We all know how hard breastfeeding can be, but the journey can be made even tougher when friends, family and strangers offer less then helpful advice and encouragement. Comments like ‘bottle feeding is so much easier’ or ‘maybe you don’t have enough milk’ are just not going to cut it when it comes to encouraging a mum who wants to exclusively breastfeed. While their intentions might be good, the messages aren’t always great for confidence building – and if there’s one thing a breastfeeding mum needs, it’s confidence!
Breastfeeding can take some time to master, and the right support is important for keeping a breastfeeding mum on track and feeling positive. If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, having people around you who can support you is crucial for keeping your mindset healthy and knowing what the right steps are to take.
Find your squad!
So, what to do if people around you aren’t saying the things you need to hear? That’s easy! You put together your own breastfeeding cheer squad, containing people who a) understand your breastfeeding goals and b) really know how to get you closer to them.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could call on a group of people who could say things like, ‘You’re doing a great job!’ or ‘Keep at it – you’re getting there!’ or ‘I can see what the problem is – and I know how we can fix it’?
These sorts of statements are obviously going to have a better impact, so it pays to think about who can really offer you the support you need to move forward in your breastfeeding journey, whether this means offering you encouragement, advice or a plan to get through a breastfeeding challenge. It will also mean getting clear on what your breastfeeding goals are – and making these known to people you want on your team.
Here are some people you might want to consider for the job:
Ideally, your partner needs to how breastfeeding works, and what you need in the way of support. This might mean taking them to a breastfeeding class or offering some literature that explains the benefits of breastfeeding, and why you want to work on it. Being more clear on all of this will mean your partner will know the words you need to hear while you get breastfeeding up and running.
A fellow breastfeeding mum
Fellow breastfeeding mums can also offer you great support, as they might have experienced the same issues as you, and will be able to relate to any struggles you’re having. They can also share tips for making the journey easier, as well as let you know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel!
Have you got an amazing, empathetic GP that you know you can rely on for support? This could come in handy if you need some emotional support while you’re breastfeeding, or the right breastfeeding advice as your baby grows and develops. A doctor with children of their own is ideal!
Breastfeeding health professionals
Trained breastfeeding professionals can offer you specialised guidance and advice, so research where your local breastfeeding counsellors and lactation consultants are in your area. While they are trained professionals, it’s a good idea to contact a few to get a feel for their training background and breastfeeding philosophies, and to make sure you feel comfortable asking your questions.
Breastfeeding support groups
There are some wonderfully supportive Facebook groups around that can also offer you guidance, advice and great stories of breastfeeding triumphs that have come out of early feeding challenges, which can be very encouraging to hear about. You could also become a member of a support organisation such as the Australian Breastfeeding Association or La Leche League, both of which offer local support groups.
You don’t need a big group of people in your breastfeeding support team – just a select few who you know you can rely on for the right encouragement when you need it. That way you will always have someone to turn to when you’re feeling frustrated during your breastfeeding journey and not sure what to do next.
Remember, most breastfeeding problems can be resolved – with the RIGHT SUPPORT.