I’ve read that people who are breastfed are more likely to breastfeed their own children. But what if you don’t come from a family where breastfeeding is the norm? What if your partners’ parents hate the idea of you breastfeeding? What if you partner wants you to formula feed but you want to breastfeed? I’ve sold Lactivist t-shirts to many mums who say that they stop mother in laws negative comments but what else can you do to get support instead of critisism?
Here are some ideas – I’d love you to add to the list!
Please add your ideas by commenting below
Neuner’s Organic Nursing Tea is made from a premium mixture of organic herbs and is the perfect drink whilst breastfeeding.
Ingredients: anise, fennel, verbena, caraway and fenugreek seeds
organically grown herbs, 100% natural, no added flavourings
20 tea bags each with 2g (total of 40g)
Breast milk is the healthiest and most natural basis for your baby. Being a mother is stressful and exhausting. Not drinking enough or drinking the wrong things may affect your milk production or your baby’s digestion.Neuner’s Organic Nursing Tea is made from a premium mixture of organic herbs and is the perfect drink whilst breastfeeding.Fenugreek seeds promote the breast milk supply, fennel, caraway and anise are pleasant for both mother and baby.
Each tea bag is separately sealed in foil and can be used to produce 0.5 litres of delicious and healthy nursing tea. You can drink up to one litre of breastfeeding tea a day. Neuner’s Organic Nursing Tea, has a great taste and a relaxing effect on you and your baby.
After over a years hard work ‘Just Call Me Daisy; Breastfeeding Mothers’ Stories’ is published. If you would like to purchase a copy please use this link:
A collection of 39 true and unique breastfeeding stories and poems. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, always poignant, but delivering a fresh approach about the breastfeeding experience. An anthology to inspire mums who are thinking about, or are already breastfeeding. Written by mums (and some dads) for mums, this collection is not an alternative to professional advice, but a unique approach to explain breastfeeding from people with experience. Donations from the sales of this book go to the charity Baby Milk Action.
Lyndsey works for a Breastfeeding Support Company, supporting Breastfeeding groups in Derbyshire. She is also Managing Director of EAT…Derby Magazine. She is married to Mike, and has two sons, Jacob (3) and Nathanial (1) and a dog called Riley.
Lyndsey Bradley, Talk and book signing, 5th December 2009, 11 am, Countrybookshop, DE45 1NW
Thank you for supporting me.Lynd
Wikipedia has this to say about breastfeeding and nipple piercing:
“Nipple piercing and breastfeeding
A common question among women who consider nipple piercings is how it may affect breastfeeding. There is no evidence to suggest that proper nipple piercings can cause any complications with lactation. A letter in JAMA suggests improperly pierced nipples and scarring may result in blocked ducts.
Nipple jewelry may harm an infant during breastfeeding.
However, it is recommended that good care is taken to prevent infection by using a piercing professional and good body piercing aftercare. Frequent re-piercings can also damage the nipple and cause complications. It is also recommended that the piercing be healed before breastfeeding. Most body piercing professionals will refuse to pierce a pregnant woman for this reason and because piercing causes stress on the body that could potentially complicate a pregnancy.
Several complications have been noted involving breastfeeding with a piercing present, so it is recommended to remove nipple jewelry before nursing. Several complications resulting from nursing with nipple jewelry inserted can include poor latch, slurping, gagging, and milk leaking from the baby’s mouth.
It can also be a potential choking hazard for the baby. As the baby sucks, the ends on a barbell (if worn) may come loose and could possibly lodge in the baby’s throat (a captive bead ring, properly inserted, would lessen the risk of anything becoming loose, falling out, and lodging in the throat). The baby’s gums and tongue as well as the soft and hard palate could be injured by the jewelry.
The LLL have a more informative article with some useful links. http://www.llli.org/FAQ/pierced.html including one to this incredible article Nipple Piercing: Is It Compatible with Breastfeeding? by Jahaan Martin
that goes into the history of piercing. http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/LV/LVJunJul99p64.html I didn’t know it was fashionable amongst Victorian Society Women!
And for a more personal view in Issue 4 of New Beginnings 2009 there is an online article called “Is there breastfeeding during or after tattooing and nipple piercing?
