Are you a fourth-time breastfeeding pro or a first-time breastfeeder in a bottle feeding family?
No matter what your skill level in breastfeeding, it is especially important to surround yourself with people who believe in you breastfeeding your baby. Praise and support are vital in the early months, when you are learning, and you doubt everything! You need people who will encourage you to keep going, find you professional support, and remind you to see the bigger picture when it seems easier to quit.
Where can I find these people?
Life changes. That is the only constant in life. So it's good to have a large contact list of people who are supportive of your endeavors in breastfeeding.
1. Make a list of your friends and family who have 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.
If you already have a baby, they may be contacting you, which can be overwhelming. Start a list of supporters in your phone or on a notepad, so you can return their call when you actually need their help.
If they haven't called you, contact them and tell them your baby has arrived and you are trying to breastfeed, and how it's really going.
2. Look up breastfeeding support groups in your area.
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.
If you have a baby, definitely go to a local breastfeeding support group, or a ‘mommy and me’ support group. It can be overwhelming to pack up and get out of the house with your baby to face a roomful of strangers. I can assure you that most likely your discomfort will be short lived. I can't promise you, but the odds are that you will be happy you went.
If you are unhappy, then ask yourself. Is it you, or was it the group?
There are all kinds of groups, so don't give up if your first one or two aren't quite right. La Leche League, Breastfeeding USA, Baby Café and WIC all have active support groups all over the USA. Most hospitals and baby stores have baby groups, and you will find more on Meetup.com.
Online groups can be a lifesaver, especially if you are housebound with the pandemic, 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 using specific words of what you want, like "Poughkeepsie mom group" or "Rhinebeck Twins Mom Group"
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 fi