My Family Doesn’t Support Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a personal choice, and not something that should be judged by anyone around you, whether or not you breastfeed for a day, a month, a year, or not at all.

Unfortunately, there are still many people in the world today with strong opinions about when, where, and how often parents should feed their babies.

If you are a new parent, are just learning to breastfeed, or come from a family that hasn’t had much exposure to breastfeeding, these strong opinions can sometimes make you doubt your goals.

If you struggle with knowing what to do when your breastfeeding goals are not being supported by your loved ones, here are a few ideas you can consider.

Ask them if they are interested in learning about breastfeeding.

This is a great way to handle those family members who seem uncomfortable with your choice, but aren’t being rude or pushy. Maybe they don’t even realize that they are acting strange about it!

ALSO: What is a Postpartum Doula and Should You Get One?

Being straightforward and open in these situations can look like saying, “I noticed you are uncomfortable being around when I nurse the baby. Would you like to learn a bit about breastfeeding so that you feel more comfortable?”

Set a boundary that focuses on your response to their behavior.

No one responds well to being told “no” and your opinionated family members are no exception. Instead of telling them to stop making rude comments or treating you poorly in regard to breastfeeding, set a boundary that focuses on how you will respond.

For example, you could say something like, “I don’t feel comfortable with the way you talk about my choice to breastfeed my baby. If you continue to comment about it, I will not be able to have you over for visits.”

Setting strong boundaries can be scary, but do your best and then follow through!

Surround yourself with a supportive network.

If your family is unsupportive, or even just uncomfortable, with your choice to breastfeed, make sure to find people who can support you and cheer you on. Local parenting groups and breastfeeding support groups are a great place to start to connect with others who will understand and support your decisions.

If you did not grow up around breastfeeding, this can also be a great way to normalize it for yourself as well! Knowing that so many other parents nurse their little ones for various lengths of time can help you gain confidence that your own goals are not impossible or strange.

ALSO: Here Are 4 Vital Self-Care Tips for New Parents

While breastfeeding is normal and beneficial for babies, it’s not always easy!

Your unique struggles and situations will help you determine what goals you have for yourself and your child. No matter what your choices, do your best to ignore the haters, and remove yourself from the situation if you can.

You’ve got this!

Bethany Robin

Bethany has been blogging about the struggles, pitfalls, and just plain insanity of parenting as a millennial since her oldest was born in 2015. She's also worked extensively as a doula and has four children of her own, including toddler twins.

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