5 Areas New Moms Need Breastfeeding Support
The numbers are in, and there’s good news. Breastfeeding is on the rise in the United States and Canada! We couldn’t be more thrilled, because breast is what’s best for mom and baby. But the World Health Organization recommends that babies be breastfed for 2 years plus, citing benefits beyond the initial months of breastfeeding. And, though breastfeeding moms who persisted to a year went up from 16% to over 27%, there are far more moms who give up on breastfeeding simply because they could have used more support.
Here are 5 areas a new mom needs support, in order to have the best chances of reaching her breastfeeding goals.
It’s no secret that partner support is a huge factor to breastfeeding success. But, did you know that breastfeeding moms who’s partners attend a breastfeeding support course had higher success rates in reaching their longterm breastfeeding goals at one year? Partners can help a new mom breastfeed in a variety of ways: helping to care for older kids, doing housework, encouraging her when things get tough, and defending her against any resistance from family or friends.
Health Care Support
Hospitals and Birth Centers with breastfeeding friendly staff help normalize breastfeeding and can help moms who are struggling with any issues to feel more confident and get the hang of things. Some hospitals are even moving toward banning formula samples marketed at new moms. Other hospitals are going so far as to lock up formula so that it can only be used when there are reasons a mother absolutely cannot breastfeed. Having a health care provider who promotes breastfeeding in what they say and what they do to provide you with the best health care is key!
Family and Friends
If family and friends have breastfed; if a new mom’s mother in law or mother breastfed SHE has a wealth of information about how to handle latch issues, infections, or other challenges of breastfeeding. The support of family and friends when a mother breastfeeds can be the difference between feeling positive and confident about her decision or discouraged, isolated, and afraid.
Employers can have a tremendous effect on a mom’s ability to reach her breastfeeding goals. Though legally, employers must provide reasonable breaks for pumping/breastfeeding moms, day to day in a high paced work environment, a new mom may feel pressure to catch up on work tasks and forgo the pump. Also, some new moms struggle more with supply issues when they pump vs. when they breastfeed their baby directly. When an employer is rigid about how and when a breastfeeding mom expresses her milk, it can be a huge factor in a mom’s ability to provide for her baby nutritionally AND financially. No mom should have to choose!
Society at Large
Mainstream culture is changing. Many celebrities have come out as breastfeeding advocates. Public discourse is becoming more positive. But, many women still do experience very real discrimination for breastfeeding in public. Recently, a mom was asked to cover up at a Rec Center in Texas and even after public outrage over the decision, the Parks & Rec department refuses to apologize and maintains their position. A new mom breastfeeding on a recent American Airlines flight was harassed by the flight attendant, who felt totally justified in voicing her disapproval.
We here at milkmakers support breastfeeding moms anytime and anywhere! Let us know in what areas you need the most support in the comments below or on our Facebook page.