I remember it so clearly; I was in tears on the sofa with my boobs hanging out and my little man bunched up on my lap. I was crying, as I often was at the beginning of his life, and my partner was kneeling on the floor next to the sofa practically begging me to give Oscar a bottle and stop breastfeeding.
He was sick of seeing me in pain from the soreness and sick of seeing us both frustrated as Oscar just couldn’t latch on properly.
At the time I was irritated and hurt that he couldn’t see how badly I wanted to keep trying. I felt as if he was saying I couldn’t do it, that I wasn’t capable. It added to my feelings of failure and the more he begged and pleaded the more resilient and certain I became that I was going to carry on.
When I look back now though I realise this wasn’t how he meant it at all. He was genuinely upset at seeing me in pain and he felt completely and utterly useless because there was nothing he could do about it. I really think he would have given it a go himself if he could.
It seems I’m not alone though – I was browsing the BabyCentre community posts and came across this one, in which people are talking about their ex and current partners pressuring them to stop breastfeeding, and the reasons are far more selfish than my own partner’s.
Since when is it OK for the men in our lives to put pressure on us to stop feeding our children? I see enough bullshit around the “breast vs. bottle” debate and enough guilt placed at the feet of both parties – do we really need it from our partners and ex-partners too?
One comment from the thread really jumped out at me as it’s one my (albeit well-meaning) other half used to say to me when I complained about the pain, whilst telling him AGAIN that I wasn’t giving up: “well it was your choice to breastfeed”. Erm, what? It wasn’t *just* my choice to have a baby and presumably you want that child to be fed?
Bottle feeding is also a good way to do this (and we did end up there in the end) but why is wanting to try and breastfeed suddenly a negative thing. It’s one of those awful expressions a lot of men seem to pull out if we even dare to complain about any aspect of it and it just seems like another underhanded way to pressurise women to stop.
So if you’re just starting your feeding journey and are being pressured by your other half to stop when you don’t want to – tell him to SOD OFF.
If your baby is 1, 2 or even 3 and still breastfeeding and your being pressured to stop by people – tell them to SOD OFF.
If you *want* to stop – then stop. But people pressuring us for the wrong reasons, even if they “mean well” is not helpful and it’s none of their damn business.
If you’re nursing, it may not just be your partner that has commented. There are many myths associated with breastfeeding (small boobs means no milk = wrong), check out others you may have heard:
Small breasts make less milk
Your breast size doesn’t affect how much milk you produce.
Stress can cause your breastmilk to dry up
Stress won’t reduce your milk supply. However, if you’re feeling very stressed and it’s interfering with how often you’re feeding your baby, this may temporarily reduce your supply.
You can’t get pregnant if you’re breastfeeding
Breastfeeding delays the return of your periods. However, you’ll ovulate before you have your first period. So there’s a chance that you could become pregnant if you rely on your periods returning as a sign that you’re fertile again.
Breastfeeding makes your boobs droopy
It’s pregnancy, rather than breastfeeding, that may cause your breasts to change in size and shape after having a baby.
Mums must drink milk to produce milk
Drinking milk is great for keeping hydrated, and as part of a healthy diet, but it has nothing to do with producing breastmilk.
Many mums can’t produce breastmilk
Most women produce enough breastmilk to feed their newborns.
You need to toughen your nipples before your baby is born
Your body naturally prepares for breastfeeding while you’re pregnant
It isn’t normal to feel sexually aroused when breastfeeding
Oxytocin, the hormone released during orgasm, is also released during breastfeeding, which is why you may experience sexual arousal when feeding your baby
Babies should be weaned off the breast before turning one
Even though your child is now getting most of his nutrition from solid food, breastmilk still provides immunity from some illnesses, as well as nutrients and vitamins. Breastfed toddlers get ill less often than those who aren’t
Breastfeeding mums need to be obsessive about eating the right foods
You should try to eat a healthy diet, but there’s no need to eat special foods or avoid certain foods