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5 Ways to Navigate Judgment & Social Pressure while "Extended" Breastfeeding

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

I say it all the time - when you're talking about breastfeeding, there's always a lot of feelings - sometimes pretty intense ones.

A big feeling that pops up (particularly when you are breastfeeding an older baby or toddler) is .... judgment.

Unwanted comments, "advice" (and facial expressions), can come from people super close to you, like your partner, best friend, parents, and in-laws - but they can also come from random people at the grocery store, Facebook groups, and, unfortunately, even healthcare professionals. ...and the judgment can go both ways. There are those who are uncomfortable with your choice to continue to breastfeed - and those who are uncomfortable with your choice to wean. (It's easy to feel damned if you, damned if you don't)

Whether the judgment is implied, or explicitly stated, it can take its toll on you as a breastfeeding mom. Humans are hardwired for connection! It makes sense that rejection and judgment would be frustrating, if not downright painful. In this week's podcast episode, I share 5 different ways to navigate social pressure and judgment as an "extended" breastfeeding mom.

Want a quick rundown of the 5 tips I breakdown in the episode?

#1 - Feel grounded in your breastfeeding (and weaning) decisions (...or acknowledge that you don't feel grounded just yet).

Feeling secure & confident in the choices that you have made as a parent can give you strength and confidence when you are questioned by others around you. But even if you don't feel confident in your choice just yet, recognize that! Allowing yourself to become aware of the fact that you are struggling allows you to say: "For right now, this is what we are doing - and when we know it's the right time to do something different, we will." (Pssst - I share more on why it's hard to feel confident in your breastfeeding choices in the Toddler Breastfeeding & Weaning Workshop)

#2 - Know your rights

Breastfeeding and pumping at work, nursing your toddler in public, and navigating co-parenting situations while breastfeeding past infancy are not easy. But in many places around the world, your right to breastfeed (even past a year!) is legally protected. Knowing the laws n your area can support you to feel more confident when you are breastfeeding (even if you never use that knowledge to verbally defend yourself). In Canada, you are legally allowed to breastfeed in any place you and your child are legally allowed to be. Make sure to check out government websites for where you live to learn about the laws in your country, state/province.

#3 - Educate others (...if you want to.)

Educating others about the benefits of breastfeeding, what current health recommendations are, and what your rights are can be a helpful way to navigate judgment - but only if the other person is open to learning. Education doesn't have to be just facts about breastfeeding, it can also include sharing how you are feeling and why breastfeeding is uniquely important to YOU! In the podcast episode, I share more insight into how to initiate these conversations and when to hold back.

#4 - Keep yourself sane & safe

Unfollow (or block) people, pages & groups that stress you out on social media - it's not worth causing your blood pressure to spike! Find ways to feel reassured and safe in places where there are individuals who have made unwanted comments in the past, and practice scripts to say when comments do come up. (I just made an Instagram post with 5 different ways to respond to judgemental comments)

#5 - Find a community that "gets" you

Once you've freed yourself up from the people and communities that bring you down, find spaces & people who you feel truly accepted and loved by. This may be people and places that directly support breastfeeding moms, but it might be somewhere else entirely! Having a place where you can truly show up as yourself provides deeper strength and resilience when you find yourself in places where you cannot. I hope this podcast can be a source of love & acceptance for you! (Also - I'd love to hear what places, pages, podcasts, and resources feel amazing for you! Send me a DM over on instagram.)


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Unique blog's 😊❤️

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