The full article can now be read online
What a fantastic name for a breastfeeding support site - www.boobdudes.info has lots of articles and other mum’s breastfeeding experiences. The site is run by a mum of 3 with over 48months (and counting!) of personal breastfeeding experience. She has been providing mother to mother breastfeeding support for over 7 years through Salford support groups, as well as over the phone and on line.
Here are Boobdudes Boobdudes 10 Top Tips for happy toddlers during breastfeeding, the full article and more great stuff is on the website www.boobdudes.info
BE PREPARED. Before you start to feed get everything you think you might need to hand. Keep the door or stair gate closed so no one wonders away out of sight.
HAVE A SNACK READY. You can guarantee that as soon as you start to feed a little person will decide they are thirsty or hungry so grab a drink and snack for them before you start to feed. Grapes or raisins are great because they take time for little fingers to eat. If its near lunchtime try settling them down with their lunch next to you whilst you feed.
STORYTIME. Keep a few favourite books ready to read together at feed time. Toddlers love snuggling in next to mum so its an ideal time to look at a book. Ask them to hold the book or help turn the pages. Or keep a favourite episode of Peppa Pig or or The Night Garden in the DVD player ready to switch on. If they only get to watch it at feed times it becomes a treat.
SPECIAL TOYS. Keep a small basket of different toys or puzzles that you can get out at feed time. You could even let your big one choose a special toy or teddy themselves that they get to play with whilst you are feeding. Little girls love to sit with mum and breastfeed their dolls.
PRAISE AND ATTENTION: When baby is asleep or content to be put down lavish attention on your toddler. If they are getting quality mum time between feeds they may be happier to play independently whilst you are feeding. Praise them for playing nicely whilst you are feeding and talk to them about what they are doing as you feed baby.
A SPECIAL JOB. Making your big girl or boy feel a part of caring for the baby really helps. Involve them in baby’s care by giving them little jobs such as getting a clean nappy from the bag, or choosing baby’s clothes for the day. Praise them for being kind to baby, and tell them how much baby loves to watch them play.
ACCEPT HELP. It’s hard to accept help sometimes, we have this built in guilt mechanism that says if we ask for help we aren’t coping, or we should be able to cope with baby because we’ve done it all before. But looking after 2 little ones is hard work and if you have visitors make the most of them being there. If they ask if you need anything doing don’t hide the mountain of washing up, get them to do it! It will give you more time, and energy, for both your little ones. In the early days when people come to meet the new baby ask them to play with your toddler first. Then they can have a cuddle with baby later on. If they bring presents let your toddler open them and make sure they get a few treats too.
GO OUT. It may sound ridiculous when you’re totally exhausted, and it can be a major operation getting 2 little ones out the door some days, but going out makes a big difference. Go to toddlers, storytime, an any other groups you can find. There are always plenty of mums eager to cuddle baby whilst you play with your toddler, and willing hands to care for them whilst you feed baby. Plus it tires them both out so hopefully they will sleep and let you get some rest later in the day!
TALK. Even very young children can understand a baby’s need for food. Explain to your child simply what baby is doing and why, let them see how the baby feeds. If you breastfeed them tell them about what they did when they were a baby and how you enjoyed feeding them. For slightly older children you can explain how good mummy milk is for babies, that it keeps them healthy and helps them grow.
ENJOY. Time flies so fast so enjoy the special relationship you have with your little ones. Before you know it the sleepless nights will have ended and you’ll be waving your little ones off to school. Having 2 little ones is exhausting and probably the hardest stage but the rewards of a close age gap will be reaped as they learn to play together and become friends. It’s amazing seeing how siblings grow and develop together.
Bosom Buddies meet every Wednesday from 12-1pm at the Kingsbridge Area Children’s Centre, Kingsbridge, Devon.
It’s an informal group for breastfeeding Mum’s to meet up, chat and support each other. The Health Visitor or Nursery Nurse will be there to offer professional advice and older children are welcome too.
More info is available from the Kingsbridge area Health Visitors
So Mum is a new online store offering the best in maternity, breastfeeding and baby products. To celebrate its launch we are offering 20% off absolutely everything at www.somum.co.uk.
