Being a new breastfeeding mother is hard—not that you know, because you don’t have kids (or didn’t breastfeed those toothy monsters). But don’t let that stop you from reaching out to help your fellow woman! Whether she’s a stranger at the Safeway struggling to cover her exposed breast with a vomit-covered cardigan, or your sister-in-law with whom you have a fractious relationship, here are some important suggestions that you should make about what she’s doing wrong or not doing right enough:
Is she eating the correct foods? She’s not eating artificial colors, is she? Is that a hot dog in your hand, Jessica?! Gently suggest that everything that she is eating is wrong and causing her baby to have hunger and gas pains and later Attention-Deficit-Antisocial-Hypochondria-Hyperactive Disorder (it’s new).
Is she also feeding the baby formula? This is a huge no-no, unless, of course, she isn’t producing enough breast milk, which means she isn’t feeding the baby enough and the poor urchin is starving to death! It’s also possible, though, to feed a baby too much (that swaddled bologna she calls a baby is already on its way to inheriting her cankles). Remember to tell her to be careful about nipple confusion, too. You’re not sure what that is, but it sounds confusing and is therefore something that she should be thinking carefully about.
Has she read books about breastfeeding? It’s important to be well read in the rules and lore of lactation, and it will help her to have someone express disappointment at her ignorance. Suggest that you set up a book club to help her get a jumpstart. Schedule it around 9:30 pm on a Saturday, so that she can “get out and feel like a real woman again.” Just don’t let her bring that smelly, crying baby. Yuck!
She isn’t drinking alcohol, is she? The La Leche League suggests a dark beer to help milk production, but everyone knows they’re a lush pack of boozehounds that use suckling as an excuse to tie one on. Grab that drink out of her hand and let her know if it sounds too good to be true, it certainly is.
What are her feelings about breastfeeding in public? It’s her right as parent (and, nay, A WOMAN) to feed her child wherever and whenever it needs feeding…unless it’s at the table next to you at a restaurant, which is totally gross. As a society we shouldn’t sexualize breastfeeding, but we also shouldn’t make every Chili’s a pornographic bonanza. Let her know where the restroom is if she starts to look like she’s feeling frisky.
Is the baby adopted? She could still try to stimulate milk production. Whether or not a woman is able to actually produce milk for her adopted child depends on how much she loves it (or how much it loves her).
Was she breastfed herself? Even if she was, there is still a chance that she is doing it wrong. Has she asked her mother about her own breastfeeding experiences? If her mother is dead, it will be helpful for you to point out that your mother will be a great font of wisdom for you, should you someday decide to breastfeed. She probably should have asked more questions when she had the chance!
How long does she plan to breastfeed? No matter what she answers, furrow your brow with concern. Too short and the baby will grow detached and emotionally vacant. Too long, and he’s going to be a fucking nutcase who stabs ladies in hotel showers.
Has she tried squeezing the milk out while making a honking noise? It seems like this would make sense, right?
Now you’re armed with some great suggestions to give any woman you happen to think is pregnant or has recently given birth—and don’t be shy about making assumptions. Remember, everyone loves getting unsolicited advice, especially when it’s about what they’re doing wrong. Go tell those ladies how you think it should be done, girl!