Finding Supportive Breastfeeding Supporters

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Breastfeeding is one of the most enriching, amazing things I’ve ever done. It’s also one of the hardest at times and often requires a dedication and commitment I didn’t know I had. I’ve often said that support is absolutely essential to a successful breastfeeding relationship, and where you find that support can make or break where you get in your breastfeeding goals.

(This post is not about formula feeding or formula feeding mothers. If a woman chooses to formula feed, that is her prerogative. If she has no choice due to misinformation, or booby traps, that’s another story.)

Where you find your support is essential to your success.

I sat in a class earlier this week listening to mothers talk about advice they’d been given by their doctors on a specific health issue. Every single one of them had received different advice, and some of it was flat out contradictory.

And that is the problem with advice: It’s completely based on personal experience.

So, here are a few tips for what to look for when you’re trying to find breastfeed support:

Chris from And Mommy Makes 3 Tandem Nurses Twins

1) Know your own wishes

No one can help you if you can’t help yourself. Set a goal for yourself, and understand that that goal might change. For me, it was the WHO recommended two years. Two years have come and gone, and my two year old is completely unwilling to stop breastfeeding, so we’re going on for a while longer.

2) Find people who have the same goals or at least support your goals

Going for support from someone who thinks six weeks is more than enough, is not going to help you achieve your longer term goals. Someone who is actively against full term breastfeeding isn’t going to encourage you effectively. When you hit a hard patch, they may recommend that you give up, having done enough. In anything, finding people who are supportive of your goals is important – the same applies to breastfeeding.

3) Never, ever, accept an opinion as fact

If it’s your doctor, a friend, a lactation consultant, or someone with 9 kids of their own, if someone offers you advice, check it. Google it. Ask someone else. Find out. In this same group, earlier this week, one woman said that she thinks her 16 week old is teething. Another said, “you better hope not, because you won’t want to breastfeed when she’s got teeth!” I told her that my daughter had teeth at four months, and I’m still breastfeeding and it’s not that bad at all. But by then, the other mother had already nodded, looked concerned and said, ‘yes, I hadn’t thought of that’. She was willing to accept an opinion, and it would have affected her breastfeeding experience.

4) Consider the source

You don’t make a buying decision on a house without getting in an independent surveyor. In the same way, you shouldn’t make your breastfeeding decisions based on advertising, celebrities or anyone who financially benefits from your no longer breastfeeding.

5) Find your local La Leche League branch

Whether online or in a central meeting point, La Leche League leaders are trained in breastfeeding, breastfeeding support, have probably breastfed themselves and can help you. Apart from physical support, they will also be able to give you the encouragement you need.

Bear in mind that all the rules above apply. Despite their dedication to breastfeeding, there’s still room for the human factor.

6) Read, research, become informed

There are a few books that are generally regarded as the crème de la crème of breastfeeding books. I haven’t read all of them, but if you ask someone in the know about breastfeeding, these are the books they’re going to recommend:

  • The womanly art of breastfeeding – written by member of La Leche Leauge, this book was rewritten in 2010 by and for the modern breastfeeding mother, with woman to woman wisdom passed down.
  • The Breastfeeding Book – by Martha Sears, who is a mother, nurse and lactation counselor. The book has simple illustrations and addresses some of the common problems face by breastfeeding mothers.
  • Ina May’s Guide To Breastfeeding – it’s Ina May. What more do you need me to tell you?
  • Adventures in Tandem Nursing – I have this book in my reading pile, and sadly I’ve just not gotten to it yet. I will, someday. I recommend it though, if you have any questions about simultaneously feeding two children, at the same time or one after the other. I have been asked many questions about tandem nursing, including Can it be done? Isn’t the milk poisonous for the older child? Doesn’t the older child drink all the baby’s milk? Can the milk come out two sides at once? And a bunch of other really random things!

These are just a few thoughts on support, but however you decide to go about it, make sure that you know your facts, and then proudly go forth and feed your babies. I strongly believe that tandem nursing has helped my eldest ‘cope’ with the new baby, and I have read that it makes the bond between the nurslings stronger in years to come. And those are just a few of the benefits of tandem breastfeeding.

 

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8 thoughts on “Finding Supportive Breastfeeding Supporters

  1. So true! I was ill and rang my midwife for advice. She gave me completely inappropriate advice which resulted in me stopping feeding my son at 7 months before either of us were ready. I tried googling but was too ill at the time to find a n answer and thought that it would be quicker and easier to ask someone I thought would definitely know the right answer.
    My family have always been and still are really supportive of my breastfeeding 🙂
    Kate Buckley (@scattymumofboys)’s last blog post ..Twiddles, fidgets and a kick in the face!!!

  2. Robyn Logan Clarke

    My husband, we went to a NHS antenatal class and he came back extremely positive about breastfeeding, I’m 37 weeks pregnant and I know that my husband will be 100% supportive.

  3. Hannah

    Good post, you are right you should always check out what people say before accepting it as people don’t always tell the truth! My biggest supporters my mum ans she has been brilliant at giving me advice, which she presents more in an I did this form rather than as fact which I think is more helpful. As that what you understand the decision behind the advice, for example back in the day my mum was told she should wean me totally at 9 months because she was pregnant that advice has now changed and I decided to carry on feeding when I got pregnant.

  4. esther james

    my health visitor Ruth has been fantastic. I owe her a lot!

  5. Claire Willmer

    My biggest support is my husband he is truely amazing he knows just what to say to make me feel better and reassure me of what a great job i am doing and to help in anyway he can. I know he will be just the same when our next little girl decides to arrive 🙂

  6. Samantha Holloway

    My mum and dad have always been my biggest support. My mum breast feed me and my 5 siblings so had loads of valuble information to pass on.

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