Every mum across the world has at some point or another received advice, whether it was requested or not! In many (if not most) parts of the world women are surrounded and taught by other women. Women see each other and learn from each other when they first menstruate, go through pregnancy, give birth, breastfeed…all the way through to the end of life. Women witness these important life events and learn from them.
Many women in Western societies do not see these things anymore. We are mostly at home or work when pregnant, we give birth with our husbands or partners and maybe one or two other people besides the midwife or doctor in the hospital. We then go home with our partnersand if we have a visitor they are unlikely to do our laundry or cook for us (which is what we need the most)! Many of us go on to breastfeed without any support (except google), having hardly seen any breastfeeding in our lives growing up. It is no wonder we feel so lost and alone at times after having our babies.
While women who live in a more community driven environment do still get advice from other women, it is the actual SEEING of the labours, births, breastfeeding and parenting that leaves the biggest mark. Seeing the woman who got through that long hard birth but managed to have a vaginal birth or seeing with our own eyes a woman breastfeed her newborn and get the latch just right…this is what’s missing. Words of advice are sometimes unwanted, yet we have lost a part of what it means to live together as a community and support each other.
While we can always give advice and suggestions, the most powerful thing is to encourage other mums to follow their instinct, remind them that they know their baby best and to follow their baby’s lead. I ask you to just breastfeed your baby, whenever and wherever you are and encourage women to do what feels right for them and their babies when mothering through breastfeeding. There will be a little girl watching who remembers that or a little boy who will then go on to encourage his partner to do the same. Our actions are much more powerful than any words of advice we can give. We breastfeed to feed and comfort our babies, yet often times we are unaware of just how important it is for the community as well.
Somtimes we are given a golden piece of advice that rings true for us and we remember forever…
I asked all of my, “likers” on The Milk’s Facebook Page to tell me what the best piece of advice was that was given to them after they had a baby. The following is what they said…please write a comment after the post if you have one to add to the list.
The Breastfeeding Mum’s Boobie Wisdom…
“It can be hard at first…but in the long run (maybe around 8 weeks or so) it becomes the ‘lazy Mom way.’”
“Take your baby to bed. You’ll both get more sleep.”
“Watch the baby not the clock.”
“Don’t be scared to ask for help – it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. (Even 2nd time around). This was so true for me & I went to see an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant & now love feeding my 4 week old daughter.”
“It DOES get easier. It really, truly does!”
“Feed on demand… even if you think that they cannot possibly be hungry… even if they are so full they keep spitting up…even if they just ate 3 minutes ago and you haven’t even gotten your shirt readjusted yet!!!!”
“It shouldn’t hurt… and if it does, ask for help from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant! “
”When you are tackling a challenging moment/day/week/phase, just remember ‘This too shall pass.’“
“Don’t wake your sleeping baby.”
“We live in a fast world and our babies grow up so fast, so slow down and take the time to breastfeed.”
“Try to enjoy those night feedings when you are so tired….because one day they will be grown up and you will miss those precious moments!”
“Trust you body. You’ll produce enough milk to feed your baby (just keep feeding).”
“If in doubt, whip it out. Instead of wondering could s/he really be hungry again, just offer a feed.”
“Baby will feed for many different reasons and sometimes comfort booby is all that’s needed!”
“Stop clock watching!!”
“Ensure you have massive amounts of skin to skin contact – especially in the first 6 weeks while breastfeeding is being established.”
“Trust your intuition. It is good.”
“Join the Australian Breastfeeding Association. Going while pregnant and seeing breastfeeding in such a normal way was a big part of successful breastfeeding for me. It also gave me a first port of call for breastfeeding issues in the early days.”
“Ask her if she wants boobie…subtle cues let me know the answer, varying from a specific noise, to eye movement and more. Trust your instincts and listen to your baby. Regardless of age, they make a specific noise for wanting the breast…the tricky part is figuring out what it is!”
“Join a support group. Makes so much difference to your confidence especially when feeding ‘beyond a year’ gasp or -choke slightly- tandem feeding. La Leche League have been great.”
“Stick it out it pays off in the long run .”
“True self weaning happens gradually over time. Anything sudden is a nursing strike.”
…and finally from “The Milk Meg”…
“Trust your instincts. Trust your instincts. Trust your instincts!!!”
*If you have any questions about breastfeeding please CONTACT ME
. I am available for consultations in person if you live on the Sunshine Coast or Brisbane. I am also available for consultations via Skype if you live elsewhere around the world.