Written by guest blogger, Jennifer Pitkin, IBCLC
Like most things in life, the road to breastfeeding success is less bumpy and more enjoyable when you have a good supporting cast riding along with you. Questions are certain to arise: Is my baby latching correctly? Is he getting enough to eat? Why is she so fussy today? What are we going to have for dinner? and/or Why am I so exhausted?
When you need breastfeeding tips or information, an extra hand, a word of encouragement, or even just a nap, don’t be afraid to reach outside of your mom/baby bubble to those around you for help. Most of the time, you won’t even have to leave your home to get the help you need. Your significant other, your friends and neighbors, and your extended family all want to play a part in your growing family, and are likely eager to find ways to help. And, when you want or need to leave the house with your loved one, there are resources in your community awaiting your arrival. Here are some examples of the people and places that have the resources that you need.
Significant Other or Support Person:
Your support person is the one that you can always rely on - your “go to” person for anything you need. But, remember, no one can read your mind, so share this list with your significant other or best friend to help him/her know what help you need.
• Help with snack and meal prep
• Tell you that you’re doing an amazing job
• Change baby
• Bathe baby
• Hold baby skin to skin while you take a bath, check your email, catch a quick nap
• Shop for the products that you want or need at http://www.mymilkies.com/
• Help you find and access resources in your community
Friends and Family:
Your friends and family genuinely want to help. Here are some ways they can:
• Bring snacks!!!
• Give them a list of chores to do around the house (laundry and/or dishes are always a safe bet)
• Entertain older siblings
• Run errands
• Cuddle baby but give the baby BACK to you when baby needs to eat. Holding baby off or pacifying baby may make baby’s next feeding more difficult. And, if baby misses a feeding, your supply may drop.
One thing is for sure: there is power in a group. Support groups come in all shapes and sizes these days- small mom/baby play groups, local chapters of international organizations, and even online support groups. With so many options, there is certainly a group that will provide the information and companionship you need. You may find yourself seeking out other parents that babywear, work outside of the home, or have children the same age - you will know when you find the right one for you! Start by asking friends or neighbors about groups in your area or organize a “Breastfeeding Café” where you and other moms feed your babies while enjoying lunch or coffee. And, be sure to check out the following resources:
• LatchME is the world’s most comprehensive breastfeeding app and is available for iPhone and Android. With this app you can instantly connect with lactation experts and experienced moms for support and information. You can also locate in-person support groups and find nearby breastfeeding friendly places to feed your baby. Click here to learn more https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/latchme/id813106754?mt=8
• La Leche League International provides breastfeeding tips, information and mother-to-mother forums, and can help you find breastfeeding support groups in your area that are led by La Leche League leaders.http://www.llli.org/
• Breastfeeding USA provides mother-to-mother support via online discussion groups. Similar to La Leche League, they will also help you find breastfeeding support groups or counselors that often times offer a free home visit. https://breastfeedingusa.org/
When breastfeeding challenges arise that can’t be solved with a hug, don’t hesitate to call in a professional. Sometimes all it takes to get you back on track with your breastfeeding routine are a few pointers from an expert. The LatchME app can help you find a breastfeeding-friendly physician or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (the “gold standard” IBCLC credential) in your area.
Your body is designed to breastfeed – you already have everything you need to nourish your baby. With that said, there are products available that can help you resolve breastfeeding challenges, discomforts, or inconveniences so that you can reach your breastfeeding goals. Available breastfeeding support products include herbal teas for boosting milk supply, dietary supplements to provide nutritional support, nipple balms for soothing sore nipples, and breast milk freezing and storage solutions. When choosing breastfeeding support products, trust your instincts to help you determine which products you really need and then be sure to buy from a trusted company, like Fairhaven Health.
The breastfeeding journey is both fulfilling and challenging. When you need support, remember that you are part of a “village” that is willing and waiting to help!