When it comes to breastfeeding, everyone is an expert, yet no one knows how to make it work. Ironically, most governments support six months of exclusive breastfeeding, but suddenly we only have 45 days of maternity leave after birth (and some moms have none). The “baby-moon” is too short! It’s like dating: for loving and getting involved with someone, it requires time. The same thing happens with motherhood. We need time to adapt to the new feelings, to the new schedule (some of us never do), to the new life we have in our arms. In 45 days, we are just starting to understand our baby’s cues!
And breastfeeding crisis begins…
Above all, we have our pediatrician, depending on how “supportive” he or she is with breastfeeding, some have never breastfed or are not parents, so talking about parenting choices with them, they’ll probably give opinions based on their own experience, yet not all experiences apply to our lives.
Oh! And how about our family and friends? It all comes down to one thing: Have you seen them breastfeed, or at least the male family members have seen women in your family breastfeed? If the answer is no, they’ll probably won’t be the ones you’ll count on when having a “midnight crisis”(a.k.a. colic). They’ll probably be the first to suggest a pacifier or a bottle of formula, and again, breastfeeding crises. So, what can you as women and mother do to prevent sabotaging your breastfeeding experience?
According to the “Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” and my experience, it is quite as simple as:
- Building a support network: Women and families that breastfeed or that have breastfed. Where to find them? At a La Leche League support group, or hang out with those “exhibitionist” women at a park feeding their babies. There are many play-date groups you may join too.
- “No, thank you”: “A little bit of formula won’t do harm. You need time for yourself.” Answer: “No, thank you”. “She is crying so much! Your milk seems not to satisfy her hunger.
- “I can buy milk if you want”… your answer: “No, thank you”. “Try this new pacifier! It wont harm her suction”. Answer: “No, thank you”.
- No pacifiers or bottles: When pregnant, one of people’s favorite thing to give you, since it’s quite “normal” these days, are breast substitute products. Don’t have them near you. Use them after the second month of your child, or as simple as not using them, ever! These are the REAL enemies of breastfeeding! Nipples hurting, mastitis, and almost all breastfeeding problems come to these products. Avoid them if you want a successful breastfeeding experience. If you really need to go somewhere without your child, there are many options like having the baby drink from a tiny cup (like shots), having the baby “sit” in a 45° angle (if baby is younger than 6 months). Some moms give their breast-milk through a syringe.
- For working moms: Start on your breast milk bank A.S.A.P.! Use the prolactin peak (hormone involved in milk production), from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. to get a nice pump, so you can store it when needed. Use your baby’s sounds, pictures or while breastfeeding to get more milk out per pump, since the oxytocin, the hormone of love and milk release, boots out when the brain registers baby is near. Remember that breast-milk can stay: 7 days in a refrigerator, 1-3 months in a freezer shared with a refrigerator, and 3-6 months in an only freezer.
- Last but not least: Common sense and instincts are the ones to trust! In other words, TRUST YOURSELF! Trust your body, trust your milk and your breasts, as your heart which pumps blood, because that same blood is the milk that you give your child. Enjoy every second of life you’re giving to your baby…
Are you sabotaging your breastfeeding experience? What do you think? Share your experience with us by commenting below and inviting your breastfeeding friends to do so as well!
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