Not to want to evangelise re breastfeeding?

(82 Posts)

A member of my family on DH's side is pregnant at a young age (teenage) and has expressed her intention to feed her baby formula from the outset. Boobs, in her view, are not for feeding babies and breastfeeding is weird and her mates would give her stick.

I have breastfed successfully (whee!) and have no problem at all with her plans, since it's naff all to do with me.

However, her mum and my MIL are aghast that she won't even try and want me to lay it on thick with her to encourage her to have a go. I have said that I will do no such thing - it's not my place and I wouldn't have liked someone having a go if the roles were reversed. If she asks me about breastfeeding then of course I'd be delighted to answer her questions but I'm not going to give her unsolicited advice.

MIL thinks I am being unreasonable and should be encouraging young mums to breastfeed - but I really think I'm not and hectoring will help no one. AIBU?

Yanbu, you could bring it up in conversation and see what she says but I wouldn't be laying it on thick with anyone regardless of age.

SomeKindOfDeliciousBiscuit Thu 24-Jan-13 23:45:48

YANBU because that tone would only put her back up. I imagine people are queuing up to tell young mums how to do it anyway. So perhaps bf in her presence? She might say something(!) to open discussions.

SomeKindOfDeliciousBiscuit Thu 24-Jan-13 23:47:35

Anyway, her own mum should take responsibility for some of the fact that she doesn't know what breasts are.

thezebrawearspurple Thu 24-Jan-13 23:48:50

yanbu, nagging won't convert anyone, it only irritates.

Tell her what I tell people. I BF not because I am an earth mother but because I am fat, cheap and lazy. Fat, it helped me lose the baby weight quickly (doesn't work for everyone), cheap, it's FREE, lazy, you get to sit and feed rather than make up bottles, sterilise, boil, mix, measure, blah, blah, blah.

Holier than thou just pisses people off.

loofet Thu 24-Jan-13 23:53:38

Age is completely irrelevant. A lot of women have this issue with bfing both older and young. My own mother had the same issue when having my brother and I (some 20 odd years ago), she wasn't a teenager. Some women just find the concept a bit gross and I can sort of get it. Plus stuff like page 3 hasn't helped with the sexualisation of breasts.

And to stop being off on a tangent, stick to your guns, you have it right. Who knows, she might decide to try it on her own terms, she wouldn't be the first. With the price of formula these days I'm surprised anyone who isn't a millionaire can afford it anyway!

HopAndSkip Thu 24-Jan-13 23:54:04

Definitely don't lay it on, but maybe it would be worth mentioning to her how you can fed discretely without having to show the world, and maybe suggest to her to not make her mind up until baby is her.
You could explain that some mum's you've known have wanted to ff and then decided they wanted to bf when the baby was here, and visa versa some mums have wanted to bf and ended up ff.

It seem's a shame that she is feeling so much pressure from her friends, but YANBU, you shouldn't pressure her, just reassure her that she should be choosing for herself and her baby, not her friends.

PS how old is she? if by teenager you mean 18/19 then I'd assume she is making a fairly informed decision, but if she is 14/15 it could be likely that she doesn't actually know the health benefits so on, so maybe you could get her to speak to the midwife so she makes an informed decision and doesn't regret anything after.

SirBoobAlot Thu 24-Jan-13 23:56:12

Well... I'm on the fence with this, actually. I was a young mum, and was the only one at my under 21s group to breastfeed. I had some encouragement from my midwife and health visitor, but probably would have followed suit with the rest had I not been gently encouraged by other breastfeeding mums to just give it a go - mainly from people on here, actually. Especially as a lot of the same young mums, further down the line, wished they had breastfed, and have told me since they regret not trying.

Honestly I think the view of ''Boobs are for sex only'' makes me very sad, and I would challenge anyone on that. There is a big movement to get young mums breastfeeding currently, and this is an upsetting view that you hear a lot of sad

On the other side of things, you don't have to do anything that you feel would be negative for anyone involved.

Think the best course of action is, like you say, speak to her if she asks.

YANBU - you seem to be the only one respecting that it's her choice and hers alone. She needs support not patronising!

I feel a little evangelical about BF on a national/worldwide level, but on a personal one to one basis I know it is none of my business!
If asked I would probably get a bit enthusiastic, but I know absolutely that it's different strokes for different folks, and what I did/didn't do is of very little relevance to mothers in other circumstances.

If the mother and aunt are so convinced she's making the wrong choice they won't encourage her by playing the "stupid teen" card - fast way to alienate her and ensure all future advice falls on deaf ears.

nicelyneurotic Fri 25-Jan-13 07:55:02

She may change her mind when her baby arrives.

I found the idea of it a bit gross but wanted to give it a go for baby's health, fully expecting to hate every second, and actually really enjoyed it.

If she asks, tell her to keep an open mind and remind her it will help her to get her figure back afterwards as well as being good for baby. Or buy her the what to expect when you have a baby book so she can read and make her own informed decisions?

