Creating Your Support System

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is your tips to succeed. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 22nd through August 4th!
 


 

The number one thing I tell a pregnant mom when she asks me about breastfeeding is create your support system. I think that’s the biggest thing that helped me through my breastfeeding journey, especially in those early days. A support system is crucial and sadly in our society it doesn’t automatically come with being a new mom. For most of us, we have to actively create our own support systems and here is my guide on how to do so.

Start early. Many moms don’t think about breastfeeding until after the baby comes. The trick to handling those first few days is to have your system in place, as much as possible, before your baby even enters this world. I always tell pregnant moms that they should attend a meeting of La Leche League in their area while they’re still pregnant. Many moms feel awkward about this because they’re going without actually having breastfed, but it’s immensely helpful. First there’s the fact that small hiccups don’t even get in your way when you’re just you (even if you’re a bigger and clumsier you) that will break your day when you’re a new mom. Trying to find where to park, where the actual meeting is, getting over the fear of meeting new people. These things are so much more difficult when you’re lugging a new baby and all their gear. Get it out of the way before they come and after when you need help or support, it’ll be old news when baby is here. Secondly, La Leche League moms love to answer questions for breastfeeding moms. Almost every time a pregnant mom comes to a meeting, they ask if it’s true that you need to “toughen up your nipples” before the baby comes. First off, NO! Do not injure your nipples before baby arrives! That’s just setting you up for breastfeeding troubles. Second, I even thought this. I think it was a common tip when we were babies and now our moms are passing the info along. Anyway, questions are great. Come and ask them.

Find online support. When you’re a new mom, hours feel like days. When you’re up at 2am feeding baby and have a question, it’ll feel like an eternity until you can call someone in the morning. Online, not only are there likely other moms who are up with their babies, but there are moms who are in different time zones. 4am for you might be 7am for someone else and they’re already awake and on their computer. My favorite online places for peer-to-peer support are Twitter (amazing, really), the Mothering.com forums, and Facebook groups (there are many in my area for alternative-minded mamas).

Be vocal about your choices. In my experience, the more passionate I am about a subject, the less someone will try to sway my opinion. If from day one you are very strict and vocal that your baby will receive breast milk and breast milk only, noisy “helpers” are less likely to get in the way. Truly, I know many of these people are trying to help, but the people directly around you can really get in the way of breastfeeding success. If your mother is pushing formula or your husband is complaining about bonding by feeding (Which, may I add, is phooey. There are plenty of ways to bond that don’t require a bottle.) you’re less likely to meet your goals. Being confident and vocal about it will tell others to back off. It’s your baby, you’re allowed to be in charge. And along the lines of confidence…

Know your stuff. I know it’s impossible to read all of the breastfeeding information out there, but the more you educate yourself the more you’ll know what to say if someone does confront you. Or if someone who is misinformed (like say… your doctor) tells you something that’s completely wrong, you’ll know not to follow that advice. Start with The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding for the basics and some common issues.

Lastly, find support near you. I mentioned La Leche League earlier and that is definitely my number one group for breastfeeding, but there are many other groups. In my area, there’s also a “crunchy moms” group and a babywearing group. I’m sure there’s even more if I looked closer. Even regular ‘ole mommy groups can help you find your tribe, though in my experience it’s harder to find like-minded mamas in those ones. Also try to find people you know outside of mommyhood that breastfeed or breastfed their babies. I was surprised to find out my husband’s boss’s wife had breastfed both of their children.

I hope these tips are helpful for the pregnant and new mamas out there trying to find support. I truly believe that finding a support system is the biggest thing you can do to set yourself up for breastfeeding success.

 


 
Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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