Updated: Oct 13, 2021
So you’ve started breastfeeding and suddenly your boobs, and what you do with them — you know, use them for their natural purpose — have become an open topic for debate to anyone and everyone you come in contact with. Breastfeeding can be a feat in and of itself, and now (on top of the hormones, the breast tenderness, and the bite wounds) you’ve got yourself a nice helping of mommy shame from a stranger at the mall.
Sure, not all comments about breastfeeding are negative, but a positive comment doesn’t automatically make you comfortable talking openly about the subject. With that being said, 95% of the time, it’s still best to answer with poise and respect, but if the situation deserves a snarky response, you use that 5%! Here are some ways to answer common breastfeeding questions and comments that will leave you feeling like the confident and reassured in your decision to breastfeed.
Why do you breastfeed?
This is one question that can be asked with positive or negative intentions. Luckily, there are endless replies to this question, so you can choose how much sass to slide into your answer.
For starters, breastfeeding encourages a healthy bond between you and baby, it is packed with vitamins and nutrients tailored to your baby’s specific needs, and it is free. That right there is reason enough, and a great response to this question which leaves little room for debate.
However, my favorite witty reply is, “Formula is so expensive. You are more than welcome to contribute to my organic baby formula fund if it bothers you.”
Do you have to do that here?
It is more than okay to straight-up ignore this question. A question like this comes from a place of hostility rather than curiosity 100% of the time, so you absolutely do not have to acknowledge it.
With that being said, umm YES, we do have to feed our babies when and where they are hungry, and NO we are not going to feed them in a restroom. It may help to remind people that a screaming baby is much harder to ignore than one who is happily breastfeeding.
You’re still breastfeeding?
It is possible to answer breastfeeding questions sarcastically, while still being respectful, and I think this question is well-deserving of the sarcasm. It may be hard not to take this question to heart because it usually does come off critical, but a playful reply has the power to squash that negativity in its tracks.
I like to say, “Oh yeah, at this rate, I’ll be breastfeeding him until he moves out of the house.” This answer is funny and lighthearted, and it sort of leaves the question hanging, which gives you room to move on to a different topic if you’d like to.
Why don’t you use a cover?
Let me start by giving you some confidence in answering this question. It is totally legal in all 50 states to breastfeed in public without a cover.
Plus, any breastfeeding mother knows that sometimes covers make it harder for baby to nurse comfortably. Just think if you were to try to eat with a blanket over your head; it would be hot, stuffy, and bothersome. This is the perfect thing to remind others of when they ask you to cover up while nursing.
You can simply explain the cons of using a cover or you can come back with a funny retort like, “Oh she hates eating with a sheet over her head, can you imagine?”
Are you sure he got enough milk?
Let’s be painfully honest here, breastfeeding is not always smooth sailing. There will be times when your boob will be out in the open more than it will be covered by your little one’s head, because they are just not having it (still legal to breastfeed like that in public, by the way).
Whatever the case may be, if your little babe is fussy after a feeding and someone asks if they got enough milk, leave the mom shame behind, this one is best answered with calmness and collection. Just be honest, “In theory, yes, but in reality, who really knows right? If only my boobs had the ounces labeled.” Side note: that could make for a really funny tattoo.
You know you can always bottle feed in public
If only everybody in the world was educated on nipple confusion, right? Babies in general are creatures of habit, so it’s understandable if you don’t want to chance throwing them off their groove with an artificial boob.
Not to mention, formula spoils at the speed of light, and who wants to take up precious space in the diaper bag with a bottle cooler? A funny response to this comment is, “Oh, but these things come with a built-in refrigerator.”
Go Out with Confidence
As breastfeeding moms, we are on call 24/7. When we commit to breastfeeding our children we are committing to feeding them when, where, and for however long is healthy for both them and us.
Unfortunately, breastfeeding criticism is relatively common, but we can combat questions and comments by stating the benefits and demands of breastfeeding, voicing our babies’ needs, and adding a little humor to the situation.
Together we can overcome societal pressures and normalize breastfeeding.
Free the nipple!