Sounds like she needs some advice about not listening to immature friends who don't have the best advice for her or her baby. Even at 30 I get daft advice from childless friends...

CaramelBobbi Fri 25-Jan-13 08:02:18

I think I'd tell her that even if she only feeds for a couple of days, just to get nature's vitamin cocktail, the colostrum, down the baby, she will have given him/her 60pc of the benefit of breastfeeding anyway.

DoItToJulia Fri 25-Jan-13 08:07:20

YANBU. Stick to your guns and don't be a bf bore. (That's what she will think of you!)

I am totally with you. I bf and I love it, but I don't shout about it, don't judge how others choose to feed their babies and I certainly don't try to persuade other mums to be to bf.

I'd be tempted to tell her formula isn't a poison and arm her with well informed things to counter act the judgmental crap she will get from her family.

Jengnr Fri 25-Jan-13 09:44:35

Let her make her own decisions. Who cares whether she breastfeeds or not?

Flobbadobs Fri 25-Jan-13 10:01:20

YANBU. But I would maybe tell her that she is going to get all sorts of advice thrown at her over the course of her pregnancy and if she wants to talk any of it over with you then she can, and leave it at that. If you wanted to give her any info on breast feeding you could probably introduce it that way.

DoJo Fri 25-Jan-13 10:03:11

I can understand if her refusal to consider breastfeeding may be giving her family cause for concern as part of a general attitude towards parenting that doesn't seem to have her baby's best interests at heart, but I don't think that ramming it down her throat is necessarily the best way to encourage her to consider it. However, if everything else about her plans suggests that she is prepared (as anyone can be) for the realities of parenthood, then butting out seems the only reasonable thing for everyone to do.

StephaniePowers Fri 25-Jan-13 10:04:21

What an odd post.

Er, good for you?

nokidshere Fri 25-Jan-13 10:11:30

I come from a family of 6 girls and now I have 12 grown up neices who have started having babies of their own. I am the only person in my who family who has ever breastfed and I am considered "odd" by my family.

However, I tell my nieces (and NIL's) that bf can be lovely and if they want to try it, even though there will be little support for them to do so, I am happy to help if they want me too.

Other than that there is nothing I can, or would want, to do regarding their feeding choices. Even though I do feel it is a shame that it isn't seen as an option.

ImNotDrunkIJustCantType Fri 25-Jan-13 10:21:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CaptainVonTrapp Fri 25-Jan-13 10:36:28

Why is the OP odd stephanie? The OP is just trying to find a balance in her approach to helping a younger family member.

Tricky, no one likes a breastfeeding evangelist and I agree it would get her back up to 'lay it on thick'.

However, it would be nice to find a way of starting a non-judgemental/confrontational dialogue with her. Only because, if her decision is based on her teenage friends laughing at her she could really be missing out and may need some support (and I don't mean the kind of pressure her own Mum is applying).

Could you try, something like "I heard you're under pressure to bf your baby. I don't care how you feed her. I didn't like the idea of getting my boobs out at first but I'm just glad it helped me shift the baby weight quicker and I hate washing and sterilising bottles". Or whatever you think may appeal to her.

Make yourself her ally, then she knows she can speak to you if

BlackMaryJanes Fri 25-Jan-13 10:39:31

I assume her mum didn't breastfeed? Then why the hypocracy? Why does she expect her daughter to do something she wasn't prepared to do.

CaptainVonTrapp Fri 25-Jan-13 10:56:07

Perhaps her Mum wishes someone had offered her some knowledge/advice/support instead of just handing her some formula and not really offering her a choice. So many women in my Mum's generation feel this way.

Not to say I think anyone should be pressured/guilted to bf, just informed.

eggsy11 Fri 25-Jan-13 11:09:22

As a young mum who breastfed, don't interfere.

Breastfeeding is bloody hard, harder than ff (i've done both, ff doesn't give you mastitis!) The only thing that kept me going was support of my other mum friends who breastfed. You need a social support (other than family) imo, and 17 year olds can't really see that (my experience anyway).

I fed my son till 12months, much tears, antibiotics and pain. I got to 12 months, gave him cows milk and thought the health benefits aren't even that much really! I wouldn't bf again.

blonderthanred Fri 25-Jan-13 11:12:32

Could you say something like, chuh, our Mums are trying to get me to pressure you into bf, what a cheek eh. I won't because I think it's absolutely your choice and I know you'll be a brilliant mum, but if you have any questions or you're thinking of trying it, just give me a shout.

Then hopefully she will feel like you're on her side but opens the lines of communication. And you can tell the Mums that you've mentioned it to her.

specialsubject Fri 25-Jan-13 11:13:21

her choice - but the ONLY PURPOSE of boobs is to feed babies. Doesn't mean that they have to be used for that, but that is all that they are for. Basic science.

Sounds like the education and common sense are rather lacking, which might account for the situation.

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