Overcoming Objections

Abigail Walston

Posted By: Abigail Walston

I'm returning to work as a teacher in September. I'm not a big fan of pumping and my son has rarely used bottles so I know that going back to work is going to be a big adjustment for both of us.

I'm very lucky that I haven't had anybody openly object to me nursing Joshua. Nobody's ever shouted "Cover up!" or "Gross!" as I've heard has happened to other moms. Generally, my family and friends are very supportive. I'm pretty vocal in my choice to breastfeed and am well-educated about it, thanks to all the articles I've read, so I'm happy to pass on the knowledge of why breastfeeding is the best choice for most babies. My family and friends also know that I blog about our breastfeeding adventures, so the fear of becoming fodder for a post may be that extra push to keep mum about any objections to breastfeeding.

However, recently I have been criticized by a few people for continuing to nurse Joshua throughout the night. It always starts with "How's the baby sleeping?" (A loaded question.) I've tried humor- "Sleep? What's that?" and I've tried honesty- "On a good night, he's up 4-5 times. On a bad night, he's up every 15-30 minutes." Both of these responses lead to people giving unsolicited advice about my choice to co-sleep and/or breastfeed on-demand.

Everybody seems to have an opinion, and the opinion is always that I'm doing it wrong.

The little old lady "You have to let him cry!"

The new dad "You don't let him cry?"

The childless know-it-all "I'm going to let my future kids cry."

The childless smarty-pants "You've gotta stop feeding him!"
Another little old lady "He's forming bad habits."

A mom who never co-slept "He's just snacking. He doesn't need to nurse overnight."

The random person on Twitter "Babies should get all their nutrition during the day by 6 months old."

I'm not a confrontational person, and I'm more likely to just smile, nod and walk away than to come out and state the truth: I have made the conscious decision to parent my child overnight as I parent him during the day. I attend to his needs and I believe that any reason my son wants to nurse is the right reason for me to nurse him. Breastfeeding on-demand overnight allows me to bond with my baby and maintain my milk supply. Co-sleeping makes it even easier to breastfeed on-demand. I am not interested in the "Cry It Out" method – I believe it's out-dated. 

I've decided that the only way to stop the unsolicited and insulting advice is to lie about my son's sleeping habits. That's right! I'm going to be a big, fat liar. "How are we sleeping, you ask? GREAT!"

In truth, I don't mind waking up overnight to nurse Joshua back to sleep. I'm away from him for about eight hours a day, Monday through Friday, and so I cherish the time I have with him at home. I love to snuggle him throughout the night, though I may have some trouble getting out of bed in the morning. My favorite time of day is right after bedtime when Joshua, Ed and I are all in the big bed. Not only do I love to cuddle with Joshua, I know that he's benefiting from the time spent in between his parents all night long. He's safe, warm and loved, which is exactly the way I want him to feel.

How do you deal with objections to breastfeeding or other parenting choices?

12:00pm on Wednesday February 23


A. Watson
9:08pm on Sunday February 27

You go girl. This gramma gives you a big thumbs up for being a loving, caring parent. To Many kids are left at daycare all day and spend no time with parents.

Kari Benjamin
12:31pm on Friday February 25

I was teaching when I was nursing my first. I ran into a complaint when I tried storing pumped milk in the fridge in the staff lounge. I would pump during lunch (while checking e-mail on my laptop) and after school. The hardest part was getting the baby to take a bottle. What you need for relatively easy breast pumping: a private place, a mini fridge (for milk storage), a plug-in, (to charge your breast pump), a sink (to rinse parts and wash hands), and possibly a microwave to sterilize breast pump parts. Also an understanding boss helps too.

Ashley Malinosky
9:24pm on Thursday February 24

My mothering style is very similar to yours. I get lots of "you're crazy (for letting him sleep in my bed), "you're still nursing him? Doesn't he have teeth?" and so on! I can't stand the unsolicited opinions and advice! One thing I say, particularly about bedsharing is, "I love it, it works for us." I think when people see how genuinely happy I am they almost don't know what else to say! Anyone have any good responses to people telling you that your child is too old to bf? My son is 10 months old and I am starting to hear it from friends (who don't have kids) and my sister (who has kids but stopped nursing around 6 mons.)

Brittany Allred
1:58pm on Thursday February 24

I have come to learn that every parent is different and everyone is entitled to parent the way they feel is best. I've learned to take unsolicited advice and throw it out the window. I feel like saying, "please don't give me advice unless I've asked for it."

Rebecca Smith
1:09pm on Thursday February 24

I like the generic answer response: "How's the baby sleeping?" - "Terrific!"

When it's a stranger (yes, the obnoxious grocery store know-it-all) I like using "Thank you for the unsolicited advise. Have a great day!" and walk away.

But I'm not very patient or tolerant when it comes to unsolicited advice.

Eleanor Todd
12:29pm on Thursday February 24

we don't co sleep with our five month old daughter but she sleeps in her crib that is less than a foot away in our tiny apartment room. Whenever she starts to stir I usually hear her (gotta love those mommy ears!) and wake up to go get her. I don't mind feeding her throughout the night either. she only wakes up a couple of times throughout the night and is usually back asleep pretty quickly. I cherish the nighttime feedings though even if i dont get a full nights sleep because it is so quiet and peaceful in the room.
my mom tells me all the time that we should just let her cry and she'll learn how to go back asleep on her own... but she is actively rooting when she wakes up usually. plus the apartment is small... so if she cries, we dont get any sleep either. i'd rather feed her and go back to bed and get more sleep than laying in bed listening to her cry.
I usually do the same as you.. just smile and nod or i lie (which is something I usually NEVER do) and say she she sleeps great through the night whenever people ask.

Dawn Grimes
12:13pm on Thursday February 24

I am a teacher who is returning to work in April. We also co-sleep and nurse on demand. Thankfully my family and friends support my choices. My friends have all made different choices and raised their children differently, but there is always a level of respect because we all know we are making the best choices for *our* individual situations.

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