August 1st through 7th, marks World Breastfeeding Week. That designation was created in 1991 to promote and support the breastfeeding of babies. A mother’s milk has all the nutrients your baby needs, plus an array of antibodies that will build your child’s immune system. But breastfeeding isn’t always easy. It may take a week or more before you and your infant click.
Here are some things I learned during that time.
Find Support • Even just one other mother (perhaps your own) to provide encouragement when the going gets tough is important. Breastfeeding, while wrapped in romantic gauze of righteousness, isn’t always easy. Your breasts will be sore. You’ll feel like a feeding machine. Being the only person your child wants, while flattering, can be taxing, too. So find other moms who share your journey and meet once a week to share and relax.
Get Baby on a Schedule • Schedules make nursing so much easier. Your body will adjust to your child’s needs and regulate itself if you nurse at set intervals.
When Headed Out, Bring Supplies • I remember (all too well) having appointments run late and my breasts, engorged and hurting, starting to leak onto my blouse. After this happened a several times, I began to regularly carry breast pads, and sometimes even an extra top and bra, just to be safe.
Be Open to Your Timeline • I never (and I mean never) thought I would nurse more than three or four months, six months, tops. I remember a friend telling me she nursed her baby for a year. I thought she was mad.
Lo and behold, I wound up nursing my son until he was 11 months old. Naturally, his feedings gradually diminished as he ate other foods, but since I worked from home, it was a time we could enjoy together. Follow your child’s lead. Whether he’s done at four months or seven, let him set the time frame, if possible.
Breastfeeding Support Groups
Beautiful Bundles — Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women. For new moms to share baby information and support. Contact Pam Sere, 227-9873.
BirthMemphis Childbirth Education Services — Breastfeeding classes and lactation counseling offered. Contact Sarah Stockwell, 454-6827.
La Leche League of Germantown — Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Meets second Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Breastfeeding support for pregnant or nursing moms. Contact Emily, 685-8832.
Breastfeeding Clinic for New & Expectant Moms — Methodist LeBonheur Germantown.Friday, August 4 at 2:30 p.m. 7671 Poplar, Germantown. For more, go to methodisthealth.org.