Mom Breastfeeds Toddler in the Middle of Family Holiday Dinner & Has Zero Regrets

Melissa Ostroth/Milkivity
Melissa Ostroth/Milkivity

We all know the pain of having a busybody family member making an inappropriate comment, whether it's "well intentioned" or not, when we get together for the holidays. For breastfeeding mamas, however, some of the questions and comments aren't just thoughtless -- they're downright judgmental. From remarks about what mama is eating or drinking to questions about the duration and location of breastfeeding, sometimes family gatherings can be the harshest on breastfeeding moms. That is why lactation consultant and mom Melissa Ostroth penned a stirring post online about some of the most infuriating things nursing mamas hear at the holiday dinner table.

  • Although the lactation consultant says she's never had to deal with a holiday showdown herself, she's heard horror stories from her clients.

    The mom of two tells CafeMom that she has had a family member try to tell her what she should or shouldn't eat while breastfeeding. And "I know mothers personally that I’ve worked with who have been asked to either wear a cover or go into another room," she says.

    But why should a nursing mother miss out on the holiday fun to spend it breastfeeding in a different room? "It can be very depressing and isolating," she explains.

    That is why she took to her Facebook page, Milkivity, and shared some of the most infuriating things breastfeeding moms have to deal with hearing during holiday gatherings. Such as these gems: 

    "Isn’t your baby too old to be breastfeeding?
    Your baby is breastfeeding again you must not be making enough.
    You better not eat the green beans it will make your baby gassy.
    You can’t drink that glass of wine while breastfeeding.
    You’re weaning soon right?"

    Ostroth urged women to give one answer: "Uhhh no [hand wave emoji]." She paired this bold thought with a picture of her proudly breastfeeding her toddler in front of a Christmas tree.

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  • Ostroth's post quickly gained attention, but she says not everyone understood the point she was trying to make.

    Melissa Ostroth/Milkivity
    Melissa Ostroth/Milkivity

    Any time a woman tries to talk about breastfeeding, someone has to have an opinion about it. But Ostroth says that all she really wanted to do was explain how hard it is to be nursing during the holidays.

    "During the holidays, when mothers are getting together with family and extended family, they tend to hear lots of unwanted advice, which is OK, but it’s when they pressure a mother and try to change the way they chose to parent that it becomes a problem," she explains. "It’s very stressful for many. 

    "I have mothers tell me all the time about the anxiety they are having over some of the things I’ve mentioned in my post and how to respond to it," she adds.

    Still, some people weren't getting her message, and told her that a mother should cover up, leave the room, or worse, that any child older than 1 is too old for breastfeeding. That's why Ostroth wrote a follow-up post.

    "I decided to post a pic my husband snapped of me breastfeeding my 2-year-old [Wrenly] right at the dinner table while she waited for all the food to be done to support and encourage mothers," she says.

  • Even more explosive than the first post, the photo shows how breastfeeding a child at the family table can truly be NBD.

    "Here’s a picture of me breastfeeding my 2-year-old right before she digs into her turkey dinner while sitting next to my mother, oldest daughter, and brother," the mom wrote in the caption to her Thanksgiving dinner post on November 28. BOOM. Just like that.

    "You do not need to hide breastfeeding your child," she continued. "No matter their age or where you are at. Breastfeeding does not need to be a private act anymore than if my 2-year-old wanted to drink a glass of cow's milk. ... Breastfeed your children when they want to whether that’s at the mall or Thanksgiving dinner."

    Ostroth tells CafeMom that she ultimately hopes her post and photo will remove some of the stigma and give some women the courage they need to stay strong and not back down from their beliefs.

    "I hope when women have these issues they know they’re not alone and feel encouraged. "Women are still be kicked out of public places and humiliated. Negative comments are given daily," she says.

    "I hope people will read the words and understand what breastfeeding is and to not make breastfeeding mothers feel like they need to hide or feed with a cover on if they wish not to," she adds.

    So this holiday season, be the strong mama you are, and if met with anything but positivity, let your family know that your baby eats just fine, thanks.

breastfeeding