DEAR ABBY: I am a new mother to a perfect baby boy. Everywhere I go -- the grocery store, my front yard, my daughter's school -- people ask, "You are breastfeeding, right?" Why should it matter to strangers whether or not I'm breastfeeding my baby? It has no effect on them whatsoever. It's a personal decision. What's worse is when I have formula in my shopping cart and someone stops to lecture me about breastfeeding.
People need to stop shaming mothers for using formula and quit asking questions that are none of their business. It's a personal choice and not up for discussion. As long as a mother is feeding her baby, she's doing a great job. -- MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
DEAR MYOB: As well-meaning as these individuals may be, I agree it is none of their beeswax how you nourish your baby. Why not give them tit for tat? Tell them you plan to raise your baby without their input and you don't appreciate their comments. Then walk on and continue your shopping.
DEAR ABBY: As I write this, I am shaking with frustration. My dear dad died a week ago. I put an obituary in the paper and online that requested in lieu of flowers to please donate to two specific noncontroversial charities.
I'm sitting here surrounded by nine plants and bouquets of flowers! I'm so upset each time another one is delivered. My house looks like a funeral parlor. I don't have the time to take them to a hospital, so I'm tossing them. I would like to help cure the cancer that claimed my dad. Each plant reminds me of a waste of money.
Please remind people to respect the wishes of the family. -- GRIEVING DAUGHTER IN WISCONSIN
DEAR DAUGHTER: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your father. Your desire to contribute to cancer research is understandable considering the circumstances. It's possible that friends and acquaintances who saw his obituary didn't read carefully through it and sent the offerings on impulse. Or perhaps they did both. But your comments have merit, which is why I'm printing them.
DEAR ABBY: Why is love such a hard thing to find? I am a boy who often feels alone. I have never experienced true love, even though I often meet girls I'd like to be with. What holds me back is the fear of approaching and talking to them.
My fear puts me in despair, and I feel lonely. What would you suggest to overcome these feelings so I can find happiness? -- OUTSIDER IN HAWAII
DEAR OUTSIDER: True love is usually built on friendship. Friendships are generally based on common interests. What are the things you are interested in?
You call yourself a "boy," so I assume you are still in school. Consider joining clubs and activities that are offered there, such as sports, drama or music. Churches sponsor activities for youth, as well. Sign up for them and you will increase your chances of making friends.
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