Best for Babes – Beating the Booby Traps!
How does Best for Babes support breastfeeding moms?
Best for Babes is about raising awareness of the barriers moms face when breastfeeding. We want to put pressure on institutions that create those barriers so that they crumple and no longer prevent moms being able to achieve their personal breastfeeding goals.
It’s a misconception that it’s easy for anyone to breastfeed. Yes, it is instinctive but many moms haven’t been exposed to breastfeeding while growing up so they don’t have the accumulated knowledge gathered from years of being exposed to other women breastfeeding their babies. If women don’t know about the often subtle barriers to breastfeeding, they can fall into “booby traps” and will feel guilty, blame themselves, and live with heartbreak when they aren’t given the support they need.
One specific example of how Best for Babes is creating institutional pressure is to raise awareness (through columns, newsletters, lobbying, and other outlets) about the lack of training about breastfeeding that physicians receive. Most obstetricians and pediatricians really do want to support breastfeeding, but are not taught how. They receive, at most, an hour or two of instruction about breastfeeding during medical school and anything else they learn is dependent on their own time and desires. Yet moms rely heavily on these physicians for practical advice to get them through any difficulties. We want to create pressure not only on the medical training establishment to give physicians more clinical training, but also on individual doctors to take responsibility to do more and learn more about supporting their breastfeeding patients.
How did Best for Babes start?
Best for Babes was conceived in 2004 (launched in 2007) by friends Danielle Rigg and Bettina Lauf Forbes. Danielle and Bettina had their first babies around the same time, several years earlier, and both found themselves up against unexpected barriers. Danielle desperately wanted to breastfeed, but faced a difficult journey. Bettina secretly resented the assumption that she would breastfeed, but eventually discovered she loved it after many complications getting started.
After their problematic journeys, Danielle and Bettina became Certified Lactation Counselors because they didn’t want to see other moms with the best of intentions be inadvertently set up to fail. After working with moms one-on-one, they saw a need for an organization that would work to transform our entire culture around breastfeeding and would use the media, celebrities, advertising, and lobbying to affect change at a systemic level. Best for Babes is meant to complement other organizations, such as La Leche League and peer counseling groups, which support individual moms and babies.
What are some tips for pregnant women?
- Take an excellent breastfeeding class. Don’t just rely on the classes offered by the hospital. Talk to other moms, doulas, and private lactation consultants to find the best classes around.
- Read a book. There are many well-written, easy-to-read books about breastfeeding that are positive and engaging. You probably won’t remember everything in the moment, but it’s great to have the foundation and understanding of what’s going on.
- Watch another mom nurse. One of the reasons breastfeeding can end up being so darn tricky is that so few of us grew up in a culture where breastfeeding is viewed as normal and is visible in every day life. Ask to hang out with a friend who is successfully nursing, go to a La Leche League meeting, or if all else fails, watch some videos.