3 Conflict-Free Ways to Discuss Infant Feeding
As a new mom, we’ve all had that awkward moment where we are not sure if we can ask another mom for advice about feeding because we are afraid to start a breast vs. bottle debate.
If you feed your infant formula, breastfeeding moms think you don’t care about the health of your baby. If you are a breastfeeding mom, formula feeding moms think you are an exhibitionist that feels superior to them. A few extremely negative people may hold those opinions. However, the overwhelming majority of moms just do the best they can and spend more time feeling judged themselves rather than actually judging others.
When we do begin to connect with another mom, it is guaranteed that the issues that dominate our whole beings will become the topics of conversation.
We talk about child birth, sleep (or lack there of), developmental milestones, poop and feeding. Because feeding is such a hot button topic, some moms might want to avoid discussing it. The thing is, we need to share our feeding experiences and learn from each other. Without it, we miss out on incredibly valuable information and real, honest conversation that can lead to lifelong friendships.
With that in mind, today we offer 3 strategies to discuss infant feeding without conflict.
1. Seek Advice for Yourself
Open up a conversation about feeding by seeking the advice of another mom.
By asking for help without even knowing her stance on feeding issues, you show that you don’t think you know it all and you value her opinion as another mom, regardless of how she feeds her baby. You show that you respect her opinions and value her experiences and will allow her to share with you without fear of rejection.
2. Be a Judgement-Free Zone
When a mom feeds her infant differently than you, assure her that you approach feeding differences peacefully to keep the conversation from stopping for fear of conflict.
Say something like “A baby is best fed by a happy mama whether breast or bottle!” No matter how you feed your baby, this will keep the conversation going in a positive direction.
3. Keep it Relevant
Offer advice that is relevant to how the other mom feeds her infant. It is not helpful and will lead to hurt feelings if your advice is just that she should have made the same feeding choices that you made.
Formula moms, don’t suggest formula if a nursing mom is trying to work through a breastfeeding issue. Breastfeeding moms, don’t exclaim how nursing avoids the problem a formula mom is experiencing.
Find commonalities to give helpful advice. If you don’t have any advice, just show empathy and offer encouragement. We are all so insecure in those sleep deprived early months. Building up another mom may be the most valuable thing you can do for her.
If we avoid talking about feeding our babies, we miss a chance to connect over something that we all have in common, the desire to feed our children in the best way that we can. When we realize that this connection is far more important than the breast vs. bottle debate, we can learn so much from each other. Let’s keep the conversation open so we can have more happy babies with full tummies fed by happy moms with full hearts.
Photo Credit: Kristen
Tags: babies, bottle feeding, breast or bottle, breastfeeding, daily mom, feeding advice, formula feeding, infant feeeding, judgment free, mom friends, mommy tips, new mom advice, nursing, parenting advice, relationships
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