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  • Cleo Marchese, IBCLC, RLC

Holiday Gatherings: 10 Hot Button Things That You Should Never Say To A Breastfeeding Mom


The Holidays are a joyful time of year for most people, filled with the lights and sounds of holiday magic.

Being a new mom at this time of year can be challenging, especially at holiday parties and family gatherings. Family members may put unintentional pressure on new mothers with unrealistic expectations or by critiquing parenting and breastfeeding skills. This can make new mothers feel isolated or even attacked on a personal level at a time when they are adjusting to their rolls as mothers.

Whether they had a great birth, bad birth or breastfeeding was easy for them or still an ongoing struggle. The tone set at holiday gatherings can either lift a woman’s confidence or build a rift between her and family members that becomes her against them. Learning to support new mothers in their roll can booster their confidence in their mothering skills and foster strong family ties. However, this is not easy because many people give advice based on a lack of understanding of how breastfeeding works or modern day guidelines for infant care and feeding set by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

So to make the holidays a little happier, let’s go down the list of hot button things never to say to a new mom.

  1. Are you feeding that baby again?

  2. Babies in our family have to eat. They always started solids early.

  3. Can’t you just pump some breast milk, how are the rest of us going to bond with the baby if we can't feed her?

  4. None of the women in our family where ever successful at breastfeeding.

  5. Do you mind nursing in the other room? Or using a large blanket to cover up?

The children are playing in here.

  1. Is he sleeping through the night yet? The best way to train a baby is to put them in their room and shut the door. They need to get used to being in their own room.

  2. Don’t let that baby fall asleep at the breast, it will become spoiled and want to be held all the time.

  3. Discipline starts early, that baby should be on a schedule.

  4. Are you sure she doesn’t need some formula? She seems fussy, your milk may be too thin.

  5. Why don’t you let some else hold the baby for a while? That kid has been on the boob since it got here.

Things to remember:

  • Infant feeding and care guidelines have changed a lot in the last few decades.

  • Criticism is never the best way to help someone or give advice.

  • If you have a genuine question on how your grandchild, niece or nephew are being raised. Ask in private. Doing it in front of the whole family can be seen as a personal attack.

  • Be helpful by caring for the mother. You are not helping her by taking her baby and doing it your way.

  • Remember the golden rule, if you can’t say something nice. Don’t say anything at all.

#holiday #infants #publicbreastfeeding

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