Our range of parenting products boasts an impressive collection of breastfeeding covers. We believe passionately that breastfeeding women should enjoy an active social life and that nursing in public needn’t be a challenge, therefore we are also offering free P&P on any item from the breastfeeding covers range. Top brands such as Bubu Breastfeeding Covers and Ponchos to the Breastfeeding Butterfly to the Breastvest, So Mum has breastfeeding covered! Take advantage of these fantastic offers by visiting www.somum.co.uk and adding SOMUM20 in your shopping basket.
A startling new book, Breastfeeding Older Children, reveals a hidden phenomenon: thousands of children in the developed world, including the UK, are being breastfed for five, six, seven and eight years and, in some cases, longer.
This has significance for us all.
Are these children coerced, or are they in the driving seat? Are they damaged, or does long-term breastfeeding support the development of psychological wellbeing, as well as physical health, in both childhood and in subsequent adulthood?
Ann Sinnott, who breastfed her own child until the age of six and a half, draws on child development theory, neuroscience research and statements from hundreds of parents, to explore the reality of this taboo practice. She reveals a lack of evidence behind negative beliefs, exposes myths and prejudices and challenges the attitudes of psychologists and medical health professionals.
Breastfeeding Older Children looks at the impact of sustained breastfeeding on the couple relationship and reveals both discord and harmony.
Breastfeeding Older Children investigates the involvement of breasts in sex, with intriguing results. Is the male ‘phwaor!’ response to the sight of large breasts not a matter of surging testosterone and expression of male virility but rather a manifestation of a deprivation of breastfeeding in early life?
Breastfeeding Older Children probes the breast v bottle issue, and looks at lines of contention around long-term breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Older Children argues that sustained breastfeeding is a woman’s right and a feminist issue, and ventures into prehistory to prove the point.
Breastfeeding Older Children presents essential facts about the realities of artificial feeding and the, rarely publicized, risks of infant formula.
Thought-provokingly controversial, Breastfeeding Older Children will surprise, shock, gladden and infuriate!
‘An exciting, highly original and carefully researched study of prolonged breastfeeding, discussed in an international context’.
Sheila Kitzinger, author of numerous books and renowned expert on birth and breastfeeding
the book will be published on 1 Jan 2010 and can be purchased from NBN International Ltd www.nbninternational.com click on ‘Ordering’, click on ‘Book Search’ and enter title.
A pre-publication offer of £16.50 (instead of £17.95) with free UK postage, will apply to all orders received before 1 Jan 2010, enter promotional code BOC09 on relevant page.
UK orders received by 10 Nov 2009 will be despatched in time for Christmas delivery – sorry that can’t also apply to the rest of the world.
Worried about exposing your postnatal tummy while breastfeeding?
breastvest has got you covered.
breastvest is a revolutionary item of breastfeeding underwear which gives you more confidence when feeding your baby.
Invented, tested and approved by breastfeeding mums, breastvest sits underneath your nursing bra and means no more expensive breastfeeding tops or stretched necklines… and most importantly, no worries about exposing your postnatal tummy while feeding. breastvest has got you covered.
breast really is even better with breastvest.
If you are in the UK, please check out the latest news about our baby formula marketing regulations. Baby Milk Action has launched a quick campaign to protect breastfeeding and babies fed on formula and we need you help! http://www.babymilkaction.org/CEM/cemoct09.html
A government commissioned report on the effectiveness of the law has just been published as a draft. It is a whitewash. The Independent Review Panel did not examine how advertising and other promotion of formula undermines breastfeeding and misleads parents who use formula. Instead it only considered whether follow-on formula is being fed to babies under 6 months instead of infant formula by mistake.
On this basis it concludes there is basically no problem with the current law which allows companies to target mothers with promotional materials and inaccurate information, to offer gifts, advertise, make point-of-sale promotion, give inducements to health workers etc. etc. The law should be protecting breastfeeding and protecting babies fed on formula. It is failing in this, as the evidence clearly shows – if the Panel would just consider it.
This is contained in monitoring reports prepared by Baby Milk Action and in other submissions, including from the Trading Standards, which has the task of enforcing the law.
