I was going to write this yesterday and title it something like, “Come at me, NURSE” but fortunately I’ve learned to cool off before I blog now (though sometimes I ignore that lesson).
I went to a first-aid medical practice yesterday that I’ve visited quite a bit over the years. During the routine questions the nurse asked before the doctor came in, it came up that I’m breastfeeding.
“How old is your little one?” she smiled.
“He’s a little over 2,” I replied.
“You’re STILL breastfeeding a TWO YEAR OLD?” she remarked, followed by what I can best describe as an audible eye-roll and an “Okaaaay…” as she entered something into my chart.
I was there for pink eye, not pink tits, gnawed to stumps by ferocious toddler. Her reaction seemed more on par with her learning I slept with a loaded gun between my baby and me.
Honestly, I was shocked. I mean, I know this kind of judgment exists. I’m a freaking mommy blogger. Come on. But, like, to my face… like that… from a nurse?
Uhm, no. This will not do.
So here’s a packet of papers I’m dropping off at the office first thing tomorrow.
It includes a letter to the doctor – the last line reads
“So I’ve taken the time to print a few helpful articles from reputable medical organizations that I hope you will share with her before she shames another mother.”
and print outs from the following links (WHO, Dr. Sears, MayoClinic). I may have got a touch aggressive with the Sharpie, underlining and circling points of interest.
The thing is, I’m not discouraged. When it’s time to stop we’ll stop.
I breastfed my first until he was 13 months old, my second until 22 months, and they both were happy with when we stopped.
Lowell, at 26 months, is just not there yet. It would be AWFUL to stop right now. Not so much for me. Truly, I would be sad maybe for a day, but I’m pretty over it at this point. But for him, it would be hard. And I’m just not ready to make my life a shade of hell right now over it. << All of that is a justification I owe nobody.
For another mom, though? Dude. What if she’s getting no support from home, and she encounters a response like this from a medical professional? What if this is the shame cherry on the shitty sundae she’s been dealing with?
You don’t have to cheer a breastfeeding mom on, but you should definitely keep your judgement to yourself, ESPECIALLY when you are a medical professional. You already know about my monthly cycle, how much I weigh, and all about my cysticle. I could do without the unsolicited and unnecessary opinions. We all could.
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I love that you outlined information with a Sharpie! LOL
On a serious note, though, good for you for following up. That shit is ridiculous. I’m sorry it happened.
I love that you outlined information with a Sharpie! LOL
On a serious note, though, good for you for following up. That shit is ridiculous. I’m sorry it happened.
Go girl! I’m glad you are there to back up other mamas.
Awesome. Mind you, admire you’re ability to calm down – still working on that myself. But awesome on the approach you took. Educating those who are supposed to be educated enough to advise objectively and supportively. Yay you! Absolutely understand (similar dodgy raft with 3rd child) but you shouldn’t HAVE to make it understandable to anybody. YAY YOU!!
As a pediatric nurse, I love that you’re doing this
Let’s just add “medically outdated and irrelevant” to the descriptors of her opinion, at the end.
My little girl decided she was done at 2.5.
I saw a male dr at an after hours clinic for a cold last week. When he was ready to prescribe my meds I told him I can’t take the z pak or any form of penicillin bc my son is allergic and has reacted in my milk. Once he found out my son is 21 months he literally told me I need to get him off the teat. Who says that?
I love that you are educating them! No one should be made to feel guilty or ashamed of their choices.
I’m so sorry you were treated like this by a nurse of all people. But thank you for posting this. I’m “still” nursing my 15 month old and I get a lot of remarks. I’m embarrassed to nurse in public now that she’s past 1, and it’s sad because that’s when she wants comforted the most because she’s tired or overstimulated and she’ll dig down my shirt and try to get it herself. Ugh. I’m on the same page as you. Although I’m okay with being done, she is absolutely no where near ready and I’m not going to take it from her and make my life any harder than it already is.
