02 Sep
You Stop Telling Me What To Do With My Lactating Boobies and I’ll Do The Same

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My sister-in-law nursed most of her kids until they were almost 4 years old. She had to wean her youngest child due to cancer since the treatment wouldn’t allow it. She recently had a miscarriage, which caused her milk to come in and she is now nursing the previously weaned child who is almost four. She claims it is helping with some ongoing health issues the child has had for the last year (thanks to not immunizing). I am totally weirded out by this. I don’t feel comfortable around it.

I know that breastfeeding is natural and what not, but I really don’t think this situation is! No one else but me and my husband seem to have a problem with this. We are expecting twins next month and are getting lectures from her on how it’s wrong that we aren’t planning to breastfeed the whole time. I want to tell her if she’s trying to convince me, that is DEFINITELY not the way to do it. I have tried to keep my mouth shut about what she’s doing, but the more she criticizes my decision, the more I want to tell her that what she’s doing is sick and wrong!! I mean really, who just starts nursing a 4-year-old child! If she really wants the benefits, couldn’t she at least pump and put it in a glass or something???

Am I wrong to be so grossed out by this? Is there anything I can say to her to get her to respect my decision and to nicely tell her that I don’t feel comfortable with what she’s doing?

Thank you,
Grossed Out

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Dear Grossed Out,

I must first advise everyone to don police riot armor and prepare for bottle feeders to chuck baby bottles at the lactivists, who are retaliating by squirting breast milk into the eyes. These things can turn ugly if you aren’t very careful.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must say that I am a former breastfeeder, so I tend to side with other breastfeeding women. On the other hand, I was exclusively bottle-fed as a child and turned out to be highly intelligent, not to mention a first-class beauty, so I don’t think bottle-feeding is wrong either.

I’m not going to tell you if you are right or wrong to feel grossed out by your sister-in-law’s extended breastfeeding. What I will tell you is that it’s a waste of your time to keep feeling so, obviously your sister-in-law will continue on as she sees fit. Stop ruminating on it or your babies could be born with forked tails.

I think both you and your sister-in-law need to realize you haven’t lived each other’s lives. She’s been through cancer, had to wean her child in order to help SAVE HER LIFE, lost another child to miscarriage and because of it, suddenly had a second chance to nurse the child she was forced to wean. Can we really say what we would do in that situation? No, not if we’re truly honest with ourselves. I mean, if I had to face my own mortality, I would probably try to breastfeed baby Jesus.

You’re having twins and I don’t know what it’s like to try to exclusively breastfeed two babies. Who am I to judge what you should or shouldn’t do? But my sister-wife Kelcey does know. She began supplementing with formula and her twins are still absolutely gorgeous, happy, and I hear they are already solving polynomial equations.

If you can, find a way to talk with your sister-in-law about respecting each other’s choices, even if you don’t agree with them. If you want her to stop harping on your feeding choices, then you really should stop harping on hers. If this isn’t possible, then grin and bear it when she nurses, or just throw a blanket over your head so you can’t see it. When she tries to lecture you, say something dismissive, such as “Oh, who knows how long we’ll breastfeed, it’s hard to know ahead of time” (this is completely true) or “You can trust us to make the best decision for our twins” and hopefully she’ll take the hint.

Signed,

Heather, TMH

19 Responses to “You Stop Telling Me What To Do With My Lactating Boobies and I’ll Do The Same”

09.02.10#1

Comment by Plano Mom.

Awesome advice.

Drama becomes so easy to miss when the lactating hormones kick in. Neither one of you needs drama right now – now that Heather has shown you the drama, shut it down and get on with loving each other.

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09.02.10#2

Comment by Sophie.

What grosses me out is the way people, even if they happen to be family, will lecture you about private, intimate stuff like breastfeeding. Why can’t people let people alone? Like Heather said, you’re not leading the same life, you don’t have the same things to consider, and besides,It’s your boobs and your babies and your sanity, so she should back off, just the same way you don’t tell her what you think is wrong with her method.

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09.02.10#3

Comment by Marinka.

I will not make any comment to anyone about feeding their babies, even if they’re giving oysters to a newborn or breastfeeding a moose.

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Sophie Reply:

So what’s wrong with giving oysters to a newborn? It’s never too early to expose them to new flavors! Besides, my first oyster was at, like, 24, so I’m adamant my kids should never be thus depraved.

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09.02.10#4

Comment by Bean.

