10 Ways Every Adult Can Support a Breastfeeding Mother!
In 2010, The US Surgeon General urged everyone to support breastfeeding because the people in a home, workplace and community are the prime factors in her breastfeeding success or failure! We now know that there are even more reasons to support breastfeeding . It is up to each of us in this American Culture to support the mother who is nurturing and nourishing her child in the best way possible! In 2009, I published the list below which has been updated in 2012.
“1. WHENEVER YOU SEE A NURSING MOTHER, PRAISE HER FOR HER CHOICE TO BREASTFEED. For new mothers, the first few weeks can be a challenging adjustment, but difficulties do not mean failure. Persistence will result in success and many, many precious moments. (If a new mother has questions or doubts, encourage her to seek help from informed and knowledgeable professionals or successful, experienced nursing mothers instead of from trendy blog posts or mothers who did not have breastfeeding success. For a mother to be successful, she needs information from those who were also successful; even if it means working through challenges. (For a reputable site, go to: http://www.llli.org/ or help the new mother find a certified lactation consultant in her area).
2. BE AWARE THAT THERE CAN BE RISKS IN INTRODUCING ANYTHING OTHER THAN BREASTMILK DURING THE FIRST SIX MONTHS. Risks may include a higher incidence of illnesses, ear infections, all allergies, obesity, diabetes, diarrhea, malnutrition, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) as well as a host of digestive disorders. (American Academy of Pediatrics Statement on Breastfeeding)
3. REINFORCE MOTHER THAT SHE HAS PLENTY OF MILK FOR HER BABY. Remind her that breast milk is produced by supply and demand. Supplementing her baby with other fluids will reduce a mother’s milk supply. Plenty of healthy fluids help mother produce plenty of milk. Developing an adequate milk supply could be as simple as ensuring that baby is latched on to breast correctly to stimulate milk production. Because we as a culture in the US are not accustomed to seeing women breastfeed, many new mothers do not realize just what a good latch looks like!
4. PROVIDE NURSING MOTHERS WITH A COMFORTABLE & SUPPORTIVE PLACE TO FEED her baby without shame or self-consciousness—even in public. The more we can help mothers feel comfortable feeding their babies in public, the better fed our babies will be! You wouldn’t want to eat your lunch in a toilet stall, would you? Why should we expect a baby to do this then!
5. OFFER TO HELP MOTHERS WITH NON-FEEDING NECESSITIES like cooking, cleaning, and shopping so mothers can rest and enjoy dedicated feeding and crucial bonding moments with their babies. The best way for a mother to develop confidence in her mothering instincts and breastfeeding abilities is to practice, not to have others practice!
6. INSIST THAT ALL THOSE AROUND A MOTHER REFRAIN FROM CONVERSATIONS THAT INSTILL DOUBT IN HER MILK SUPPLY. If a mother is feeling nervous, frustrated, inadequate, or fearful that she is starving her baby, her ‘let-down reflex’ may not release her milk, due to a stress response—even when she has plenty of milk! Babies with a higher need to suck are not necessarily hungry and may benefit from more frequent feedings and/or a frontal baby carrier in-between feedings. Some babies do well just nursing on one side per feeding to satisfy their sucking needs.
7. ENCOURAGE A MOTHER TO EXTEND HER TIME AT HOME WITH HER BABY BEFORE RETURNING TO WORK. Encourage mother to continue nursing while working with a breast pump and supportive caregivers/employers. Many states have laws that protect breastfeeding/working mothers and many laws are changing today to encourage this practice.
8. PLAN AHEAD FOR TRAVEL STOPS during outings, vacations, or extended travel. Normal stops are about every two hours for feedings and diaper changes.
9. VISIT THE MOTHER AT HOME. Bring the entertainment to Mom, or make it easy for her to get out with her baby. Do not pressure a mother to leave her baby at home during feeding times.
10. ALWAYS TELL A BREASTFEEDING MOTHER THAT SHE LOOKS GORGEOUS. Maintain a socially acceptable attitude towards a mother’s body image and physiological changes during the breastfeeding period because this first year is the most important investment in a child’s health and development.
REMEMBER: PLENTY of REST, PLENTY of FLUIDS, A GOOD LATCH, FREQUENT NURSING, and ABOVE ALL a SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT WILL HELP MOM & BABY THRIVE in THEIR NEW RELATIONSHIP.”
From Chapter 3
THE NEW PHYSICS OF CHILDHOOD: Replacing Modern Myths with Simple Strategies
by Christina Ivazes, a.k.a. Granny Pants © 2009
Christina Ivazes is a mother of three grown daughters, a grandmother of eight, all of whom were breastfed. Christina had two homebirths and attended the births of 7 of her grandchildren. She is a former La Leche League Leader and is currently studying to become a Certified Lactation Educator while she attends graduate school at San Francisco State University in California.
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