Tough Women Don’t Breastfeed?


The other day I overheard a dad talking to another dad about his wife being pregnant. The one dad asked the other if his wife was planning on breastfeeding. He responded in all seriousness,  “ Tough women don’t breastfeed , they make their husbands feed the baby.” At first this statement hit me as so wrong, that I was taken back for a moment. First of all, only “tough” women breastfeed. It takes dedication, tolerance of discomfort, and the strength and ability to wake every few hours to feed their baby. These are among many other talents that new moms face. If that is not a “tough” woman, then I do not know what is.

The word tough also stuck with me because being tough does not mean, not doing what is best or what comes natural to a mother when she has a baby. They are tough in that they just carried and delivered their baby. They are tough for sticking with or even attempting to breastfeed. But handing over the baby every time for someone else to feed, instead of themselves, does not not qualify as a “tough woman” in my opinion.

What do you think makes a tough woman? Does a woman become tougher during pregnancy in preparation for the new demands of her baby? Or can the word tough  be thrown out the window in describing something that is a natural occurrence within our species and world? I have known many women who were unable to breastfeed, but I would still consider them tough women for their parenting skills, their mindset, among many other attributes that I find are skillful in being a good mother and person. When you think of a tough woman what images pop into your mind? Do you have some of those qualities? Did your mother or other women in your life model such “toughness” that you have acquired?

– Drew Starr


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Taryn
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 02:18:54

    That comment bothers me too. Tough is breastfeeding through over supply and under supply, through thrush and mastisis, through countless middle-of-the-night feedings. Breastfeeding my daughter was (initially only, thank heavens) one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, and it without a doubt made me tough.


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