. They know I bf and am there for them if they need help. In fact at the same party a mom is due next month, planning on bf'ing her second after getting bad advice for her first I let her know I could try and help if I could.
 

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i have a friend who FF's (had trouble with BF but managed somewhat for a month or so) and I've never felt at all judgmental of her. I think the main reason it was not that difficult is that she's very pro-breastfeeding and I've never heard her make anything resembling a negative comment about it.
 

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Originally Posted by luvmy3bees View Post
This weekend I was at a party where a mom whose baby was 7 months said her pedi. told her to quit at 3 weeks because the baby "only" weighed 9 pounds, the baby was 6 pounds at birth. Apparnetly 3 pounds in three weeks isn't enough?????
Yikes! That's why I'm not looking forward to Pedi appointments! I hope I can find a good one! Not that I'm naive enough to just take their word for it, but I don't want it to be an uphill battle every appointment, and I don't want to have to debate whether to take a sick baby to the doc for fear of getting BS spewed at me left and right.
 

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You can read my closed thread about dealing with a friend that quit. I think a lot of times, the mother is dealing with her own guilt over stopping and almost feels like your "success" is like throwing her "failure" in her face. Does that make sense? My friend didn't ask for my advice, imo because she really didn't want to continue. I feel sad, very sad about this, and don't know how to be a lactivist without being accused of being judgmental. I hope this is ok to put in this forum.
 

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I guess in combining lactivism with my friends, my most open lactivism is when a friend is pregnant - I will send an email out with a list of good books for while she's pregnant (or while his wife is pregnant), for baby time, and a separate list of breastfeeding books on the list too. I am a bit of a wonk and my friends know I like to research stuff, so I think most of them realize that these were the best books I found on the subject, and that I'm trying to save them time finding good books themselves. That's the way I approach it, anyway.

I also sometimes will mention that we had some rough times breastfeeding dd1, and that we're up late and more than happy to talk through struggles they might have; I suggest LLL meetings before baby arrives.

....That said, SIL weaned her preemie at 4 months. And didn't tell us for another three months. And I have friends who've bf'd for varying lengths of time ... many of them make it a year (or nearly a year); a couple close friends have nursed past a year with my example and encouragement, with their second babies. One, nursed her first two years and weaned her second promptly at a year (because she thought it would be easier to wean then, than otherwise). I know I've got some friends who've ff'd from the beginning, or nearly the beginning ... one due to a medication (and I think poor MD advice) and others, I'm not sure why and haven't asked.

In terms of the judgmentalism issue .... For whatever reason, I seem to come across as judgmental. For people who've done personality tests, I am a "Green" in the Colors test, and in Meyers-Briggs I'm an ESTJ - which can come across as judgemental, but isn't really. I am just a very analytical person, and I do like to discuss/argue things too sometimes. I think those who know me well, know that I'm open-minded. My professional career has been mostly in a supervisory, HR type position with lots of interaction with people so it's an area I've worked on for a long time but that perception I think can still be out there for me.

So .... while I try not to judge (and mostly just feel sad for the moms and babies who weren't able to breastfeed, for whatever reason/barrier they encountered) - I know that some people may infer a judgment that I've never spoken and likely never thought. There's that "guilt" which sometimes gets externalized and placed on others .... Add to that, the fact that we dealt with some serious supply issues, FTT, multiple food allergies and a strict ED with dd1 and a strict ED with SJ too, and I think that whether I think it or not, people who've quit breastfeeding might assume that I'm judging them.

I can't control, though, what other people assume. All I can do is try to moderate my own statements and interactions so that I don't come across as "judgmental."

I try to stress that any breastmilk is good; that there are a lot of barriers against successful breastfeeding .... To ask for help, and that it's worth it. And I try to give "mad props" to moms who are breastfeeding (especially if they've had struggles). But in the end, even complimenting a mother for managing to negotiate a pumping schedule with her work, could be inferred to be a judgment of a mother who wasn't able to or chose not to, KWIM?


Where I really struggle, in breastfeeding conversations/discussions, is when the other person begins the conversation defensively from the beginning. When they are already defensive, it's hard to disarm them enough to support them for what they accomplished, while still kindly providing good information if they got lousy information/advice. This has only happened to me with my sister ... but it's a rough conversation to negotiate.

For me, the issue is larger than the individual experience - breastfeeding and breastmilk is best for mothers and their babies. Backed by every study ever conducted on the issue, every medical group, etc. But there are huge social barriers to successful breastfeeding, whether via our health care system, or employment, or social support systems .... Trying to bring the focus to the big picture, and to overall support for breastfeeding and why it's that important, regardless of whether the person I'm talking with was breastfed, had breastfed children [for whatever amount of time], or etc. There are lots of individual reasons that breastfeeding (or its duration) doesn't happen for a mother/child dyad. We need to recognize those reasons - but when we allow the focus to be so narrowed down that those are our only focus, that's when it's most likely that people will be defensive about it. If we can instead broaden the conversation to focus beyond the individual situation (i.e., Mom says that she had a low supply and dried up when she went back to work) - and talk about what we as a society need to do to change that (i.e., longer paid maternity leaves, better breast pump legislation as Senator Mahoney is trying to pass, workplace support of time for mothers to express their milk) .... then that's a bigger picture.

The formula companies try to keep the focus narrow. When mothers (naturally) look at their own perception of their success breastfeeding/formula feeding, then it's easy for the perception to become that criticism of formula vs. breastmilk etc. is a criticism of them, rather than a criticism of a larger social construct which needs to be changed.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by elanorh View Post
I can't control, though, what other people assume. All I can do is try to moderate my own statements and interactions so that I don't come across as "judgmental."
That is well said. My sister's internal idea of my reaction to her giving up BFing was far beyond what I actually felt (which was helpless and sad rather than angry with her), and she was unwilling to call a LLL leader for help or attend a meeting while pregnant because she was sure they would criticize her for FFing both her DD's.

So while I try to tread carefully and watch my own assumptions, keeping in mind people are doing the best they can at any given time, I'm sure things get taken the wrong way sometimes, and I can't control how they respond. Not that I'm perfect--I do put my foot in my mouth sometimes.


Active listening and non-violent communication skills are great tools for relating effectively with others under any circumstances, IMO.
 

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I often feel like my FF friends (of which I have many) feel awkward about it with me, which is absurd because although I am a huge supporter of BFing, I FF my first baby!! I usually tell them so, and then I find they relax about it.
 

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Yikes! That's why I'm not looking forward to Pedi appointments! I hope I can find a good one! Not that I'm naive enough to just take their word for it, but I don't want it to be an uphill battle every appointment, and I don't want to have to debate whether to take a sick baby to the doc for fear of getting BS spewed at me left and right.

Don't worry, there are lots of great, BFing friendly peds out there. My ped has a 6 foot banner in the lobby over the front desk that says " ___ is Breastfeeding Friendly!"
LOVE that!
 

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Originally Posted by MommytoTwo View Post
Don't worry, there are lots of great, BFing friendly peds out there. My ped has a 6 foot banner in the lobby over the front desk that says " ___ is Breastfeeding Friendly!"
LOVE that!
lol, yeah, there is a ped out here that was recommended (BF friendly, doesn't push circ or vax, etc) I'm not sure if my insurance covers him though. Gotta get on that!
 
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