They don’t have enough support.
This year’s focus for National Breastfeeding Month is “Support Changes Everything”—a theme that resonates with us here at Choices Pregnancy Center. We’re all about providing parents (and parents-to-be) with support.
Let’s put ourselves in a nursing mother’s position. Here’s what we might hear a nursing mother say:
- She would really like to hear her family and/or partner say, “Keep it up. What you’re doing is really important. How can I make it easier for you?”
- She would really like to be able to feed her baby when away from home, but few places provide comfortable spaces for that.
- She would really like to know that people won’t send rude remarks or scornful glances her way.
- She would really like for her other children to have something to do while she feeds the baby.
- She would really like it if her workplace had a clean and private place where she could pump and store her breast milk while she’s on a break.
How many of those things she would like are actually happening for her?
Now, we need to ask ourselves: How many of those things could we bring about for nursing mothers in our community? Or even just for our own friends?
(Scroll down for an infographic with inspiring suggestions.)
But next, here are some things most of us could do to make life easier for breastfeeding moms we know and love.
Bone Up on Breastfeeding
Most of us will support someone’s choices when we believe that what they are doing is valuable. So learn about the remarkable value of breastfeeding.
Here’s a quick run-down:
- Breast milk is the best possible nutrition for a baby.
- Breastfeeding nurtures the bond between mother and child.
- Breastfeeding helps defend Baby against a long list of diseases.
- Breastfeeding helps Mom recover from pregnancy faster.
- Breastfeeding helps Mom fight of things like diabetes and certain kinds of cancer.
- Breastfeeding doesn’t require fancy formula or other purchased foods. Any mom with any income can breastfeed her baby.
Learn more details about these benefits here and in this free guidebook from the Office of Women’s Health. When we all recognize that women’s bodies are naturally designed to feed their babies the best nutrition available, we’ll be more likely to support mothers in their desire to breastfeed.
Further, by learning about breastfeeding, we can understand better what life for nursing mothers is like. And understanding can help us offer meaningful support.
Advocate for Breastfeeding Access
Where have you noticed nursing mothers being uncomfortable breastfeeding? Can you suggest solutions?
- Does your favorite mall, church, or community center know how to welcome breastfeeding mothers? Suggest those in charge read this article for ideas. And give them some of your own.
- Does your workplace provide appropriately for breastfeeding mothers to either feed their babies or pump breast milk and save it safely? If not, refer them here and encourage them to do their best for the families of their community.
- With whom could you share information to help them become kinder and more welcoming toward breastfeeding mothers? (Share this blog post to get them started.)
Offer to Help Her at Home
Find out how your favorite breastfeeding mom could use some practical support. Here are a few ideas:
- Do some housework for her.
- Take her older children for an outing or simply keep them entertained for a while so she can focus on her baby.
- Make sure Mom is eating and drinking enough. Bring her water while she’s feeding Baby, or bring some healthy snacks she can grab when she’s too tired to do more.
- Watch the baby for her so she can go take relaxing shower, paint her nails, or go listen to her favorite music–alone.
- Chat with her if she’s lonely. Sometimes breastfeeding can feel isolating.
Cheer on Those Breastfeeding Moms
Breastfeeding doesn’t always go smoothly. Mothers sometimes just want to quit, even though they know breastfeeding is best for their babies. When a mom you know is discouraged, be there to encourage and cheer her on. Remind her that it will be worth it in the long run. Let her know you care and you believe in her.
Maybe she could use some free tips on breastfeeding to help her get over obstacles. This site provides short videos on a variety of breastfeeding topics that may be helpful. These short articles and videos are useful as well.
And one day, when she does decide it’s time to stop, be there to support her still. That call is hers to make. Assure her that all the breastfeeding she has done has already served her baby well.
Praise her for her efforts to be the best mom she can be.
Know a breastfeeding mom looking for help?
Does she want to talk with caring mentors about her breastfeeding experience?
Get some practical pointers?
Make some helpful connections within our community?
Have her call or text Choices Pregnancy Center.
We’re happy to help parents at any point in their journey
through pregnancy and the early parenting years.