There are a lot of conversations parents should probably have before deciding to start a family together. Discussing things like how you’ll parent, what religious holidays you’ll celebrate, and even whether the baby will share your last names ahead of time is an easy way to avoid clashing once your little one has arrived. For a pair of teen parents on Reddit, adding breastfeeding to the list could’ve saved them a few nasty fights.
Reddit user mommy20473 took to Reddit to share the story of a fight that she and her boyfriend recently got into: “My boyfriend and I are both 18, we have a 6 month old daughter who is exclusively breastfed,” she wrote. “She hasn’t shown much of an interest in food yet, and I have absolutely no intention of formula feeding, provided I’m still able to BF.”
According to this mom, her boyfriend has asked her on more than one occasion when she plans on weaning their daughter.
“I’ll stop when I have to or when baby self weans, but my goal is to make it to 18mo if I can,” she said, adding that her boyfriend generally doesn’t have a clue about women’s bodies, “and just doesn’t quite get things.” Apparently, things got a little heated recently when mommy20473 was nursing their daughter to sleep, and the two butted heads on the topic again. “
“Yesterday, he came upstairs at bed time when I was feeding baby and said, ‘I think she’s getting a bit too old for that; it might be time for formula and real food.’ This kind of upset me because I know the average age to stop breastfeeding around the world is between 2.5 and 7 yrs, and he’s constantly making stupid remarks,” she wrote. “I was mad and I told him, ‘You don’t get to decide how old is too old until you carry her around for nine months, push her out, and then have her attached to your tit everyday. Fuck right off.’ And he did fuck off to his friend’s for the night.”
After her boyfriend left, the mom sent a group message to some friends about their fight and a few of them were quick to side with her boyfriend, saying that dad should have a say in the situation.
She ended the post with an edit, adding that the reason her boyfriend doesn’t like the fact that she’s still nursing is because he thinks “it’s weird.” Which we happen to think is all we need to know about whether he should get a say in anything having to do with breastfeeding.
And most of Reddit agreed that in this situation, mother knows best. User Katja1236 said that weaning is a joint decision between baby and mother. “My son self-weaned at a year old, so don’t kick yourself if you don’t make 18 mos, though that’s a perfectly good goal,” they wrote, advising her to talk to the baby’s pediatrician about starting solids.
User dauphineep suggested that the boyfriend might be sexualizing breastfeeding and lacking in his understanding of the current recommendations and guidelines for nursing moms. “Babies [eat] solids for fun under the age of 1. You’re doing the right thing. Has he done any reading on the care and feeding of infants?”
Lastly, user BeepBlipBlapBloop brought up the very good point that while mommy20473 is right, maybe she could have handled the conversation a little bit better. “I was with you right up until you described the way you handled the situation,” they wrote. “You are 100 percent right in your reasoning and totally wrong in your execution. Nothing good comes from talking to each other like that. Your kid is young; just wait until it starts picking up on the way you talk to each other and sending it back your way. It’s better to get used to being kind to each other right now.”
Bloop ended by saying, “You decide how long to breastfeed. He can have an opinion about it, but the ultimate choice is yours.”
Generally speaking, we’re all for parents coming to an agreement about their childrearing decisions, but not when it comes to breastfeeding. We would no more tell someone that they had to breastfeed against their wishes than we would tell them they had to stop when they wanted to keep at it. In this instance, we think this dad needs to crack open a parenting book (or at the very least read an article) and learn some of the ins and outs of raising a kid.
He can start here with some of these gorgeous breastfeeding portraits.