An Open Letter to Breastfeeding Trolls

Breastfeeding trolls

Dearest Breastfeeding Troll,

I’ve written before about my breastfeeding journey and how Emma is still pretty much a boob addict. In the last 2.5 years, my opinions on breastfeeding have changed dramatically, particularly when it comes to breastfeeding a toddler. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was one of those people, that thought it was beyond ridiculous to feed past 12 months, let alone feeding a walking, talking toddler!

However, I am now lucky enough to be supported by a group of amazing women who believe in extended breastfeeding and have completely normalised it for me. You see, once you get over the first 6 or 8 weeks, breastfeeding really is so easy and in my experience, the longer I feed Emma, the more┬álazy I get about weaning her. It is for no other reason other than I don’t have the want in me to deal with all the tears she will have when I tell her that the yellow boobie is no more.

What really pisses me off, is the awful reputation breastfeeding gets in the media. As we know, in Ireland, we have the lowest breastfeeding rate in the world. Part of it is due to formula companies having such a strong hold on our economy, part of it is because we are not surrounded by women who are breastfeeding and a large part is the continued posts on social media that continue to encourage the “mommy wars”. It is the comments regarding breastfeeding on social media posts that really enrage me and where I tend of find you. The comments below are just a handful of what is posted on any article about breastfeeding.

“Why doesn’t she just pump a bottle and give the milk that way?”

Firstly, not all women can pump milk – especially the older the child gets and if the body isn’t used to pumping. I have a decent milk supply but give me a pump and I can pretty sure that I wouldn’t get much, if anything at all. And for all of you suggesting that I should be pumping so as not to breastfeed in public, have you any idea how much faffing is involved in pumping? No, I doubt you do. As I’ve said above, I’m lazy, I have no intention of making more work for myself.

Secondly, and most importantly, is that breastfeeding is about far more than just milk. It is about providing comfort to your child. When a child is scared or unsure in a social setting, they may have a dummy, a teddy or a blanket they use for comfort. I don’t take my 4 year old’s dummy and muslin from him, so I won’t be refusing the boob to my 2.5 year old or be giving her a bottle. Thanks for the suggestion though!

“That child should be eating solids!”

Do you genuinely believe that a toddler who is breastfed is not eating solid food? My daughter eats more food that I do.

“Breastfeeding a toddler is for the mother’s benefit”

Have you ever tried to make a toddler do something they don’t want to do? You know, like, changing their nappy, or putting them to bed? Well now try to imagine breastfeeding a toddler (in public) who doesn’t want to be nursed. I have visions of a screaming child, a flustered mother and boobs on display for the world. I would hardly go through that just for my own benefit!

When Emma asks me for the yellow boobie I try to distract her. I eventually give in to stop the whingeing. But then I have a foot in my face and finger up my nose. I may spend 20 or 30 minutes like this. Believe me breastfeeding a toddler is not for my benefit. But as I’ve said, I’m far too lazy to deal with the tantrums that would come with trying to wean her.

“It’s disgusting”

No, it isn’t. It is a child getting love, comfort and nourishment from their mum. If you think it’s disgusting, ┬áthat is your opinion but please avert your gaze. Or if you have seen something online that you feel is disgusting, just keep on scrolling. Don’t upset yourself or others – nothing is worth it!

“That (breastfeeding) should be done in the toilet”

If you can eat your dinner in a restaurant, why can’t my child? Eat your dinner in the toilet and then come back to me!

“If a child can ask for it, they are too old”

By that logic, I can’t have a pizza because I can ask for it. Or your 10 month old can’t have a bottle because they can say boba or whatever word you use for milk.

“That child is too old to be breastfed”

The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding until the age of 6 months and continued breastfeeding until 2 years old AND BEYOND – so no, the child isn’t too old. The average age worldwide, for a child to wean from breastfeeding is between 2 and 4 years old, so again, no, the child isn’t too old.

“I’m all for breastfeeding but….”

Stop right there. You are not all for breastfeeding. You can’t support a woman’s right to breastfeed and then put a caveat on it like, “I’m all for breastfeeding but only for the first 6 weeks”. Then, my friend, I am sorry but you are not “all for breastfeeding”.

I would never, ever tell someone that I think their child shouldn’t be drinking formula or milk from a bottle at 2 years old. Or that they shouldn’t have a dummy. To begin with, it is absolutely none of my business how you feed your child. I am a firm believer of following a childs lead, so if that means your 3-year-old is breastfed or your 5-year-old has a dummy, who really cares? Furthermore, as long as a child is healthy and loved why are we letting the parenting decisions of others bother us so much? Once we are secure in our choices as a parent, what other say shouldn’t bother us.

The next time you come across an article online that refers to breastfeeding, please keep on scrolling. As a breastfeeding mum I do not want to see your negativity and I don’t want to see all the inaccuracies that come about in the comment sections of these posts as these tend to discourage other mum’s from breastfeeding.

Just remember, if you can’t say these things to my face then don’t say it online!

Love from,

The lazy breastfeeding mum x

Have you ever been on the receiving end of negativity around breastfeeding or any other choices you have made as a parent? Let me know in the comments x

 

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2 Comments

  1. March 24, 2017 / 12:04 pm

    Nice post and I was probably like you, completely committed to breast feeding but never imagined feeding a walking, talking toddler. But it is so natural once you get going, isn’t it? I was lucky really, very little negativity towards me for breastfeeding. I once remember trying to feed my first in a crowded cafe as she was just starting to teeth and I was still very self conscious. I broke into a sweat as she kept pulling off and I was waiting for some backlash from the people around me. What was interesting was that there were two groups of people at nearby tables, I’d say well into their 60s. The group of women gave me the dirty looks, the group of men just smiled and looked sympathetic!

    Well done on your breastfeeding journey. The time goes so quickly you will look back on those cuddles with nothing but fondness.

  2. March 24, 2017 / 5:26 pm

    I breastfed both my kids, the first for the longer than the second, and was lucky that I never got any negatvity from it. But I know it exists, I recently heard my own brother spouting some ridiculous views on the matter. Unfortunately parents, and mothers in particular, are always judged for their choices one way or another.

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