There’s a great article on www.Mindful-Mama.com (which you really should visit, if you haven’t already!) for mamas who are breastfeeding an older toddler. By the time your little one is about 16 months old, you’re likely to get odd glances and surprised questions if you continue to breastfeed your child in the States. When and how you wean your child is a very personal decision, one that should be made by each mother and child without pressure from strangers or friends. When the Weaning Police Come a’Knocking, by Shea Adelson, shares some great tips for dealing with criticism, including surrounding yourself with like-minded mamas, knowing the health benefits, trusting your instincts, and being prepared with a response.
It’s that last part, “being prepared with a response,” that most moms really wish they had down. Here are Shea’s suggestions:
Crafting Your Response
- Start with getting clear about your reasoning by asking yourself some questions such as: Why do you breastfeed? What is important or meaningful to you about it?
- Then consider what comes up for you. When it happens, what feelings do you experience? Possibilities include anger, embarrassment, hurt, annoyance, and confusion, among others. Dealing with your inner voices can dilute that feeling of being charged.
- Finally, think about what you want to happen in a moment of criticism and the words you might use to get that result. Do you want to embarrass the person back (ha!), or educate them, or politely change the subject?
Once we have the answers to some of these questions, the words will flow. And, as always, when we are feeling emotionally triggered, it can help to pause and collect ourselves before responding so we can be as effective in our communication as possible.
I love that, in conclusion, Shea reminds us to practice forgiveness. “Remember that most judgment and criticism comes from ignorance.” So true. Criticism is always hard to take, but each instance is an opportunity to share something new with the other that may change their life.