Love that you stood up for yourself
Yup, I nursed #3 until she was 27 mos old and I received the shocked face a couple of times from medical professionals. And if I’m not mistaken, my daughter wasn’t even two at the time. Thanks for taking the time out to attempt to educate someone who should absolutely know better.
I’m still nursing my three-year-old, and the doctor told me last week it’s time to stop. He said it’s the reason my son is a picky eater. Crazy thing is, he can see the medical charts. He knows my son has tubes and has had 20+ ear infections. Nursing has kept him from needing to be hospitalized for dehydration!
Even crazier, my son’s ENT wants me to go “as long as possible.” Completely different opinions.
As a nurse, and I am in no way defending her rude and judgemental attitude, I would be a little surprised by your answer to nursing a 26 month old. But then I would ask, “well you both must enjoy it and that is so sweet you still have that bonding time when usually all a 2 year old wants to do is run like a wild person.” Or something along those lines. I could never have BF for 2 years, but it’s awesome you can and. You are. And really, the print outs, with sharpie and taking them into the office…. Can you video that??? Because that is totally something I would do and is why I love you!!!
Jill, oh I get it. I would fire her. She is violating patient privacy, something I hold very sacred. And it’s none of her business. And she is being a judgemental twit. Now, go in and set them straight and report back to us. We love you!!
You totally did the right thing. I don’t know if I would have reacted so maturely. Her behaviour is appauling.
“All of that is a justification I owe nobody.” <-- That.
I’m nursing a 3 years old. I can’t believe it but I am. My little boy just “loves momma milk”.
I’m a nurse and if I would have been your nurse I would have given you a high five! I am breastfeeding my 4 week old and will continue to do so until he is ready to stop, just as i did with my first two.
I am nodding and agreeing ! I am still breastfeeding my 28 month old ( 2 and a bit ) and was recently shamed and eye rolled at by my sons first ever dental nurse because in her opinion my breastfeeding would rot his teeth . I was belittled and made to feel inadequate! I am just thankful that I have my own mind a supportive husband and no intention to give up breastfeeding ! Ignorance around breastfeeding toddlers is rife !
I was only able to BF for a short time due to medical issues, and I think it’s great you are still able and that you have that bond. That nurse was so out of line.
Thank you for writing this. I nursed my first until he we 2 months away from his 3rd birthday. He decided when he was done, and really I think it was because I was pregnant and we told him that his little sister would need the milk soon. My family doctor told me “you know you can stop breastfeeding now” and my response was “yep I know, but I also know it’s good for him”. I couldn’t believe my own doctor was telling me that. I’ve been trying to find a new doctor ever since.
Situations like this are why many people are hesitant to talk about “extended” breastfeeding, which means it’s even less of a norm, which means people feel like it’s something they should be ashamed of. I’m glad you are using your experience as an opportunity to educate that office. Hopefully they will learn something about this topic. Nurse on, mama!
I had a medical clerk refuse to schedule a procedure that my OBGYN and I had discussed, researched and had cleared with my insurance because I was nursing my first at a year. I finally got the Doc on the phone, I was in tears. I wasn’t brave enough to give her educational materials, but I wasn’t going to wean for a 2 second procedure that a clerk pushed papers. I never had to deal with that clerk again ( though she still worked there. I’m guesse she was good at fighting insurance billing.)
I breastfed my first for 18 months sexond for four months third for six months and the forth for 26 months. They all stopped when they wanted, not when I wanted. Except the second one who was colicky on my milk and was a way different kid on formula as well as I went to work at that time. Wouldn’t change it for the world.
Thank you for posting, thank you for taking the time to communicate to the Drs office. Hopefully this will make her think twice about a reaction like that…
See, I’m not a nice person. My immediate reaction of Bytch, is something wrong with your eyes, is not helpful (but I’m pretty sure it’s what would have come out). As I get older, my ability to contain my honest responses lessens. I’m glad you’re going back today, though. I’m glad you have literature. Random woman on the street who wants to be judgmental? I get your idiocy. Stranger lady online who wants to be judgmental? I get your idiocy. NURSE IN MY FACE who is judgmental? No. This will not do.
