If you’ve ever said “I support breastfeeding, but [insert almost any phrase],” I must break it to you:
You don’t truly support breastfeeding if you need to put a condition upon it. (This goes for the reluctant “supporters” and passionate advocates alike).
Alternatives & Solid Food Buts
…but only if the milk is in a bottle.
…but not if the milk is supplemented with formula.
…but not when it’s called “best” or “better than” the alternatives.
…but only until the child can drink cow’s milk.
…but not if Daddy/relative/visiting friend says it’s their turn to feed the child.
…but not if the child is eating solid food.
…but not made into other food products like butter, ice cream, coffee creamer, and popsicles.
Arbitrary Age & Developmental Buts
I support breastfeeding, but not after six months/one year/two years/school age/any age.
…but not if the child can “ask for it.”
…but not if the child can walk.
…but not if the child has a tooth.
…but not child-led weaning.
…but not mother-led weaning.
…but only if they breastfeed long enough.
…but not letting the child “use his mother as a pacifier.”
…but not if the child seemed to have already weaned.
…but not breastfeeding to sleep/through the night.
…but not if the child will have memories of it.
Public Breastfeeding Buts
I support breastfeeding, but not in a church/restaurant/pool/military base/courtroom/airplane/store, etc.
…but only in the privacy of their home.
…but not if someone asks them to leave.
…but only if it’s covered.
…but only if it’s done “with modesty.”
…but not at my business/at my event/anywhere I invite the mother and her child to both be.
…but only if it’s taken “away” (aren’t they supposed to use those nursing rooms? Or maybe try the bathroom?).
Inappropriately Sexualizing Buts
I support breastfeeding, but not if the child is a [insert sex].
…but not in front of men or boys.
…but not in front of children.
…but not if they’re skin-to-skin (topless).
…but not if the mother’s areola is visible.
…but not if the mother is a minor.
…but not if the mother is sexually oriented to the child’s sex (for example, a heterosexual woman nursing a male child).
…but not if the mother’s sexual orientation is considered socially alternative.
…but not if the mother is intersex, transsexual, or transgender.
…but only if the mother is what I consider to be sexually attractive.
…but not if the mother is what I consider to be sexually attractive.
…but only if the mother says she doesn’t enjoy it.
I support breastfeeding, but not in a first world, modern country.
…but not tandem breastfeeding.
…but not exclusive breastfeeding.
…but not supplemented breastfeeding.
…but not wet nursing.
…but not milk sharing.
…but not if the mother is “too old.”
…but not adoptive breastfeeding.
…but not breastfeeding during pregnancy.
…but not getting a break to pump at work.
…but only if the mother tries hard enough to breastfeed.
Unnecessarily Restrictive Buts
I support breastfeeding, but not if the mother is having a drink.
…but not if the mother exercises.
…but not if the mother takes medications.
…but not if the mother dyes her hair/has implants/makes various other cosmetic choices.
…but not if the mother gets body mods like tattoos and piercings.
…but only if the mother’s diet is perfect.
…but not if the mother lives in a polluted environment.
…but not with mastitis/thrush/inverted nipples/other conditions.
…but not using breast milk as a medicine (for eye drops, lotion, ointment, etc).
Getting Personal Buts
I support breastfeeding, but not the mother sharing photos of it.
…but not seeing mothers wearing jewelry and other weird stuff made of breast milk.
…but not if the mother or baby is a person of color.
…but not if the mother is religious.
…but not being a ‘lactivist’ or ‘breastfeeding nazi’ about it.
…but only if the mother strongly advocates about it.
…but only if the mother loves every second of it.
…but not if the mother complains about it.
…but not open conversation about it.
If you truly support breastfeeding, it means you understand what it is, how it works, and what it looks like. It’s not one size fits all and you can appreciate (if not celebrate) that. You know not all breastfeeding children are the same, their mothers aren’t the same, and it’s a healthy, normal part of raising young humans.
The only ‘butters’ we should hear about when it comes to breastfeeding? Well, breast milk butter, of course! Other than that, there should be no buts about breastfeeding.
Jon Snow said it on Game of Thrones the other day. “What did father used to say? Everything before the word ‘but’ is horse shit.”