See: http://www.babymilkaction.org/CEM/cemoct09.html You can send a message to the Minister for Public Health asking the government to send the report back to include these issues, or to otherwise reject it as a waste of public money.
This was originally a facebook group but was deleted due to ‘offensive content’. Bloody facebook!
There are 94 signatures so far, we can do much better than that, please please sign, can you imagine the impact a breastfeeding mum would have on a mainstream prime time TV show, it would really help to normalise what is normal and promote breastfeeding.
We are proud of the way the BBC has taken a stand to reflect our society in all its diversity in the past . We feel this is the right time for the BBC to show a large portion of our society that has been ignored for pretty much the entire history of broadcasting.
Women have fed their babies the normal way for ever , yet the british culture has sadly portrayed bottle feeding in every single section of the media and entertainment for so very long that bottle is now veiwed as the norm . It is not. It is in fact recognised as the forth best method of feeding an infant.
We would request that you consider making Heather a breastfeeder ,we dont ask any story changes at all , you dont even need to show her feeding , in fact we would prefer no dramatic storylines as that isn’t how breastfeeding happens, its just a natural choice .
You could have Heather say ” I’m going to lie down and feed the baby “, just show that she isn’t spending hours at the sink washing and making bottles, let her be able to leave the flat in a minutes notice as all she has to do is grab a spare nappy go – in short Please BBC – Make Heather Trott a proud breastfeeding woman
Thank you for your consideration.
To celebrate the birth of daughter Mylie, My Funny Bunny are hosting a gigantic give away!!!
They are collaborating with many other companies & crafters to bring you the biggest give away ever!!! So if you want to enter, keep checking their blog for updates!
The full article with working links can be found here:
Help! I don’t want to breastfeed.
Written by Bettina Forbes, CLC
Brought to you by Best for Babes®
© 2008 by Best for Babes®, All Rights Reserved.
Well, neither did I–you can read my story below. Best for Babes understands how you feel, and we are not going to tell you what to do, or judge you on your decision. How you feed your baby is your choice and we support you to do what works for you. Our goal is simply to provide you with the most accurate and inspiring information so that you can make your decision and feel good about it.
And, we recognize what a difficult decision this can be! Women who don’t want to breastfeed are being put under more pressure with little help or understanding for how they may feel, or what obstacles they may face. We are here to help you. It is no fun being on the fence.
Believe me, I know, because I was a mom who was on that fence! That’s why I’m urging you not to wait until after the baby’s birth–like I did–to make your decision. Do your research now. The fact is, that while breastfeeding comes easily for some moms, for most moms, the hardest time to learn about breastfeeding for the first time, is after the baby is born, when new mothers are exhausted, vulnerable and at the mercy of myths and misinformation. Believe it or not, hospitals, nurses, doctors, families, and friends, while well-meaning and competent, may not be educated on the latest about breastfeeding and frequently have their own barriers to work through (see AAP, Policy statement on Human Milk). Add to that any personal unresolved issues you may have and now you have put yourself at an even greater disadvantage if you do decide to give it a whirl. Breastfeeding is just one of those important life events where you will do better if you are prepared and can hit the ground running. You wouldn’t show up to run a marathon without a strong resolve, some coaching and proper shoes, right? So, the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to explore the feeding issue – both your feelings and the facts about it–now, before the baby is born.
To help you make your decision, I’ve put some suggestions below–these are merely suggestions, the ones that I wish someone had mentioned to me before my first baby was born. I hope that they are helpful, and that you will take what you like from them and leave the rest. In any case, I wish you only the best on this amazing journey into motherhood.
If you don’t want to breastfeed:
Find someone you trust to talk to. Choose someone you respect, admire and trust who will listen to you compassionately and help you sort out your feelings without judging you. I was too afraid to admit that I didn’t want to breastfeed to anyone, and kept my feelings bottled-up, which only made things worse. Whether you choose a friend, relative, or professional, the person(s) you talk to should not push their agenda on you. A good sounding board should neither hit you over the head overbearingly with the benefits of breastfeeding nor should they easily let you off the hook from trying breastfeeding at all. He/She should help you understand yourself, what is factoring into your decision and most importantly, should be positive and encouraging! Becoming a parent is a transformation on many levels, and as you explore your feelings, you will grow and mature and be more ready to take on that transformation.
