August is National Breastfeeding Month, and the United States Breastfeeding Committee is calling for a “landscape of breastfeeding support” to be built.
Every mom knows that support is essential to a successful breastfeeding relationship with her baby. So, in honor of National Breastfeeding Month, let’s honor and acknowledge the different areas of support that are needed.
Parenting partner – A breastfeeding mom needs both emotional support (think a grateful heart and understanding ear) and logistical support (think a willingness to get up with the baby for any non-feeding related middle of the night waking) from her spouse or co-parent.
Friendly faces – Breastfeeding moms need to be able to lean on the shoulders and draw experiences from those who’ve been there before – whether it’s a circle of girlfriends, a sister or mom or even a more formalized mommy group.
Medical team – When a mom chooses to breastfeed, she needs to know she can depend on her own doctor, her baby’s pediatrician and a qualified lactation consultant for any medical questions she has.
Working support – A lot of moms are forced to quit breastfeeding before they’re ready because they lack support when they go back to work. A successful breastfeeding experience for a working mom depends on a supportive work environment that allows and encourages pumping in a dedicated, comfortable area, as well as childcare providers that are willing to give the baby expressed breastmilk and are open to the mom having breastfeeding visits.
The greater community – When a breastfeeding mom is out in public, she should know that the places she frequents have places where she can comfortably breastfeed – either in public or in a comfortable private place. Check out the "Moms Pump Here" app to find local nursing rooms.
And, of course the most important thing to keep in mind is that every mother-baby relationship is unique -- if you want to support a mom in her breastfeeding journey, listen to her to find out what she needs.