Mum Says "Tell them to f**k off & mind their own business!”by Laura Driver
Phoebe Shields, from Australia, says she encountered her “fair share of judgement and criticism” when breastfeeding her three-year-old son while out and about and says she shouldn’t have to justify breastfeeding, at whatever age.
Phoebe penned an Instagram post sharing how she deals with criticism, and she urged fellow mums not to stop breastfeeding due to stigma.
She said: “As the breastfeeding mother of a toddler, I have encountered my fair share of judgment and criticism. It would appear that, if you choose to breastfeed your baby past 12 months of age, you are almost guaranteed to come across some kind of negativity. Ultimately, I do not believe it is a mother’s responsibility to hide or to justify her decision to breastfeed her child.”
Phoebe, who also runs a Facebook page, says she wanted to research how to avoid judgement when breastfeeding a toddler, or how to handle criticism, but in the end she wanted to share one single piece of advice.
She wrote: “Remember WHY you are doing it. Perhaps you are breastfeeding your toddler because of the proven ongoing health benefits such as enhanced nutrition, cognitive development and protection against infectious and chronic diseases. Perhaps you do it for emotional reasons, because it makes your toddler feel safe, loved and nurtured. Perhaps you do it simply because it still gives you and your toddler a sense of joy or self-achievement. Or perhaps you do it because it is bloody well the quickest way to get your little one back to sleep in the middle of night! Whatever your reasons are, they are valid and valuable. The next time someone gives you unsolicited weaning advice or gives you a dirty look while you are breastfeeding, remind yourself of the personal reasons you are continuing this beautiful breastfeeding journey. And if all else fails, tell them to f**k off and mind their own business!”
Phoebe also called for more support around breastfeeding, as she rejected the idea it “comes naturally” to women. She added: “Breastfeeding, like all new skills, requires information and support. Mothers are being told that they SHOULD breastfeed, but not being provided the knowledge or support needed to learn this skill.”