Avoid putting your foot in it by trying some alternatives to what not to say to a breastfeeding mother.
Breastfeeding mothers frequently hear the same list of unhelpful comments. So here’s how to avoid such damaging chat, no matter how well-intentioned it may be, by adopting acceptable alternatives to what not to say. These ten suggested alternatives show that you understand something about how breastfeeding works.
These ten alternatives are 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