Excellent answer. The best piece of parenting advice I ever got was “You have to make the best decisions for your kids that you can. Other people’s decisions are no business of yours, nor are your decisions their business.”

And if SIL insists on harping, just give her the southern girl answer to everything: “Well, isn’t that nice.” An alternative is “Well, bless your heart.” There’s just no real way to respond to them.

Marinka, I’m blaming you for the coffee stain on my shirt.

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GrandeMocha Reply:

My version is, “That’s something to think about.”

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Michelle Reply:

My version is “Well, they/we will figure it out”.

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09.02.10#5

Comment by annie.

I’m going to have to agree with the others.

Unless you’re planning to breastfeed each other, it’s best to stay away from the topic all together and mind your own business (both of you). If you are, well I’m sure there’s a website for that – it could bring in some extra cash for bottles.

As moms we have to make the best decisions for our children as we go. If we’re honest, we should all admit we’re just winging it anyway!

Good luck with your twins! Both sets.

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Erin I'm Gonna Kill Him Reply:

Breastfeeding each other is an awesome idea! Then she can re-wean her kid while keeping that need to feed up and you can get rid of your own milk supply while your kids gulp bottles. And everyone will think you are BOTH weird so you won’t have to think the same of each other.

It’s not your business. Like your feeding plans are not her business. If it makes you uncomfortable to SEE it, don’t go over there. Who wants to hang out with their sister in law anyway?? Did I say that aloud?

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09.02.10#6

Comment by A Mom on Spin.

Sorry, but I’m with Grossed Out here . . .

We should enforce a maximum breast feeding age.

I’m ducking now. . .

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Mandy Reply:

I’m TOTALLY WITH YOU.

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09.02.10#7

Comment by Mommy on the Spot.

Great advice!

I like what Bean said, too. When you say something like that, it usually shuts down the conversation.

Good luck!

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09.02.10#8

Comment by Mom on the Verge.

In nonmodern cultures, as well as in ancient cultures, children were weaned around four or five years old. (Remember Samuel being sent to live at the temple when he was weaned? That was around 4 years old.) In other words, in pre-plastic and pre-glass cultures, women breastfed until the child was about four or five. So, the sister-in-law isn’t unusual — for another culture.

I always figured that if the child can ask in full sentences, it’s about time to cut him off. ;)

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09.03.10#9

Comment by Twotimer.

Is there really much nutritional benefit to drinking breast milk after the age of two? (And if so, should I drink some?) For that matter, why isn’t EVERYBODY drinking breast milk? It seems logical that there would be an age when it is no longer necessary. I get a little wierded out at anything over 1 year old, but that’s only because of my own personal belief that teeth are for food…not for chewing on breasts. And, am I the only one who gets horribly constipated with breast feeding? Anyone who would want to poop glass shards for 4 years, in my opinion, is nuts.

P.S. I am currently breastfeeding my appropriately aged 6 week old.

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Heather, TMH Reply:

A lot of people do drink breast milk, actually. From a cow. Which, if you didn’t know, is a different species. I dunno, I’m more weirded out by all you people who drink an entirely different specie’s breast milk than a 4-year-old kid nursing.

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09.03.10#10

Comment by dusty earth mother.

I have recently been drinking my own breast milk. And not pumping it, either. Are you impressed with my gymnastics?

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09.04.10#11

Comment by ..

“I choose not to comment about your breastfeeding… choices….maybe you should do the same…” May be a way to start. :-) .

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09.08.10#12

Comment by I'm a big ol' b with a captial B!.

Hmmm… I absolutely agree that no one should comment on anyone’s parenting styles or choices. However, since it has seemed like the SIL has really given pregnant w/twins mommy a lot of grief, I think it’s time to stop being understated and simply say something like, “Look, we heard you the first fifty two times you harped about breastfeeding and we’re done hearing it. We’ll make our own decisions. Deal.”

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09.10.10#13

Comment by Leigh Ann.

I agree. With everyone. Even though they are all very unique and different answers. No matter what you try to plan, breastfeeding often does not work out how you thought it would, especially with twins. My goal of one year quickly turned into “I need to make it to 4 months,” then 6 months, and so on, until we actually did make it to a year. I say be diplomatic about it and turn the other cheek concerning her own nursing, and when it comes to yours, just say “I’m going to try my best!” Even though she may have nursed her kids for 10 years, she has no idea what it’s like to breast feed twins, especially if they turn out to be preemies. Best of luck to you. :)

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