For many of us, breastfeeding sadly comes with much criticism. Unfortunately I believe that is because many people aren’t aware of the huge benefits to both mother and her baby.
Sadly over the years breasts have become overly sexualised and many people forget what breasts were originally for. The first commercial infant formula was introduced in 1867 and didn’t grow in popularity until 1960. Prior to that, breastfeeding was the only way to provide for the newborn.
At every stage of my breastfeeding journey I was surrounded by negativity
I fed my daughter from birth until 3 years, and at every stage I was surrounded by negativity, unfortunately to the point of bullying. This was only a small minority, however I did feel often obliged to take people’s comments on board. This often left me judging my own decisions to continue breastfeeding my daughter.
I fed my daughter from birth until 3 years, and at every stage I was surrounded by negativity, unfortunately to the point of bullying.
During the newborn stage I often experienced people asking me to cover up whilst feeding. I often made comments such as “would you cover your head to eat.” I always had enough courage to speak up for myself, but I’ve seen people often obey by other people’s rules even thought it wasn’t their choice.
People clearly have a problem with breastfeeding beyond infancy
WHO recommend breastfeeding for 2 years and beyond, so I really struggled to understand why people didn’t approve of it. I believe people think once children are on solids, there is little need for breast milk.
I believe people think once children are on solids, there is little need for breast milk.
Whilst I never planned to breastfeed for so long, I also didn’t set a target or a goal. I found that the older my daughter reached, the more negativity I experienced. Yet we both continued to love and enjoy the experience we shared.
When my daughter reached 2 I tried not to feed her much in public, mainly because that’s when the looks or comments came in and I didn’t want my little girl to feel the negativity it was bringing.
The bullying began once I was breastfeeding my daughter past two years of age
Sadly, when my daughter was between 2-3 years of age, I experienced bullying with regards to breastfeeding her. The comments started towards myself, but when that didn’t stop me from breastfeeding, these comments were then made towards my daughter. Things like “you’re a big girl now you don’t need bobbie” or “you look silly having mummy’s boobs.”
The comments started towards myself, but when that didn’t stop me from breastfeeding, these comments were then made towards my daughter.
Neither of the above caused me to end my breastfeeding journey, but understandably the comments left me feeling sad and anxious. I found myself going round in circles always defending myself, which was exhausting.
It was after experiencing this bullying I felt passionate about sharing my views, including the statistics and health benefits of breastfeeding. I want to encourage people to learn more about breastfeeding.
If we as mothers can share enough knowledge about breastfeeding then I really hope others can understand and approve of the experience without causing people to be upset or criticised. Ultimately, it is the mothers choice to continue breastfeeding and that decision should be respected.