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My Friend Went Off Because I Won't Breastfeed

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Dear Friendship Court:

I am eight months pregnant with my first child. My best friend Connie, who already has two children, has been a great source of comfort and advice for me. She helped me pick my doctor, she helped decorate the baby's room and get me equipped for when the baby comes and I have appreciated all her help. Yesterday, when we were out for lunch with a mutual friend, the friend asked if I would be breastfeeding and I said "No, it's not for me?" Connie went crazy. She said I would be a terrible mother, that breastfeeding was best and that I obviously don't appreciate any of her help if I am not going to listen to her about breast feeding. I left the lunch and I don't think Connie will be calling me and I have no desire to call her. Is a difference of opinion over breastfeeding going to ruin our friendship?

-- Gina

friends arguing about breastfeeding

Leslie Adler: Gina, Connie deserves a big time out in friendship jail! The decision to breast feed is extremely personal. The help and advice she gave you should have been motivated by love and friendship not a feeling of entitlement to tell you how to raise your child. Plus, having had two children already, Connie should realize that this is no time to stress
you out. If you want to be the "better person" call Connie and let her know she needs to respect your choices the same way you have respected hers. Hopefully "Aunt Connie" will come to her senses and come around to greet the baby. Best of luck!!

next: Note Could Slow Search for 8-Year-Old's Killer
22 comments so far | Post a comment now
anonymous April 10, 2009, 1:58 PM

Why do women always make the comments of “it’s just not for me” and “I don’t have the time” when it comes to breastfeeding? Of course it’s for you, what do you think those things on your chest were made for? And as for the time, lifting your shirt takes much less time than sanitizing a bottle and preparing the formula to the correct temp.

I’ve met many mother’s who couldn’t breastfeed because the baby wasn’t latching on properly, or illness with them or the baby, but most of them at least tried. Though the reaction was a bit much, that’s probably all this friend was really looking for. Give it a try, you’ll be home for at least a few weeks recovering from delivery.

Unless you plan to be one of those mother’s that has a baby and then is constantly leaving the baby with a sitter so you can continue with your life. If that’s the case, why’d you have a baby?

And before anyone comments, both me and my husband work full-time. So the “I have to work” excuse falls on deaf ears for me.

Deana April 10, 2009, 2:07 PM

Nothing brings out the inner b*tch in women like this issue. The most shocking thing about new motherhood is the vitriol over this.

Sara April 10, 2009, 2:20 PM

Becoming a mom is such a stressful and anxious time as it is, mom’s don’t need the added stress of being made to feel like bad moms if they don’t want to breastfeed. If mom is happier bottle feeding then that makes for a happier baby too. The baby will be just fine either way!!

Debbie April 10, 2009, 2:24 PM

Breastfeeding is a VERY personal choice. It is a very controversial issue but a true friend would not have made you feel as if you would be a terrible mother.

Anonymous April 10, 2009, 2:29 PM

I have been in this mom’s place. Under NO condition should she be made to feel that bottle feeding will make her a bad mom. With my first, nursing the baby was a horrible experience and it took my pediatrician to make me accept that it would be great to bottle feed my baby. When I had my second, nursing wasn’t even in the equation…my choice. And you know what? My babies are now healthy 25 and 15 year old people. One good friend who did nurse put it into perspective for me: No matter how we feed our children, they will turn out to be good people. And that is what it is all about!

Marge April 10, 2009, 3:40 PM

No one else can ever make this decision for you. Connie should take a chill pill and owes Gina a big apology.

Anonymous April 10, 2009, 4:10 PM

she sucks as a friend

~ anon April 10, 2009, 4:36 PM

I think that Gina owes an apology to her baby. Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed a baby.
It will always be the *babies* first choice. Come on, how selfish are we that you can’t even give it a try?

Jen April 10, 2009, 6:29 PM

It is no ones business but your own. If you don’t want to breastfeed that is up to you.

bb April 10, 2009, 8:22 PM

Your poor baby. Maybe you’ll be lucky and get some of the rocket fuel or malamine free formula. Who knows what’s going to be found in formula these days…oh yeah sugar and high frutose corn syrup. yum. happy health little one.

littlepeapie April 10, 2009, 10:02 PM

I am so torn. I am a total breastfeeding advocate. I am still nursing my toddler (the best thing I’ve ever done) and my BFF swears when she has a child that she won’t nurse, it’s not for her, grosses her out; which totally infuriates me. I mean, there are so many decisions to make as a parents where you aren’t sure if it is right choice, there are two sides to everything, but there is only one side to bf-ing: it is the best for the baby,period… there is no better choice, there is nothing to refute it. So, why not? That’s what we have breasts for….BUT, my husband told me off this week for being so radical about this and I am trying to back off and realize that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone (if it was easy everyone would do it)….so while I feel like Connie, when my “Gina” has kids, I will try to remember that our friendship is more important that her being immature and thinking that nursing is “gross” (her words not mine).

