Support for breastfeeding during month of raised awareness

My baby nurses her baby.

My baby nurses her baby.

Even though I am way beyond the early years of having and raising babies, breastfeeding remains a frequent topic of conversation in my home. Of course, my line of work lends itself to friends and family sending me breastfeeding stories in the news, or social media posts by celebrities making statements around their choices to breastfeed (or pump) whenever and wherever they choose. But the conversations are also sometimes like this…

During a recent discussion about my line of work with my daughter’s boyfriend, I asked him if he was breastfed. “No,” he replied and quickly added, “but I turned out just fine. And look at Olivia,” he continued, “she’s great, too.” To which Olivia piped up, “Uh, I breastfed for three years.” That tidbit of information didn’t appear to phase him. In fact, it reminds me of when I first started learning about breastfeeding relationships and how they could look, which was much different than my limited exposure imagined. 

Mom pumps milk in the middle of Laguardia airport before installation of nursing pods.

Mom pumps milk in the middle of Laguardia airport before installation of nursing pods.

I recall being at a La Leche League meeting with my 5 week old baby and seeing a toddler nursing in his mother’s lap. I had never seen a child that age nursing (until I had my own I had little experience with babies breastfeeding) and it took some getting used to on my part. Clearly, I made it past all that considering my own breastfeeding journey and later profession. 

Do I think breastfeeding is the only way to feed a baby? Absolutely not. I’ve seen far too many situations where breastfeeding was not working for one reason or another. We aim to support mothers and families where they are. However, I do believe breastfeeding is a human right, and that it saves lives and helps communities. I desire to see mothers supported to successfully breastfeed, and I want negative beliefs that undermine their success to be challenged. 

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August is National Breastfeeding Month in the US, which is celebrated in order to support and increase awareness of breastfeeding and its benefits. World Breastfeeding Week was the first week of August and commemorates the Innocenti Declaration On the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding, signed in August 1990, by government policymakers, the World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF to promote and protect this important first food. 

Constructive criticism? NOT!

Constructive criticism? NOT!

Here’s what I know about parenting and raising children – regardless of what you may believe, there is NO one right way. Your way is not the only way to do things.

There is not one way to feed. Yes, I am a breastfeeding advocate and hope for all mothers and babies to have the experience as well as the long list of health benefits that comes from it. But I’ve seen many circumstances where, for one reason or another, it wasn’t working, including because the mother simply didn’t want to breastfeed. It’s my place to provide knowledge, information and guidance, and then ultimately to support the mother’s decisions that are best for her family. Not my family. Hers.

And for those who think they must criticize the breast-feeders, get over it. It’s feeding a baby. Food, sustenance, fuel, nutrition. Let it go already.

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To pump or not to pump, that is the question...

To pump or not to pump, that is the question...

Mother’s Situation: I’m six months pregnant with my first child and I’m planning on trying to breastfeed. I’ll be returning to work, though, and I think it might be difficult. I’m considering breastfeeding just until I return to work because I don’t want the hassle of pumping and storing my milk. What inspires other mothers to keep on breastfeeding or pumping even after they resume working? 

As a postpartum doula who works with mothers in their homes after they’ve had their babies, I am inspired by the thought you are putting into this important decision. Many of my clients return or will be returning to work, and most of them choose to breastfeed. Many plan to breastfeed until they return to work, and some plan to continue pumping while they are working. 

Quite simply, what inspires them to continue are their babies! 

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Timing and technique are important when introducing a bottle

Timing and technique are important when introducing a bottle

It happened again. Another parent of an almost 4 month old called in a panic because their baby refuses to take a bottle. 

These kind of calls typically come around 10 to 16 weeks when Mom is nearing her return to work. Sometimes it’s from a stay at home parent or from a mother who just wants to be able to get away for a few hours without worrying if her baby is going to be hungry. 

So, what can parents do to avoid this situation? …

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Birth of a Doula

Birth of a Doula

A brand new mother sat at home in her living room with her baby boy a couple of days after giving birth. She had done so much preparation leading up to her birth - she and her husband attended a childbirth class that focused on having the partner as coach to the laboring mother. Even so, she had hired a birth doula to support them both through the process. As part of her childbirth class she attended a breastfeeding support group to learn about feeding her baby once he arrived. She had her music picked out for her birth, lined up her photographer, and packed all the special items she wanted to bring with her to the birth center. 

Things didn’t go as planned. …

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Getting clear on foremilk/hindmilk

Getting clear on foremilk/hindmilk

Q. I read about foremilk/hindmilk imbalance on the Internet and I’m worried that I have it. What should I do?

A. Oh, the Internet. What a great resource it can be for quick answers and support on so many topics. Yet, sometimes it’s misleading.

Inevitably when a breastfeeding mom is concerned about this issue, I know she has been self-diagnosing online. Information on the Internet about foremilk/hindmilk imbalance tends to trick a mother into thinking she has the condition when, in fact, it’s a very rare condition, says Cindi Freeman, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and owner of Freeman Lactation Services in Cary, North Carolina.
 

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12 doula tips when visiting new parents

12 doula tips when visiting new parents

Do you have the perfect family and friends who know (or knew) just how to support you after your birth? They realize that recovering from childbirth, whether natural or otherwise, takes time, and that the new baby (or babies) need time to adjust to the world and bond with their new family. They understand how to nurture the new or growing family with food, household help and space. 

Oh, that’s not how it was/is for you? Then we can help. It’s called Tips From the Doula and was written by our own doula extraordinaire, Erica Aday. It works well posted in plain view or distributed to well-meaning friends and family in advance of visits. Here’s how it goes:  ...

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