Bravo! My daughter is 2 months shy of 3 years old and she’s still nursing. I know people find it strange that I still nurse her, but it’s only occasionally and really it’s not their kid so I don’t care about their opinion. It’s just one more thing her and her baby brother bond over 🙂 And I will let them both decide when they are ready to wean. So glad you educated them with that info because it’s so important. I refuse to be shamed for what I’m doing because there is nothing shameful about it, but for the mom who isn’t as strong as I am in that department that would be a terrible situation to be in.
Good for you for knowing your rights and doing something to educate someone like that. They should not be in a medical field if they can’t keep judgements to themselves. Especially one that treats moms!!
I nursed my son until just shy of his 4th birthday. I never dreamed I would nurse that long, but it happened one day at a time and we stopped when we were both ready. You can read my story here: http://blog.mothersboutique.com/gentle-weaning-one-moms-journey-through-breastfeeding/
AAP also says as long as is mutually desirable. That might carry more weight than Sears, who has been under fire lately. I’m glad you’re going the extra mile to try to educate. Hopefully it will prevent another mother from getting that reaction from her.
Big ol’ disappointed sigh for the medical community on this one. I’m sorry, did I ASK for your commentary on my parenting choices when I came in here about my EYE?
The average age of weaning in America is 6 months.. the rest of the world is 4 and 1/2 years… I would say the rest of the world has it right as do you 🙂
I breastfed my kids until 11 months, 15 months, 3 years, 4.5 years & 4.5 years. (When you add that all up it is nearly 10 years breastfeeding – wow). With the youngest of the twins the Ped told me to breastfeed as long as possible because she has/had severe allergies and 1) he wanted her to get the immune boosting effects from the breast milk & 2) he wanted her to have something healthy to drink since she was allergic to dairy, eggs, and nuts.
Lol was this by chance at st. Josephs hospital? That nurse sounds like my mother in law.
Ok you can raise your child how you see fit. But why get an attitude because you got an eye roll. Get over yourself. The kid can ask for regular food and has teeth. So cut the umbilical cord.
I would love to hear what happened when you went and spoke with the Doctor. How did he respond?
Breastfeed for the first year to ensure that your child gets all of the benefits they can from it. (at least 3-6months if you can’t do more). However, breastfeeding past 2 is actually bad. There’s a reason other mammals stop breastfeeding at certain point. You may think you’re doing the right thing because you child still wants to breastfeed. Have you ever tasted your milk? Its as sweet as cream, it’s pretty much a dessert to them. Read up on the harms of dairy and why you and your family should stop eating/drinking it http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/06/24/dairy-6-reasons-you-should-avoid-it-at-all-costs-2/
Wow, I am so proud of you for educating that office and not losing your cool with the “ever-so-wrong” nurse. Nursing my two daughters gave me the two sweetest relationships of my life. They were healthy when they were small despite being with other kids a lot and seeing family and friends regularly with all the accompanying germ exposures.
You are doing the right thing; thank you. I also sent a comment out on Twitter, LinkedIn and the ubiquitous FaceBook.
I am still nursing my 32 month old (2 3/4 yrs) and I have had several recent occasions where I needed to bring that up in a variety of medical appointments. Each time I would brace myself a little inside but I’m happy to report that no doctor or nurse even missed a beat when they found out he was still nursing and they all immediately adjusted their recommendations to accommodate our situation without the slightest bit of judgement. I’m sorry that nurse was so rude but I’m glad you are not just letting it go.
The education of healthcare providers apparently falls short when it comes to teaching the concept of patient autonomy, professionalism and good, old-fashioned manners. Shame on this nurse. Hooray for this mom.