Pamala April 10, 2009, 11:07 PM

I find it amazing that anyone cares how I feed my child in the first place. I didn’t breastfeed my first child and I won’t breastfeed my second. Plain and Simple I don’t want to. That’s that. And frankly if it annoys people, so be it but honestly on the grand scale of things to be annoyed over and beatchy about, breastfeeding isn’t one of them. And no not wanting to breastfeed isn’t immature. What I find immature is people believing they are superior to others because of how they feed their child. It’s just food, not some badge of freaking honor to wear. These “breastfeeding advocates” (and I use “” because half the time all they do is call names and belittle people which isn’t advocacy at all) need to mind their own business and raise their own children.

Uly April 10, 2009, 11:48 PM

You know, littlepeapie, I’ll say that I’ve never understood the “grosses her out” argument for not breastfeeding.

I mean, seriously, if you have that major psychological barrier to breastfeeding, well, it’s sad but there’s not much you can do about it, I guess…. What I don’t get, though, is how people who *have sex* can be grossed out by *breastfeeding*.

I mean, hello? Sex? Bodily fluids? Now THAT is gross!

Gigohead  April 11, 2009, 11:05 AM

I’m expecting my third this year. I chose not to breastfeed.

It’s a personal decision.

Briellis April 11, 2009, 9:12 PM

Well, as the sister-in-law to above littlepeapie, I would just like to say “TELL MY BROTHER TO BACK THE F OFF.” Breastfeeding is the best. I’m way more of a BFing fanatic than you. Or at least I’m just more confrontational (blame it on the military life). I’m sure before long the FDA will get with the program and get rid of formula or at least put a warning on the side…like with cigarettes. I mean…rocket fuel? C’mon. Why have breasts if you’re not using them for your babies?

Monica Culp April 11, 2009, 9:55 PM

The thing is that people have the nerve to think that you are going to be a bad mother just because you don’t breastfeed. HUH? I know plenty of mothers who didn’t , my mom included and my mother was a GREAT mother! I breastfed all that I could but because of a few health complication with my son after birth he was not getting all the milk that he needed and there was no time to waste. So after he was better I tried to continue and gave all that I could squeeze out of those bad boys. I just didn’t produce enough. Well do you know how much flack I caught when people asked me if I breastfed and I said no. I never told them the reason why or that I tried. But one woman looked at me like I was the devil and said with the snootiest attitude ‘well I thought that breast feeding was suppose to be best for the baby.’ And in my mind I thought ‘and I thought you were suppose to mind your own business’. Yes it is a very emotional subject. My friend decided not to breastfeed and the flack she caught made her cry. I asked her ‘Is the child going to die from not receiving breast milk? Is she getting all the nutrition she needs to stay alive with the bottle? Is she healthy? Then she is okay and who cares what anyone else has to say.’ People kill me because they act like there is only one way to feed a child and act as if its law.

Nicole April 11, 2009, 11:34 PM

It is just plain lazy to choose not to breastfeed unless you have some sort of medical disability that prevents you from doing so. The science proves it’s best for your baby so how can you justify the choice to not even attempt it?

“Choosing” to formula feed is an incredibly selfish decision that reflects a lazy and uninformed parent.

Dels April 12, 2009, 2:21 AM

i dont think your friend should have gone off on you. What you do with your body is your decision. if this is a good friend I would call her and tell her straight up, she is being obnoxious and self righteous. choosing to formula feed by no means makes you selfish, lazy or uninformed. I think Nicole and others who took that judgmental stance need to step down from the soapbox and look inside their fridge and pantry, Im sure there is SOMETHING in there that may not be the BEST NUTRITIOUS option yet you compromised your high horse and fed it to your child anyway.

Joy April 12, 2009, 11:24 PM

I just had my first child this year and I made the conscious decision to exclusively breastfeed. It can be tiring in it’s own right and there were moments I felt like she was stuck to me 24/7 but I kept to it, it saved us money and I am also a SAH. I never think twice about anyone else’s decisions for their babies. EVERYONE has their own opinions on formula, pump feeding and breastfeeding (whole nother world — family things you should pump so they can fed yadda yadda). You can’t make everyone happy. Just yourself so screw the rest of them! As long as your child is fed, happy and loved that’s all that matters!

Lisa April 13, 2009, 1:28 PM

The breastfeeding/formula feeding debate always gets people up in arms. I thought breastfeeding was “not for me” until I got pregnant, educated myself, and realized that of COURSE it’s not for ME. It’s for the baby. Going through labor isn’t “for me” either, in terms of ways I want to spend my time, but I went through it in order to have my baby. So I’ll go through nursing in order to feed my baby what his body biologically expects instead of feeding him a foreign substance that carries risks with it. Yes, I was formula fed and I know lots of people who were and have had no major health problems. But why take the risk? Why not at least TRY to give your child the best nutrition possible? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends formula as the FOURTH option for feeding a baby, after breastfeeding, pumped milk, and donor milk. There’s a reason it’s in 4th place. Yes, it’s ok as a substitute, but I just can’t imagine why a mother wouldn’t at least consider the other options before turning to it.

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