Posted by: Jennifer | August 14, 2011

How to support breastfeeding mothers

Plenty of people want to support their breastfeeding friends and family, they simply aren’t sure how. It is surprisingly easy to support and help out a nursing mother, even if you have limited, or no, experience nursing.

First things first.

Stop offering to take the baby, babysit the baby, give the mom time to herself. I know that it comes from a good place, and all moms do need to shower and use the bathroom, but particularly in those first few months, they need, and likely want, time with their baby. I am hugely guilty of this, despite hating when people do this to me. Babies are cute! We all want to hang out and cuddle with a cute baby while mom naps, but more than likely, mom isn’t napping, she’s fretting, or cleaning, or doing something else entirely.

If you can’t babysit the baby, what can you do? All moms have things that need to get done that they will never ask other people to do – loads of laundry, vacuuming, washing floors, changing beds, wiping down bathrooms, cooking, etc. Absolutely nothing is more helpful to a new mother than actual help with what needs to get done around the house.

With my second child, my friends were amazing. They swept, vacuumed, and cooked. The best part? They didn’t even ask. They just brought food, picked up a broom or took out garbage. My mother and mother in law did laundry, picked up my daughter from school, and made meals. I was so appreciative of the help I received, because I could spend MORE time with my baby, bonding, nursing, resting, playing, and LESS time, worrying about housework, cooking, and laundry.

I returned to work at 12 months on a part time basis and then full time at 15 months. At around 11 months, I was needed in court to give testimony, something that I could not delegate to a colleague. Rather than leave my baby with her, my mother in law came with me. I wasn’t sure how long I was going to be, so I nursed my son before going in, on a break, and then after. My mother in law watched my son in the car, took him to a nearby park and played with him. THAT help was invaluable, because I was able to do the work I needed to, but I had right kind of help so that I could nurse my child without having to give formula or a bottle.

Obviously, as babies age, moms will need time to themselves more and be able to take time for themselves. While they are nursing, it is so important to support moms in whatever way you can.

How do YOU support breastfeeding mothers?

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