World Breastfeeding Week: Handling Objections to Breastfeeding

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Handling Objections to Breastfeeding
By guest contributor Dina Pearlman

I have spent the last 8 months blissfully breastfeeding my adorable and delicious 8 month old son, Benjamin. Occasionally I will get comments from people (heretofore referred to as OBJECTOR) who are of the belief that what I am doing is actually BAD for my son, or in some way perverse and indecent (as occasionally I have to nurse in a public place). Additionally, for some reason, they believe they are entitled to tell me what to do with my child. I have compiled a list of these comments so that you might be better prepared for them when you breastfeed.

OBJECTOR: I can’t believe you’re going to do that in public. Aren’t you embarrassed?

The fact is that breastfeeding isn’t sexual, but in our culture,breasts are considered primarily sexual body parts (watch an episodeof Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Orange County” – everyone wantsbigger and bouncier breasts!!) But now with research coming out aboutbreastfeeding, more and more women are nursing in public and it’sbecoming a lot less taboo. So think of nursing in public (or NIP, asthe ladies-in-the-know call it) as doing your part to open people’sminds to accepting breastfeeding as the norm.

OBJECTOR: Everyone knows formula is more nutritious than breastmilk.

Yes, in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the popular thinking was that formula was abetter and more nutritious alternative to breastmilk so many of us who wereborn during that time were formula fed. However, 20+ years of scientificresearch has determined that, in fact, the opposite is true. Besides thenutritional rewards which we hear so much about, breastfed babies alsoreceive dental, musculoskeletal and visual advantages. As a result, theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that mothers breastfeed theirbabies for at least one year. But in Doofus’ tiny mind, the AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics, doctors from all over the world and scientificresearch studies are misinformed. Pity Doofus, as he/she is simplysuffering from a lack of current knowledge. Steer them to this article in the New York Times if you think they’re open to it. Otherwise, use thesnarky response above. This may be an objection you get from people of anolder generation. If it’s your mother or mother-in-law saying it, she mayfeel defensive and think you are criticizing her decision to formula feedyou or your husband. Gently explain that just like she did what wasrecommended to her at the time, you are doing what has been recommended toyou as well.

OBJECTOR: Breastfeeding is bad because you don’t know how much the baby’s getting.

The reason why many experts believe that breastfeeding preventschildhood obesity is because breastfed babies stop feeding when they’vehad enough. They don’t HAVE to finish 6 ounces of formula. When abreastfed baby is done, he/she pulls off the breast. It’s easy to seehow this carries over from babyhood to childhood.

So to all the future breastfeeders, take heart! Every daymore studies are out proving that breast is best. And every dayanother mom makes that choice. Not everyone will like it, but knowthat you’re giving your little one the best possible start.

Dina Pearlman is an actress, writer and comedienne who lives in NYCwith her husband Matthew and delicious baby Benjamin. Visit her websiteat

Photos: Christina at the beach, Shannon and son Ryley, and Anonymous mom with son Owen. Note: All photos are copyright to the owner and subjects. Please do not reproduce these images.

If you are a breastfeeding mom, what are some criticisms thatyou’ve received regarding your decision to breastfeed? How did youhandle them? Please share them with us via email…

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