The Support She Really Needs

*Note: This article was written for people who are trying to help someone who WANTS to breastfeed. Please do not pressure a mom or make them feel guilty about their choices. My goal is to give you ways to help a mom in need!

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When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I took all the classes and read all the books. Still I just assumed it would all happen naturally. She would come out, latch on, and instant bonding would occur. Well it didn’t go according to plan. In fact, she wouldn’t latch on at all. It was 6 weeks before she latched.

Through all of that, I had lots of well-meaning people offering to help. Unfortunately, their help was often counterproductive to what I was trying to achieve. People would try to help by telling me, “It’s okay to stop. You have tried really hard!” or “Don’t be down, sometimes it just doesn’t work out.” Instead of listening to their advice, I started going to Le Leche League meetings and found that many women who were struggling were being offered the same “help.” At that point, I made it my mission to be the help breastfeeding women needed. Rather than tell a woman it’s okay if she can’t, I try to give her the confidence that she can. Here are some of the ways I help new moms wanting to achieve their breastfeeding goals:

  • If you know a woman who is planning on breastfeeding, begin helping her before the baby is even born. All of the local hospitals provide breastfeeding classes or you could purchase her the book, “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.” She can also begin attending Le Leche League meetings. The Baton Rouge chapter of LLL meets on the second Friday of every month at 10 am at Abiding Hope Fellowship.

womanly art of breastfeeding

  • After the baby arrives, encourage her to meet with the lactation consultants at the hospital. If she can’t drive yet, bring her. They are free while you are still a patient but well worth the money after you have been discharged. If money is an issue, make that your baby gift to her. She will be forever grateful!
  •  If she feels there is a supply issue, I tell her how to help increase her milk by taking fenugreek, More Milk Plus, drinking a dark stout beer, drinking LOTS of water.  I even make her a batch of yummy lactation cookies.
  • If she feels the baby is not getting enough milk, I recommend talking to her pediatrician or a lactation consultant about a possible tongue-tie or lip tie that the baby may have. If she has questions about engorgement, thrush, mastitis, or other common complications, I give her what knowledge I have but also direct her to www.kellymom.com or anything written by Jack Newman, specifically on www.breastfeedingonline.com
  • Being overwhelmed and feeling alone are normal for a new mom, especially when things aren’t going perfectly. Offer to babysit any other children she may have or do some laundry and cleaning so she can rest.
  • Cook a meal! As simple as it may sound, it was a lifesaver when I had Emmeline!  A simple meal will mean the world to a tired momma.  Something as simple as a whole baked chicken, veggies, baked potatoes, lacation cookies for mom, and regular cookies for everyone esle! Throw in some breakfast muffins and paper plates and you will have a friend for life!

Breastfeeding is hard! It is one of the hardest things I have ever done! But it is also one of the most rewarding. I did finally get Ava to nurse and we continued that relationship until she was 2.5 years old. I never thought I would have troubles again but with Emmeline it was even worse! Fortunately, I already had my strong support system in place and was able to work through every issue we had! Now she is 6.5 months old and still happily nursing.

Beautiful photo provided by K & B Photography.

What are your tips for a new mom wanting to breastfeed?

Lisa is a 29-year-old Baton Rouge area native. After high school, she applied for and auditioned with New York University’s Theatre Education program. Before she heard if she was accepted, she met the man of her dreams and never opened the letter from NYU! She instead remained close to home and attended LSU. In 2007 she married Daniel, a fire fighter. In 2010 she gave birth to their daughter Ava Elise, and then in 2013, she gave birth to their second daughter, Emmeline Margaret. They have suffered the loss of five pregnancies, which has helped shape their goals and ideas as parents. Lisa’s favorite thing to do is spend time with her family any chance she can. She practices gentle parenting and natural living. Her hobbies include cooking and decorating for any holiday. You will often find her and her family at festivals, parades, and any event with a good Swamp Pop band playing. She is an active member of the Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Engaged Encounter community, which holds retreats for engaged couples to help them be better prepared for marriage. More than anything, Lisa loves to laugh and smile and give glory to God.

10 COMMENTS

  1. This is great Lisa! I called the lactation people at BR General for the longest time that I’m pretty sure they knew my voice by the end of it, haha. This is so encouraging for those struggling moms!

  2. The best advice I have for new moms that are struggling is “don’t let your paranoia get the best of you”. Reach out to LLL or an IBCLC. Try to find help online through Facebook or a baby website. I let my paranoia that I wasn’t eating well enough to breast feed Spencer get to me and it had a big impact on my mental health.

    • Exactly my point Gina! It is such a lonely place with a new baby that you are trying to learn! Surround yourself with all the people who want to help you on the journey YOU choose!

  3. I bought a baby scale so I could weigh him to make sure he was gaining weight. The hardest part for me was it knowing how much he was taking in, that fear of an unknown. Plus my baby was a big time cluster feeder and would nurse for hours and that put so much doubt in my mind that he wasn’t being fed enough. I struggled with issues getting him to latch, feeling like I had low supply, etc.hang in there and don’t give up bc it was the most rewarding and bonding experience for me.

  4. This is so perfect! I always tell new moms or moms-to-be that it can be very difficult, and it’s so important to establish a good support system before you have any issues. I couldn’t have done it without a group of friends who were also breastfeeding and were happy to chat day or night about my struggles. I also sought help from La Leche League and Lactation Consultants. I wanted to surround myself with people who would encourage me rather than tell me it was ok to quit. I knew it was ok if that was my choice, but what I really wanted was help and support. Thank you for this great post!

  5. I wish I would have had these options or felt like I had support before having my baby boy. Instead I chose the pumping exclusively route (still going 5 months later!) I just didn’t feel at the time I had the support or resources and next time will definitely look into these!

    • You are awesome for EP that long! I was ready to give in at 6 weeks! By the grace of God she started nursing! Good job momma!

  6. Yes! I was determined to breastfeed during the really tough times. There was even a night when my mom and husband gave my newborn formula in the middle of the night because they thought I “needed sleep”. They knew I was in pain every time I nursed and thought they were helping. Please, please respect a mother’s wishes. I was devastated to find out they did that a few hours later. Devastated and then depressed because I thought I failed. Provide encouragement, confidence, and support not an out.

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