Breastfeeding is For Everyone — How YOU can be successful too

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I am a mother of three children under three have been trained and previously worked as a Lactation Counselor both privately and in a hospital setting. Perhaps this is your first child or you’ve had children in the past and were unsuccessful with breastfeeding. Here are some tips that I have learned over the past few years in my work and personal experience.

Make a Decision to Breastfeed & Make It your Only Option

This is an important step in achieving any goal. However, this is even more important when deciding to BF because society is not always supportive and formula companies are hell bent on getting you to stop so that they can make money when you give up.

Before you give birth declare your decision to yourself and to the people closest to you. If formula is sent to you in the mail– trash it. This way you eliminate the back up plan.

Feed on Demand

In the past some health care providers have asked mothers to time feedings or the time in between. By saying for instance — “feed the baby every 2 hours 15 minutes on each breast. This advice is outdated and will lead to a miserable baby.

The best time to feed a baby is when they are hungry. Feeding what seems like four times in a row is perfectly normal for newborns. Sleeping for four to five hours is also normal.

Each baby is different and weight gain is the best way to know if they are “getting enough.”

Be Confident

YOUR BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH! YOUR BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH! YOUR BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH!YOUR BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH!YOUR BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH!YOUR BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH!YOUR BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH!YOUR BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH!YOUR BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH!YOUR BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH!YOUR BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH!YOUR BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH!

It is very rare that a mother feeding on demand will have a milk supply that is too low. These cases often have to do with the baby not latching onto the breast correctly. A lactation consultant should be able to assist.

Seek Support

Your significant other, if present, family if near and a professional lactation expert (often available in the hospital) can all be sources of support. It is important that  you are open and honest with these people and others around  you to know that they are your sources of support.

Have a conversation with those closest to you about why you are choosing to breastfeed, how it benefits YOU and the baby and specific ways they can help (one way is to refrain from saying anything negative).

Support for new mothers is something that often goes overlooked. When people call or stop by, they often ask about the baby first if they even ask about you at all. When it comes to breastfeeding — I believe support is a great help.

Birth is a HUGE transition for mom and for the entire family. Having honest conversations about how you’re feeling and where you need help is crucial to your continued BF’ing

Spend the First 4 to 6 Weeks Pacifier and Bottle Free

Some babies become confused when switching from a plastic to human nipples. Remember that babies learn from instinct as their sight and other senses are still being developed. Food is a basic and urgent need and they develop a strong liking for which ever feeling is associated with food.

After spending many months in your uterus, babies are very familiar with you, your smell, voice, heartbeat etc. Most babies are able to latch (attach to your breast) right away. When you introduce the plastic nipple they may sometimes begin to prefer it.

Many hospitals offer pacifier and bottles within the first few hours of life– sometimes without asking. Make it clear to them that you intend to breastfeed and would like your baby to be pacifier free. Standing up for the needs of your child will be a muscle you will have to work out very often– this is a great place to start.

Why I Choose Not to Cover

For Baby’s Comfort

The fact of the matter is, not many people enjoy eating in the dark or with a piece of cloth over half their body.  I would not subject my infant to eating a way that is not normal for older children or adults.

& Let’s face it, anyone who has breastfed for longer than four or five months knows that once a baby has the physical ability to do so (usually around six months) they will throw the cover right off!

I also strongly believe that my baby’s comfort trumps any one else’s  discomfort or judgements about seeing my breasts preform the function they were biologically made to do.

For MY comfort

I have been subjected to stares and even to people approaching me about breast feeding without covering in the past. Despite that, I prefer the nursing process to be as easy and as seamless as possible.

Taking out and arranging a blanket or nursing cover adds another step to the nursing process. In my opinion, it does the opposite of conceal the nursing session and rather it calls attention to the baby’s feeding time. Who wants to spend time looking for a cover?

I imagine if you usually use one and have this time forgotten it, you might feel completely uncomfortable having to feed your child. I have always felt peace in knowing that I am the only thing my baby needs for the first year of life. If I leave the house with nothing but myself and a diaper, my baby will be fed and happy

For Black Women

In almost every area of health, Black & African American persons are doing the worst of all other ethnicities. When it comes to infant mortality, according to the CDC (Center For Disease Control), Black Women have roughly double the incidence.

Exclusive breastfeeding reduces infant mortality due to common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea or pneumonia, and helps for a quicker recovery during illness.  In other words, one of the easiest ways to reduce the number of our babies dying, is to breast feed.

You might ask what does this have to do with me covering. Well, a major reason women often don’t even consider breastfeeding as an option is because they don’t see other women doing it! My choice to breastfeed unabashedly gives other women the opportunity to see that YES Black women do make this choice for their children and YES it is NORMAL.

For Women Everywhere

Although the first formula was created during the mid 1800s , after World War II, there was an increase in formula use as television became more common place and began to influence public opinion. During the seventies as more women entered the work force, there was an even greater increase in formula use as it becomes more difficult to breastfeed their infants.

Breastfeeding began to be associated with poverty. Women developed shame about choosing this feeding method. All the while formula companies (as they continue to do today) began to convince women that their formula was equivalent to if not superior to their milk.

I believe it’s time to take back our bodies and the power that comes along with it. YOUR milk is the best formula for YOUR baby. I refer to it as formula here because what our bodies do is create a milk that is specific to our babies and their needs. No two women’s breast milk is the same. As our babies grow the milk we make changes to suit the needs of baby. In times of sickness our milk also changes to create antibodies that most times prevent baby from developing the sickness. This is MIRACLE BIOLOGY and ALL women have this gift. It’s time we recognize it!