Whether you are a fourth-time breastfeeding pro, or you are a first time breastfeeder in your non-breastfeeding family, it is especially important to surround yourself with people who believe in you breastfeeding your baby. Encouragement and support are vital in the early months, when you are learning, and you doubt everything! You need people who can remind you to keep going, and see the bigger picture, when it seems easier to quit.
1. Make a list of your friends and family who breastfed.
While you are pregnant, ask them what their early weeks were like, and what was helpful, and what was not. You will get a better sense of who you feel comfortable talking to, when it’s your turn to breastfeed.
2. Look up support groups in your area.
Visit a local breastfeeding support group, or a ‘mommy and me’ support group. They come in all flavors. You don’t have to have a baby to attend--just come as you are--pregnant. Most moms will tell you they wish they had taken the time to actually meet real live moms and babies before they gave birth. Support groups are a good way to meet other moms, and make new friends with babies the same age as yours.
La Leche League, Breastfeeding USA, Baby Café and WIC all have active support groups all over the USA. Most hospitals and baby stores have groups, and you will find others on Meetup.
Online groups can be a lifesaver, especially if you are housebound with weather, a premature baby, or illness. An advantage of online groups is specialization. No matter what challenge you find yourself facing, there is a group focusing on supporting people with that challenge. Search on Instagram and Facebook, or Google specific words of what you want.
3. Find an IBCLC who will come to your house.
Make a list of lactation specialists who help moms in your area. International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) have the most expertise, training and experience. Schedule a 10 or 15 minute prenatal conversation to see if you feel comfortable asking them for help, should you need to.
The Breastfeeding Café is my online support community filled with expectant and breast-feeding and moms. It’s a friendly place where you can grab a cup of coffee, login and chat. Come join us!
4. Build a list of trusted resources.
You can google a breastfeeding question and come up with some surprising (and embarrassing) results. Search first with these trusted resources.
1. KellyMom.com Kelly Bonata is an IBCLC who writes evidence-based and articles clearly explaining every aspect of breastfeeding. https://kellymom.com
2. La Leche League - For over 60 years, this organization and its Leaders have supported, encouraged and empowered women to breastfeed. Small groups meet all over the world and trained group Leaders provide phone support and inperson support at group meetings. https://llli.org
3. Breastfeeding USA is a nationwide network of breastfeeding counselors who provide evidence-based breastfeeding information and support and promote breastfeeding as the biological and cultural norm. https://breastfeedingusa.org
4. WIC (Women, Infant and Children Nutrition) WIC equips WIC moms with the information, resources and support they need to successfully breastfeed through the use of incentives, support groups, IBCLCs and WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselors. https://wicbreastfeeding.fns.usda.gov
5. BabyCafe USA -- Baby Cafés are free groups for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers offering support from trained staff, and opportunities to share experiences and make friends. http://www.babycafeusa.org
6. USLCA is the professional association for American lactation consultants. Check certification and and look for an IBCLC lactation consultant near you. https://uslca.org/resources/find-an-ibclc
Call or text (845)-750-4402 with your questions. And don’t worry, you are not “bothering me!” Answering breastfeeding questions is what I do, and how I work with all mothers. Happy breastfeeding! -- Donna Bruschi, IBCLC