Get to the bottom of what’s bugging you. There are a million reasons why women choose not to breastfeed, and we’ve heard them all. All of them are valid, because any feelings a woman has about breastfeeding are real and important! Unless you get to the bottom of what’s stopping you from embracing breastfeeding, you won’t have the chance to separate fact from fiction. For example, some women fear they won’t be able to make enough milk, perhaps because their mothers didn’t nurse or had difficulties–but we now know that more than 95% of women are physically capable of breastfeeding. Like a lot of women, I was afraid of what breastfeeding would do to my ta-tas, not realizing that pregnancy itself, not nursing, is the culprit. [Rinker, Brian: “Breastfeeding Does Not Create Sagging Breasts; Study Throws Out Old Wives' Tale, Amer. Society of Plastic Surgeons] Others are anxious about nursing in public, or disapproval from in-laws or friends. Some are plain squeamish. Some women have suffered sexual abuse —if this is the case for you, as it is the case for possibly 25% of women, we urge you to get help from a qualified professional, such as Penny Simkin (listen to this Motherwear podcast with her, it’s amazing) and join a support group. You may find and meet other mothers who have been able to work through this difficult barrier and have gone on to nurse successfully or have pumped—for some, it has even become an empowering, positive and healing experience. In any case, you will know you are not alone). Still others fear that their medications won’t allow them to breastfeed. Unless you are in touch with what’s bothering you, you’ll never find out if there is a way to deal with it—plus, once you get it out in the open, you might find out it loses it’s power over you. Regardless of what you decide, chances are you will have a lot more peace and serenity, and be better equipped to handle questions or even nosybodies.
Weigh the risks. While there has been lots said about the benefits of breastfeeding, research has shown that knowing the benefits alone is not impactful enough, just as knowing the benefits of eating broccoli hasn’t kept us away from fast-food joints. What everyone needs to know is that there are very real risks associated with feeding artificial baby milk (ABM)–commonly known as infant formula.
How much does breastfeeding reduce the risk of disease?
(excerpted from http://www.breastfeeding.blog.motherwear.com/2007/04/how_much_does_b.html)
“A new meta-analysis (study of studies) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services helps answer that question. (This study looked over 9,000 studies on breastfeeding from developed countries, weeded out the ones with poor methodology, and came up with an overall percentage for each one. This is harder than it sounds because “breastfeeding” is defined differently in each study. Nevertheless, here is what they found.)”
Not breastfeeding increases your babies‘ risk of these diseases:
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): 36% greater risk
Type 1 Diabetes: 19-27%
Type 2 Diabetes: 39%
Leukemia (acute lymphocytic) : 19%
Leukemia (acute myelogenous): 15%
Gastrointestinal infections: 64%
Lower respiratory tract diseases: 72%
Atopic dermatitis: 42%
Acute otitis media: 50%
Not breastfeeding increases mothers‘ risk of these diseases by:
Type 2 Diabetes: 4-12% greater risk
Ovarian cancer: 21%
Breast cancer: 28%
This study looked at the relationship between breastfeeding and only some of the diseases that breastfeeding provides some measure of protection against. More research is needed, but the evidence is growing all the time.
Bottom line is, only you and your doctor can weigh any risks from current medications you are taking vs. the risks of feeding your baby formula, and you owe it to yourself to be educated. You should also be aware that the World Health Organization says that screened, donated, pasteurized milk is a more suitable alternative than artificial milk (formula). They state that formula should only be used as a last resort–a message that certainly hasn’t made it into the mainstream! Hopefully, one day human milk banks will be as ubiquitous as blood banks, and all mothers who can’t breastfeed will have better choices.
4. Make your decision.
If You are Leaning Away from Breastfeeding:
You’ve done exhaustive research and have confidence that you have made the best decision for you and your family. Some things you may want to consider:
You can always stop breastfeeding if it is not right for you. If you don’t try, it is a lot harder to start (but not impossible) if you change your mind! Consider that lots of women regret not breastfeeding, but we know of no one who regrets having breastfed.
