I love breastfeeding. I’ve now been a certified lactation counselor for 2 years. I love talking about breastfeeding, encouraging breastfeeding moms and helping breastfeeding moms succeed. I love and believe in breastfeeding so much that I induced lactation for our adopted son, I requested donor breastmilk when he was in the hospital and I have some donor milk here at home. I don’t make much milk myself, but I spend 15-20 minutes four times a day pumping to get 2-3 ounces (total each day) to give my baby a fresh breastmilk bottle every other day.
This week is World Breastfeeding Week and it is something that should be celebrated! Although I unfortunately don’t get the whole experience of being a breastfeeding mom, this is a cause I strongly believe in. Breastmilk is best for babies, everyone knows that. But do you know that if your baby just got some sick germs and you latch him on, that your body will produce antibodies and immunities to keep your baby from getting sick? And do you know it’s best for mom too? Moms burn 500 calories a day, making weight loss easier AND it decreases the risk of breast cancer. Crazy right?!?
There’s been a lot of promotion in the breastfeeding world so that everyone now “knows” breast is best. HOWEVER there has NOT been enough support or encouragement. Most moms try to nurse now. How cool is that? But many never get the hang of it or stop sooner than they wanted to because they don’t have enough help. Breastfeeding is hard. When you’re a new mom, you have to learn what you’re doing and your baby does too. It’s a process! Ask for lots and lots of help. I’m a firm believer that not only should lactation consultants help moms their first couple days in the hospital but also at a week or two weeks out. A lot can change in that short amount of time. So if you’re a new mom who wants to breastfeed- plan on asking for help! AND get some good support. Like I said, breastfeeding can be really hard. A supportive partner and friends and family can make a huge difference.
Now I know there are some of us who can’t breastfeed. This post is not meant to make you upset or feel guilty. In case you didn’t get it above, I am a mom who can’t breastfeed. My child gets about one breastmilk bottle a day, but he is primarily fed formula. I will never be one of those CLCs who judges someone because they cannot breastfeed or cannot meet their breastfeeding goals. Try your hardest, and ask for lots of help. And if it doesn’t work out- that’s okay! You know you tried your best. We are lucky to live in an age where science has given us formula and babies thrive on it. But be confident and know that every drop of breastmilk or every feeding you gave your baby was huge and be proud of it.
Moms, however you feed your babies, you are amazing and are doing everything you can for them. We all need to encourage each other more too. Go mamas!