10 ways to Banish Busybodies & Nosey Parkers
How you feed your baby is your business – but why do others insist on sharing their unwanted opinions about breastfeeding or bottle-feeding? Here are some ways to reply while keeping your cool. And importantly- do what is right for you when it comes to your baby!!
Applicable for whether you are breast or bottle feeding…
1. Silence is golden. Sit quietly, saying nothing while they try to impose their opinion on you. Your silence will likely unnerve them, and when they do eventually stop talking, very obviously begin a new topic. If they mention infant feeding again, go silent and wait it out. After a while, they’ll give up.
2. Overreact. Widen your eyes in shock, exclaim that you had NO idea, and repeat what they say with increasing tones of horror and worry. Burst into hysterical tears. Say things like, “You have really opened my eyes. I feel so AWFUL. I’d better call the doctor RIGHT NOW.” Don’t let them get a word in edgewise.
3. Say it without saying it. Wear a T-shirt saying, “Yes, I am going to breastfeed him until he’s at college.” Better yet, pop a Bust Out Beanie on his head.
4. Rely on science. Memorise a few facts about infant feeding. Then trot them out at opportune moments. Things like, “According to the Ministry of Health” or “A study from The University of Otago concluded” will cause most people’s eyes to glaze over immediately.
5. Flatter them. Ask them to give a presentation to your coffee group, since they know so much about infant feeding. Ask them where they went to medical school.
6. Redirect them. Ask an older person to tell you about infant feeding “back in the day” – it can take the heat off you.
7. Put it back on them. “Do you often remark on strangers’ parenting choices?” or “Why do you think the way I feed my baby any of your business?”
8. Invoke your healthcare provider. “Goodness, when he was at Plunket last week, the nurse was so thrilled at his growth!” leaves little room for comeback.
9. Ask for more information. “I’d love to see the research on that – what journal did you read it in?” If they don’t have a source, say, “I’d love to know more, but I don’t listen to hearsay. If you ever come across any evidence for that, please share with me.”
10. Agree to disagree. When they bring up infant feeding, say, “We both have strong feelings about this topic. Our relationship is important to me, so we need to agree to disagree.”
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