Pumping. Many women who are uncomfortable with nursing directly for whatever reason have pumped successfully, often for a full year. Kudos to them.
Donated, Screened, Pasteurized Breastmilk. See http://www.hmbana.org. to see if this is a feasible choice for you, if not, become an advocate so that some day more moms have this much better feeding option.
A friend or relative nursing your baby. This is very controversial due to the risk of any communicable diseases, however we hope that someday through a thorough screening process women who can not breastfeed can be matched with a volunteer who can nurse their baby. Once again, only you can weigh the risks and make the best choice for you and your family.
Organic Infant Formula. If pumping, donated breastmilk or a surrogate breastfeeder are simply not options, then we encourage you to use Organic artificial baby milk (generic is fine) as it will not contain pesticides or milk products from cows treated with antibiotics or growth hormones. Choose one that does not include artificial DHA & ARA as these chemicals are not organic, their efficacy in formula has not been proven and there is more research needed on potential side-effects such as gastric upset in infants.
Have a good answer. Finally, if you choose not to breastfeed, we urge you to have a plan of how to handle well-meaning but overzealous do-gooders. Actress Jennifer Lopez was crucified in the blogosphere for saying that she chose not to breastfeed because her mother didn’t either. Perhaps if she had worked through her feelings she would have either overcome any resistance to breastfeeding, or had a much better explanation regarding her choice, even if simply to say “mind your own business”! Undoubtedly, the press and the public would have been more accepting and respectful of her decision not to breastfeed. So we recommend that you have a “stop them in their tracks” response at the ready. Unfortunately, we have heard a few horror stories of women who have been hassled for giving a bottle, and we are on your side, babe, no one has the right to intrude upon you! Women who judge other women for not breastfeeding make the problem worse.
If you are leaning towards breastfeeding:
Take baby steps. If you are one of those people (like me) for whom adopting healthy lifestyle choices is challenging, treat it like deciding to work out: set small, achievable goals, and give yourself lots of praise and rewards. I am not one of those people who could commit to training for the marathon, but I was able to get myself (kicking and screaming) to sign up for a 5 mile race. Similarly, when I was nursing my son, I kept saying, “okay, I’m going to do this just until Sunday, and then I am going to quit,” and then by the time Monday came around, I postponed weaning for another 7 days. Try committing to the first 6 days, then commit to another week, and so on, and you might find that the first month has gone by before you know it! Add another week at a time, and soon the first 4-6 weeks of the Learning Curve (link to (http://www.bestforbabes.com/prepare-the-learning-curve-of-breastfeeding/) will be over and you will have gotten the hang of it. In fact, just like those of us who hated going to the gym at first but came to enjoy the incredible feeling they have after an intense workout, your feelings about nursing may change as time goes on. You may even succumb to its ambrosia-like effects and fall in love with it!
Surround yourself with a cheering squad. It’s really, really important (did we say VERY!) to find people who believe in you, will cheer you on and remind you that you can do it! To lean on the sports analogy again: my husband bought me a membership to the gym and for four years I used it maybe 10 times. He liked to tease me that every time I went it cost him $500. Now I go to the gym at least twice a week. What changed? Two girlfriends roped me into going to an exercise class (the same ones that proceeded to sign me up for that 5 mile race), and what I would have hated doing alone, was actually fun to do with some friends. When my son was born, I thought I would never make it past a week of breastfeeding, let alone six months, and with the encouragement of others, I ended up nursing my son until he was almost a year and a half! If you don’t already have these women in your life, then go find them. You will find a ready-made cheering squad at a great breastfeeding support group. You’ll meet some great moms, learn lots of tips it would take you hours of internet surfing to find, and you’ll probably enjoy the whole transition to motherhood and nursing even more. You may even end up surpassing your expectations!
Here are some tips to find other nursing moms:
“Store front” birth and breastfeeding education centers: These are springing up all over the country, particularly in and around urban centers, and are a fabulous resource for prenatal classes, support groups, doulas (labor coaches and postpartum assistants), and postnatal help from LCs.
