Here are ten suggestions for acceptable alternatives to what not to say to a breastfeeding mother. The alternatives to try show that you do have some understanding about how breastfeeding works.
In my last post, I listed ten unhelpful things to avoid saying to a breastfeeding mother. The alternatives are more supportive and do not undermine a mother who may be struggling to learn how to breastfeed her baby.
- Instead of: Is she feeding again? Try: She knows what’s best for her, doesn’t she?
- Instead of: She’s using you as a dummy. Try: There’s no substitute for the real thing!
- Instead of: Let me give the baby a bottle so you can get some housework done. Try: Put your feet up and snuggle that baby, while I cook you dinner.
- Instead of: You will wear yourself out, let daddy give her a bottle. Try: Men are great at just about every other aspect of parenting but they can’t feed the baby.
- Instead of: Don’t keep picking her up every time she cries. Try: It’s lovely to see how easily you can calm her down.
- Instead of: Don’t let her fall asleep at the breast—she’ll never learn to do it by herself. Try: Genuine knockout drops!
- Instead of: I think she has a tongue-tie. Try: Is she having trouble latching? How can we find you some help with that?
- Instead of: Shouldn’t she get used to having a bottle? Try: Zipping it.
- Instead of: I’d prefer you not to breastfeed in public. Try: Let’s find a quiet corner where you won’t be disturbed.
- Instead of: Mothers in our family have never been able to make enough milk. Try: If only I’d persevered with breastfeeding.
Photo credit: Amber Jones At First Sight Birth Photography