Texas moms are right on par with the national average when it comes to breastfeeding rates. More than three out of every four moms have ever breastfed their babies1. What the statistics don’t tell you is how each mother’s experience differs!
As Medela’s Director of Education and Clinical Services, a nurse and a mother of five breastfed children, I know that breastfeeding is an incredible experience, rewarding for mom and baby alike. Houston moms need to know that they are making a great choice for their families by breastfeeding and that there is help out there. Here are a few easy-to-remember tips (hopefully!) for you as you embark on your breastfeeding journey.
- Support Sees You Through: Breastfeeding might be natural, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. For mothers who do successfully breastfeed, there is often a partner, spouse or friend playing a strong supporting role. Raising a child takes a village, so identify your support network while you’re pregnant. Some health systems offer the support of a lactation consultant via a breastfeeding warm line and many communities have active La Leche League groups which can be helpful if you’re facing a breastfeeding challenge. Medela’s online “Ask the LC” allows moms to submit questions by email and hear from a board-certified lactation consultant.
- Transition with A Plan: Many mothers either want or need to return to work outside of the home during baby’s first year. This transition, often around three months, is when many moms stop breastfeeding, but it doesn’t have to be. Making a plan in advance can help ensure you stay on track to meet your breastfeeding goals. Talk to your manager; ask other moms in the office about their approach to returning to work and continuing to breastfeed; invest in a double electric pump (check to see if it is covered by insurance) to protect your supply. More questions about your breastfeeding rights at work? Check out MedelaAtWork.com, a resource that offers tools to support you (and inform your employer) on your breastfeeding journey as you transition back to work.
- Challenges are the Rule, Not the Exception: We’ve all been there. We think we’ve got it down. The baby latches and she’s gaining weight and you’re in a rhythm. All of a sudden something throws it all out of whack! Whether she’s teething or she’s learning to roll over, change is the only thing you can take for granted. Flexibility is your friend. And, remember mama, you’re doing a great job!
- Keep Track and Keep Your Sanity: We have all had days where it feels like things are happening at an unstoppable pace, but you still haven’t showered and changed out of your pajamas. The first few weeks of motherhood are often called a “happy haze.” Finding solutions for many breastfeeding challenges is made easier when there is a log of recent feedings, dirty diapers and pumping sessions. When I was nursing, I used a number of methods to keep track of feedings from pen and paper to safety pins on my bra. Now there are apps you can use to help. MyMedela allows moms to track their baby’s activities with their phone and provides a problem solver with customized breastfeeding support.
Learning about breastfeeding and hatching a plan for how you’ll approach it will help you when baby is born. A lot of emphasis is placed on mom’s birth experience and it is very important. However, what happens after babies arrive in this great wide world is just as vital to their growth and development. Whether you take a class in your community or log on to Medela’s Breastfeeding University, the early prenatal prep will be to your advantage when you too enter into that happy haze!
Have more questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or join our community of moms at www.facebook.com/Medela.
Amy O’Malley began her practice as a pediatric nurse at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where she was later appointed Director of Nursing Resources. Amy spent several years on the faculty at Loyola University School of Nursing in Chicago where she taught Pediatrics and Community Health. Currently Amy is the Director of Education and Clinical Services at Medela. She develops education and programs for both mothers and clinicians to share the latest evidence, develop tools and programs to help mothers initiate their milk supply and reach their breastfeeding goals. Amy has presented nationally and authored numerous book chapters. Her greatest accomplishment is her five children, all of whom were exclusively breastfed. For more information about breastfeeding and pumping, visit www.medelabreastfeedingus.com