I was a ‘marathon’ nursing mother to each of my three children, and I never gave any thought to if I was ‘doing the right thing.’ It was my business and mine, alone.
I nursed my first child for two years, weaning him only because of hyperemesis with my second pregnancy. I breastfed my second child for nearly three years. Fast forward seven years, and I nursed my third child until slightly beyond age four.
Today, they are each college-educated, normal-functioning adults and contributing members of society–my point being that long-term breatfeeding did them no harm. Actually, they were very seldom sick as children and, to this day, each enjoys excellent health, fitness and wellness.
So, mothers…ignore the nay-sayers who attempt to insert themselves in your (maternal) business. You are free to nurture however you choose, and the early years with your children should be what YOU want them to be.
My kid is three, he still sleeps with me and bfs. I just don’t tell his ped– it’s just easier that way.
FYI This person is not a NURSE meaning Registered Nurse. She is most likely an assistant who earned a certificate.
Her title allows her to do monitoring of vital signs,weight and document your concerns. She represents only her uneducated and non professional view. Check with your MD’s office regarding her job title. Her behavior was
unacceptable and should be addressed. I doubt she represents your MD’s attitude. Prehaps you could put togrther a presentation for the office on breastfeeding.
Wow. That nurse is going to give that look to an overly stresses out mom and get the crap kicked out of her one day. I completely agree with what you said 100%. The only reason why she knows is because she’s a medical professional. I have my CMA/AMA, I WOULD NEVER GIVE A LOOK LIKE THAT TO A PATIENT, EVER. Last year I had a similar situation at my OB-GYN’S while I was 7 months pregnant; it took everything I had not to slap this person and scream at them; and I just politely asked for someone else and I think she was more shocked that I was so calm about it (which probably means that people have tried to slap her before). She asked why and I said what I did for a living a few years ago and that I had my CMA/AMA and calmly told her I was offended by what she said, and that I would never talk to ANYONE THAT WAY. WHAT IF SOMEONE GOES HOME AND KILLS THEMSELVES BECAUSE OF HOW U JUDGED THEM?
I have been fortunate that in an office setting I’ve never had any weirdness. I did have to deal with some oddness once at the ER when my son was 20m & apparently they had enver seen a child “that old’ nurse before & had tons of concerns that he was not on solids…no idea WHY they thought that. I repeatedly had to explain that he eats meals like all children that age *and* nurses. It’s not rocket science, but was terribly confusing to them I guess. Not sure why I am informing medical personel on normal human lactation information.
Once upon a time, I was that mom with judge-y eyes who thought one-and-done was the ONLY option when it came to actual nursing. Before nursing my daughter, I’d pumped for 16 months because I was super obsessed that my twin sons receive the exact same amount of milk. When it came to nursing, I’d never considered the possibility going beyond 1 year.
Until I did it.
My sons kept bringing home cooties and my daughter was getting sick on a regular despite my nursing. I decided to keep it going for her health. I’ve never hugged a tree in my life or worn Jesus sandles but suddenly I felt like I was some hippie mom which was so foreign to me.
I nursed for more than 2 years until I got a mean case of mastitis. I say do what feels right for you and your son. And bump all those judge-y people.
As a paediatric nurse who is also breastfeeding my almost 23 month old, I hear your pain. I get that type of judgement from some of my colleagues at work. These people definitely need to be better informed of the current WHO recommendations on breastfeeding. Anyways – high five for the feeding the toddler. I have to go feed my little one to sleep. He’s tapping my chest
[…] Putting nurses in their place, or at least this particular one […]
My (now 19 yr olds) Ped told me breast milk had no calories after a baby turned 1. I was like IS IT MAGIC??? For goodness sake. But I nursed him til he was 2.5, then my other 2 to similar ages til they quit. Now I have a 5 month old and we are in it til he’s done. I am sorry this nurse was shirty with you. Honestly. What the hell.
Wow! Thank you! I permanently needed to write on my site something like that. Can I include a part of your post to my website?