The first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week, and it’s to create awareness about the importance of breastfeeding for proper development of newborns and support for mothers. (Scroll to the bottom to watch the video instead)
It’s not about judgement or shaming any mother who chooses not to breastfeed or has such challenges that she stops.
It is about bringing in up to date education so you can be better informed, prepared and clear about your goals.
Did you know only 1 third of women actually meet their breastfeeding goals?
Mainly because of the lack of support. Women don’t know who to ask, how to ask and what their options are.
It can also be challenging if you have to go back to work and you need to pump/express for bottles if your baby is with a carer. Make sure you speak to your employer about a supportive breastfeeding environment at work as it should be in place for you and other mothers.
Breastfeeding is a skill. It’s a skill that can come naturally for some, and challenging for others.
How much a woman has been exposed to other women breastfeeding either whilst growing up or before they’ve had their own baby will make a big difference.
When it’s a part of your environment, it filters into your subconscious and if you experienced women having negative breastfeeding experiences you could likely have that belief for yourself.
Whereas if you have seen women have positive breastfeeding experiences, you most likely will too, although it’s not necessarily a given.
Other factors can be at play – many women who experienced sexual abuse need much support if they have the desire to breastfeed if past trauma surfaces.
Who are the right people to receive support from?
There are a few options here. What you do want to avoid is going to your local GP or even midwife/birth work, who has had no up to date training with breastfeeding. Often times, they could have outdated information and not be supporting you in the best way for you and baby.
I’ve heard quite a few stories of midwives being quite rough, insensitive and disrespectful of a mothers breasts and even the baby when showing her how to latch baby on.
This is why having a breastfeeding plan in place is very important, especially if you’re going through the hospital system. I can help you with this by the way.
So, there are people – mostly women but not always – who, like myself, have done breastfeeding training through a course – mine was with Newborn Mothers.
We can help iron out some initial or general challenges and concerns, help with latching, emotional support, confidence building, myth busting and refer you to another health professional if necessary.
Then there are the next level lactation consultants, called IBCLC which stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant who are updating their training yearly and are qualified to assess and diagnose tongue tie.
Depending on the challenge, there are many health providers who can help you – it’s important to know you aren’t alone.
Support around the home is very important, especially if you have other children.
Here’s a couple of tips for you if you have other little ones:
Strewing- this is having a few little ‘ play stations’ or areas near your breastfeeding area. Keep the toys natural and ideally made from timber because they are much more gentle on the ears (for you and baby) when knocked over. Ever heard duplo or hard plastic toys fall? It’s quite harsh. And avoid plastic, flashing, battery operated toys too… because you and I both know you’ll soon have enough of it!
Keep a breastfeeding basket near your breastfeeding areas – with a full water bottle of filtered water, protein snacks and even some dry snacks for your other child/ren, because, guaranteed they will suddenly be hungry as you sit down to breastfeed!
Audio books and music for your other child/ren is easy to organise from your phone
Ask a friend/family member to either take the child/ren for a play date, walk or just in your yard
Invite your child to sit with you, with their doll, and they can pretend to breastfeed. My 3rd son did this after we had our daughter, and she also did this when our 5th was born. It’s sooo cute.
These are just a few things to help you juggle the many things a mother as on her plate!
Remember if you have any questions or want to know how to work with me, please contact me via the link in the comments.
May you have the joy and happiness that breastfeeding can bring, and the support you so deserve, mama.