“You’re still doing that?”
“Isn’t he too old for that if he can ask you for it?”
“Shouldn’t your baby be drinking whole milk by now?”
“Breastmilk isn’t any good after one year. Why are you still nursing?”
“When are you going to wean??”
The questions and comments start coming at moms from all angles, at all stages of breastfeeding–sometimes even from pediatricians! Some of these statements used to fall out of my own mouth when I had no idea what I was talking about and my older sister was nursing her toddler.
I sit here, currently nursing my 2-year-old while 6 months pregnant, a person who walked into her first La Leche League meeting, saw someone nursing an 18-month old, and vowed to never “do that.” But then I learned things about breastmilk and lactation! So, on my generous days, I like to believe the people saying awful things to nursing moms just don’t know any better!
Now, not all families find it mutually beneficial to continue breastfeeding beyond a year, and we sure aren’t saying they must. But we do want to support those families who have made the choice to keep on going in their nursing relationship. With that in mind, here are some responses that might gently educate busybodies (or at least shut down the conversation):
“I’m really just doing this to reduce my own risk of developing cancer. And arthritis. And heart disease. And osteoporosis. What are you doing for your health?
“Actually, the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding at least 2 years.”
“Did you know the American Academy of Pediatrics says breastfeeding should continue ‘for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby’?”
“Did you know the American Academy of Pediatrics says ‘Breastfeeding should be supported by [my] physician for as long as it is the right choice for [me] and [my] baby’?”
When people ask about whole milk or the nutritional value of milk beyond one year, I get excited spewing facts from this list Kellymom put together from a 2001 study by Dewey:
In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL (15 oz) of breastmilk provides:
- 29% of energy requirements
- 43% of protein requirements
- 36% of calcium requirements
- 75% of vitamin A requirements
- 76% of folate requirements
- 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
- 60% of vitamin C requirements
But what about naysayers who insist full-term breastfeeding will socially impact your child? They’re right–research shows the impact will be a positive one. Try saying, “Oh, actually, research studies have shown a positive relationship between longer breastfeeding duration and social development. Check out Duazo 2010 or Baumgartner 1984.”
Did you get hit with rude questions and comments about your nursing relationship? Leave us a comment to share your favorite responses.