Breast is best! But you do whatever you want.
February 13, 2014 2:57 AM Subscribe
How to encourage someone to breastfeed without making them feel bad if they don't?
posted by lollymccatburglar to Human Relations (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Two of my husband's sisters are pregnant, due this spring. I myself have a six-month-old baby. In the country where we live (where my husband and his family are from) "breast is best" has only been pushed by the medical establishment in the last decade. It is gaining a lot of traction, but culturally it is still not quite the thing. Not a single one of my husband's brothers or sisters, any of his dozens of cousins, and or any of his cousins' young children were ever breastfed. I've had to deal with a lot of incomprehension and even pushback from my family-in-law for exculsively breastfeeding my son these last six months, from things like "You mean you ONLY breastfeed him?? But he's so big and healthy!" to "All my kids got bottles. I was never milked like a cow." My own family is very pro-breastfeeding, so I had their support, and I was very commmited to the idea from the beginning.
Both my sisters-in-law want to breastfeed, but I am afraid that they will not have much support from their family. The first few weeks (or months!) of breastfeeding can be a special kind of hell, which I remember all too well, and it really helped me a lot to have people around me (or always avaliable by phone) who supported my decision to persevere.
At the same time, though, I know how fraught with anxiety and judgement the breast vs bottle thing can be, and that there are some people who just can't do it, either for medical reasons or for their own mental health. That's a decision that every woman has to make for herself and I want to respect that 100%.
How can I best give them breastfeeding support while not coming across as judgemental if they don't?
Note: I am looking more for things to say, things to do, and other ways to give them support, not resources. English is not their native language, so kellymom.com is, alas, not a good option.