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
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.
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.
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.