Many lactation consultants (LCs) run their own groups or can steer you in the right direction. You can find the LCs in your area at http://www.ilca.org.
La Leche League (www.llli.org). This is the largest and oldest resource for free mother-to-mother breastfeeding support groups and help.
Some hospitals offer breastfeeding classes and support groups, but do your homework first: Don’t go to a class at a hospital that has a low breastfeeding success rate! We’ve attended some classes that were dull and a turn-off, and worse, presented incorrect information.
Yoga Studios and Gyms: Many offer prenatal exercise classes — a great place to connect with other moms who are planning on nursing. Some great yoga studios offer post-natal classes that include baby and nursing time!
”Natural” or eco-friendly baby stores and health food stores. Healthy and green living is hip and there are lots of cute and stylish baby stores selling slings, organic baby clothes and bedding and the like, some of them are running support groups during off-hours or can point you to other resources. Many health food stores have seminars for moms, plus they often have seating/eating areas where you can have lunch and nurse on a future shopping trip. Important: if the first group you go to turns you off, keep trying different groups until you find one where you connect. If you don’t want to commit to breastfeeding, try committing to going to a breastfeeding support group at least 4 times during the last two months of your pregnancy. Even if you just listen, you’ll learn a lot, and you’ll feel a lot better about your decision.
Find women you trust, and then take what you like and leave the rest. Just like an athlete would never hire–and would actually fire–a coach who said “give it a try,” didn’t have faith in you, or couldn’t bring out your best and help you succeed, you should take no less from the women (and the professionals) in your life. If you don’t like a particular breastfeeding group, keeping trying different ones until you find one that you do! All too many women get turned off by one person and then throw in the towel. Just remember, one overbearing militant breastfeeder does not speak for the rest of us–there are lots of great groups out there. Even if you only find one other nursing mother you like, at least you won’t be doing it alone! Beware of friends who have unresolved feelings themselves. You want to stick with the winners–women who have succeeded at breastfeeding and women who are self-aware enough not to rationalize. Basically, you want to find women who can cheer you on and bring out your best.
Find out what motivates you and make a list. If you breastfeed, know that you will have days when you feel like super-nursing mom, and days when you’re tired, cranky, rushing around, and not in the mood. For those days, having a handy list that reminds you in your own words why you are doing this will help you get over the hump. When I felt like throwing in the towel, I thought about how my older sister would probably never let me live it down that she had breastfed for a year (granted, she lives in Europe, where it is much easier to breastfeed). I thought about the unpleasant smell of formula and how my initial reaction the first time I smelled it was that I wasn’t sure I wanted to give something artificial to my perfect, new, and clean baby (plus when I supplemented it made him painfully constipated). I thought about how the hormonal surge during let-down helped my post-partum depression, and that bonding with my baby during nursing made me feel good about myself as a mother. I reminded myself that I did not want to deal with washing and sterilizing bottles (I’m very forgetful and dreaded screwing up the mixing or leaving something behind). I think I turned the corner for good the day my mom pointed out how adorably my son quivered with joy every time I unbuttoned my blouse. In short, you may be motivated by breastfeeding’s incredible health benefits or you may not, but the key is to use whatever works for you. Also, try using imagery (See Learning Curve: See Yourself Successful) to help you achieve your goals. Imagery–positive mental imaging of your success–is a terrific tool and is what great athletes, entrepreneurs and leaders do and it works. In the early days and weeks, you may have to take it one feeding at a time, but you can do it!
Know what is truly second best. We understand that for many women, the hurdles to breastfeeding are truly too great. For example, although most medications are perfectly safe to take while breastfeeding, there are a few that are not. There are also some women who have been sexually abused and are too scarred from their experience to breastfeed. Still others face intense family and peer disapproval (another good reason to attend a support group–you’ll get lots of great strategies for dealing with disapproval). But here is the deal: as per the World Health Organization the second best thing to your breastmilk is not formula – it’s donated, pasteurized and screened human milk! So, even if you cannot — or choose not — to breastfeed, consider the second best and safest alternative for your babe. Let’s make donor milk as widely available as donated blood–your baby, and all babies, deserves the best! For more info, contact The Human Milk Bank Association, http://www.hmba.org.