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Breastfeeding Help Can Be Crucial

When resolve wavers, breastfeeding moms can find experienced support. Here's where to find it.

Although health organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend exclusively breastfeeding babies until age 6 months, a majority of moms have switched to bottle feeding by then. Their reasons include difficulty and soreness, not producing enough milk, workplace issues and a perception that the baby isn’t satisfied with breast milk.

Another, hidden reason that mothers discontinue breastfeeding is a lack of support. Their partner or close friends can make breastfeeding easier, but often a support group or breastfeeding professional can be the difference in whether both baby and mother receive the many health benefits that breastfeeding provides.
 

Husbands Can Help

For More Info

World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7 2011, is celebrated in more than 170 countries worldwide. Click here to  learn more.

Click here to search for breastfeeding or other parenting support by state, county, city or keyword.

In her book Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide To Breastfeeding (Quirk Books, $14.95), Andi Silverman suggests these ways a father can help with breastfeeding:

  • Provide encouragement and emotional support.
  • Make sure that when Mom is breastfeeding, she has the supplies she needs: a glass of water, burp cloth, telephone and television remote control.
  • A few weeks after birth, Mom can begin pumping and storing breast milk, enabling the spouse to begin bottle-feeding baby. That, in turn, allows the mother to nap or get some sustained sleep.
  • When baby cries for food in the middle of the night, the spouse can retrieve her and bring her to Mom for a feeding.
  • Help with housework, cooking, thank you notes and other chores.

Breastfeeding Benefits

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfeeding has these benefits:

For the baby: Breastfeeding decreases the possibility that an infant will get a variety of infectious diseases, ear infections and diarrhea. Breastfed babies are at a lower risk of becoming obese children. There is no worry about the risk of milk contamination from bacteria or other substance; it is always fresh and at the right
temperature.

For the mother: Breastfeeding mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster and have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer. They also experience less postpartum bleeding, as the hormones that help with breastfeeding also make the uterus contract.

Related article:
Breastfeeding could prevent 900+ deaths per year

Support Outside the Home

Breastfeeding help is readily available from online and community groups and professional lactation consultants. Here’s where to find it.

Online and Telephone Support. It is often comforting for a mother to be reassured and influenced by other women in her situation. Several personal and professional blogs and websites provide support for mothers.

Some support websites provide message boards and forums for mothers to discuss their daily lives and receive ideas from other mothers in similar situations. At least two organizations also provide telephone hotlines.

Here are three sites to check out:

  • Breastfeeding.com — “The #1 site for BFing advice” includes an answer center, videos, moms’ stories, expert advice, forums, blogs and directories of lactation consultants and other services. www.breastfeeding.com
  • La Leche League International — LLLI’s website offers answer pages, mother-to-mother forums and connections to local support. Hotline: 877-4-LALECHE. available 24 hrs.
  • Womenshealth.gov — The federal government’s women’s health website includes a breastfeeding section. It features information on breastfeeding issues and additional support groups. Hotline: 800-994-9662, Mon.-Fri., 9am-6pm.

Health Care Reform Backs
Workplace Breastfeeding

A provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act recently signed into law protects breastfeeding at larger businesses.

The provision requires employers to provide reasonable, unpaid break time and a private, non-bathroom place for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child's birth. Employers with less than 50 employees are not subject to the requirement if it would cause "undue hardship."

For the bill's exact language, click here, wait for the 2,400-page PDF file to download and go to p. 1217.

Professional Lactation Consultants. The International Lactation Consultant Association provides training and accreditation for breastfeeding support professionals. A consultant can pinpoint solutions for mothers who have breastfeeding difficulties but want to continue. To find a consultant near you, visit www.ilca.org (click: “Find a Lactation Consultant” on the right).

Local Meetings and Classes. Breastfeeding is a learning process for both the baby and the mother. While classes and meetings are not always free, they are great opportunities to meet other mothers and professionals in your area. Groups can advise mothers with problems and provide in-person support from other mothers. Here are local groups that meet in the Delaware Valley.

Andrea Jordan is a MetroKids intern and Temple University journalism student. 

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