1. Your body already knows what to do.
Your breasts will learn how big your baby is and how much milk they need. Your breasts will make specific antibodies for specific illnesses, based on what your baby’s saliva communicates to your breasts.
Your breasts keep fresh, perfectly-designed-for-your-baby-milk ready to consume in a sanitary way, at any hour of the day or night.
If you are ever caught in one of life’s minor, or major, upsets, or even a disaster, your breasts are ready to feed your baby. You can be sitting on the side of the road, waiting for a tow truck, or flooded out of your home in a Red Cross shelter, and your baby will still have all the comfort, closeness, nutrition, and immune protection they need.
Making milk for your baby requires only about 300 calories a day. About as much as can be found in a glazed donut, a baked potato or a bowl of soup. In dollars and cents that’s like spending a dollar a day for milk tailored to your baby’s needs instead of $25 or more a week on artificial formula designed for generic babies. It gives you the option to bank the money, work less, or even treat yourself to something nice.
2. Your baby already knows how to breastfeed.
There is a sequence of instinctive, repetitive reflexes that every baby goes through. Once you learn about the reflexes, your baby’s seemingly random movements suddenly make sense. You can support them learning breastfeeding without getting in their way. You can build a solid foundation of healthy parenting on things you learn in your breastfeeding relationship.
You and your baby both have innate reflexes for breastfeeding. You can learn to work together, and breastfeeding will become nourishing, comfortable, satisfying and truly enjoyable.
3. Your health care provider may not be the best person to give you advice.
All major medical organizations have policy statements stating that babies should be exclusively breastfed until they are 6 months old, unless there is a good reason not to.
In spite of this, you will find health care providers (HCPs), who believe that many mothers can’t make enough milk, and that formula in a bottle is just as good as breastfeeding.
In addition most physicians, including pediatricians, receive very little education in breastfeeding and no supervised practical training when they go to med school. Pharmaceutical companies know this, and provide infant feeding education through samples of formula, gifts, golf vacations and fancy lunches. Similac has even put their formula sales pitch onto an iPad that they give to doctors, so they have a script to follow.
Another challenge you will face is that many people, including pediatricians, lactation consultants and maternity nurses, believe they know about breastfeeding, and will give you outdated, or wrong information. They may share information that creates problems for both of you.
If you have an HCP who understands and supports you in breastfeeding, that is wonderful! If your HCP is able to answer all your questions about breastfeeding, then you have found a real treasure. Appreciate them!
But if you can’t find that perfect practitioner, then this website is designed to help you and your baby, when you need it most.
All this is true! So why am I having difficulty?
In a traditional culture, you would have been breastfed and grown up with breastfeeding being the normal way of mothering a baby. By the time you had a baby, you would already know a lot about caring for babies and breastfeeding. There wouldn't be such a shock in transitioning into life as a new mom.
One of your relatives, most likely your mom, would be with you starting while you labored, and would be by your side for the next 6 weeks. She would take care of all your needs for food and the running of your household. You could focus on loving and breastfeeding your new baby. She and your extended family and friends would take turns caring for your baby's other needs, like rocking, changing, bathing and soothing. This would allow you time for sleep, and time to rest and recover from pregnancy and birth.
During the early weeks, your mom, aunties, sisters and friends would all be supporting breastfeeding.
They would offer advice. And Just like now, you would find some of it not helpful, but most would be. Keep in mind, information would be coming from women who had been breastfed, and then successfully breastfed their babies.
You would know how to comfortably position your baby. You would know to feed 12 times in every day. You would know that baby's cry for lots of reasons, and it doesn't mean you are starving them.
You would have the resources you deserve, so you could focus on taking care of your baby.
A doctor or midwife would be coming to you to check on you and your baby's health. Your mother would be able to shower her devotion onto you, yet again. Comforting and nourishing food would magically appear at your side. She would rub your shoulders and hold your hand. She would hold you when you cried. She would walk her new grandbaby back and forth, singing and soothing, to help them settle in after their huge transition, from the womb to this world.
You would have a break from the outside world.
Your world would become you, your partner, and your little baby: lost in time and so in love. You could lie in bed, or get up if you choose, and wander around the house in your pajamas, blissfully gazing at the amazing miracle in your arms.
You would have maternity leave. You would not have to check your email and take calls from work. You could ignore politics, the pandemic, the gossip of a small town, your co-op and workplace drama. You could turn off your phone and relax, knowing that your needs are being met and that for right now, all you have to do is celebrate this brave little one who chose you to be their mama.
This is a call to action!
Breastfeeding happens in cultures that support breastfeeding. That is not the USA right now, except in tiny pockets. Our babies and bodies know what to do. It is up to us to create the family and community support needed to be consistently successful.
You can't create something if you don't know it's possible. Maybe it's too late for you right now, but this is something you can create for your future self. Maybe you can create it for your friend, or your sister? Maybe it won't be until the baby in your arms births your grandbaby. Carry the dream, and spread the dream, so the world is a better place for your children.