Breastfeeding: Mom's Super Power
Special Baby issue: 2006
"If breastfeeding is this easy,
why do so many of my friends quit?" A new mother asked me this
question as she blissfully nursed her one day old baby. She glowed
with the calmness and certainty of one who has been parenting for
less than 24 hours. She was basking in post partum sunshine. She
was feeling the rush of the post birth endorphins that I wish came
in a pill.
A week later, the scene was quite different. "I am so tired;
I haven't slept in a week. The baby nurses all the time. My husband
has gone back to work. My parents went home to Ohio. The dishes
are piled to the ceiling and the dog just peed on the carpet. I
haven't had a shower in three days. I don't think I can do this!'
For the full effect, re-read these sentences and put a hiccupy
sob after each one.
Few women stop nursing for true breastfeeding problems. Many
are overwhelmed by the new responsibilities of parenting. They
dread their return to work. They court disaster before breastfeeding
is well established. They quit when they are only a few feet from
As a mother's focus shifts to the care of her newborn, her absence
is quickly felt in the flow of the household. Even if other family
members don't complain, the mother feels the change in the household
balance. This may mean bigger piles of laundry or unopened bills
on the counter. When she takes stock of how her time is being spent,
breastfeeding tops the list. Many see artificial feeding as a way
to relieve this time strain. Most mothers I counsel regret this
decision a few weeks later when their mind has cleared.
It is common knowledge that breastfeeding is the best feeding
for babies. The problem is we convince ourselves artificial feeding
is second best. The truth is it is a very distant second. Milk
from cans is for baby cows and baby soybeans. Human milk is the
only species specific milk for human infants. Breastfeeding is
the best choice unless there is a true medical reason not to breastfeed.
These reasons are quite rare.
What can breastfeeding women do to hedge their bets
They should learn all they can before their baby is born.
- Read about
the benefits of breast milk and breastfeeding.
- Endear yourself to your breastfeeding friends.
- Go to a breastfeeding
- Join a breastfeeding support group.
These things help you act from conviction - a belief
that you can produce the food your baby should
be eating. I saw a t-shirt recently that said it
well, 'I produce breast milk. What's your super
must return to work or school should take the
longest maternity leave they can arrange. Think
about telecommuting or job sharing. Take as many
on line classes as possible. Revisit the family
budget. Talk with friends who have found ways
to reduce family income so they could afford
more stay at home parenting.
If you must be separated
from your baby, pumping your breasts is easy
and making it possible for you to breastfeed
as long as you like. You will be longing for
your baby at the end of your work day. The two
of you will enjoy the reunions only breastfeeding
Your breasts are not the key to successful
breastfeeding - your mind is. Breastfeeding is
a confidence game. Snuggle up with your baby
and enjoy the work of it all. Is there anyone
you would rather be with anyway?
Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
All the anticipation is over, and your
new baby is snuggling in your arms. Here
are some tips to help you create a nurturing
breastfeeding relationship with your little
- Attend a breastfeeding class before
your baby arrives.
- Make sure the baby
goes to the breast as soon as possible
after delivery while in the quiet alert
- Make sure latch on is adequate
and the suck is deep and drawing. Ask
your nurse for help if needed.
a hold in which you can be supportive
in gliding the baby to the breast.
plenty of 'kangaroo care,' skin-on-skin
contact, after feedings.
- Keep a breastfeeding
log the first few weeks after birth,
recording wet and dirty diapers and length
- Get help early if you notice
any problems with breastfeeding. Early
intervention is a must!
- Go to a mom's
support group to meet other moms.
Donna Jenkins, RN, IBCLC, St. Mary's
Health Care System
Classes & Support
- Breastfeeding: a Bond of Love (offered
- Breastfeeding and Working (offered
every other month)
Call (706) 475-3385
St. Mary's Health
- Breastfeeding 101
- Breastfeeding 102:
Back to work and breastfeeding?
Yes you can!
Call (706) 389-3389
La Leche League of Athens
- Daytime meeting: 3rd Tuesday, 10 a.m.,
St. Stephen's Anglican Church
meeting: 3rd Tuesday,
7 p.m., location varies
- 'Mother Care' (Saturdays, 10:30
a.m., Medical Services Building, 3rd
Call (706) 475-3385
St. Mary's Health
- 'Bundles of Joy,' (Mondays,
- 'Toddle Time,' (Last Monday
of the month, 10 a.m. noon)
Call (706) 389-3310
WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program
to WIC clients in Barrow, Clarke and
Madison counties. For more information,
call your local health department or
1 (800) 473-4357.