Breastfeeding tips: no, my boob is not a hamburger

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The very first breastfeeding advice I received was from a well-intentioned nurse at the hospital. She told me to pinch my boob and hold it like a hamburger, as I did what I was told she pushed the back of my baby’s head onto my breast. “There has to be a better way,” I thought.

My intention is for us to be kinder to our breasts and ourselves as we try to breastfeed our little ones. While breastfeeding is natural, it doesn’t always come naturally.

I don’t recommend you try the hamburger method. It did NOT work. After a lot of trial, error, tears (me, baby girl, and hubby), support, practice, and patience; eventually we got it.

If you choose to breastfeed and are having trouble, seek support. It’s learning a new skill and takes time. Both mama and baby are new at it. There are so many women and organizations out there to help you and your baby. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you find your way.

Benefits of Not Breastfeeding

I support you if you choose to breastfeed or not. Sometimes it’s not possible and you have to do what’s best for you. The reality is breastfeeding can be painful. Your breasts are engorged, you’ll have sore nipples, and sometimes may bleed from the baby not latching on properly. No one said it is easy, it can take a while for both you and your baby to get the hang of it. With that said, there are many reasons why moms don’t breastfeed. Please don’t place any judgment on yourself or others.

You’ll have less freedom. Breastfeeding is a commitment. When your baby is sleeping, you’ll be pumping and will have to store extra milk to last for weeks. You’re always on call. Can you handle that?

If you’re shy, you may feel uncomfortable breastfeeding around others. Employers and airports now provide you with private spaces. While this is excellent, when your baby is hungry, it might not be at a convenient time or place.

You don’t have to be conscious of your diet and lifestyle. Enjoy chocolate brownies and coffee just the way you like it.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breast milk provides your baby with optimal nutrition. According to WebMD, “Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea.”

Breastfeeding is free and you don’t have to carry around anything extra. Just you and your little one. There isn’t anything to clean before or afterward and depending on your comfort level you can do it almost anywhere.

Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin. Every time you breastfeed your baby you’ll get a release of this feel-good hormone.

The best part? Bonding with your baby in a way that no one else can and saving money on formula. Breastfeeding after birth supports the detachment of the placenta. After your baby is born your uterus will go back to its pre-baby size. Breastfeeding can help with this as well.

If you need a little extra help with breastfeeding, there are many great resources out there. Here are a few:

La Leche League

La Leche League USA helps parents, families, and communities to breastfeed their babies through parent-to-parent support. They encourage, inform, and support the use of human milk and the intimate relationship and development that comes from nursing a child for as long as mutually desired. Whether you’re a working Mama or at home, find a meeting near you.

La Leche League Leaders are experienced mothers who have breastfed their own babies and who have been trained and accredited by La Leche League International to help mothers and mothers-to-be with all aspects of breastfeeding. We are available before and after our meetings, by email, or by phone whenever you have breastfeeding questions or concerns. They offer daytime and evening meetups where you can bond with Moms going through the same thing.

 Breastfeeding Centers

Another option is to hook up with a breastfeeding center like Healthy Children Project. They offer board-certified lactation consultants, certified breastfeeding educators, and nurses who have received additional education and training in the area of breastfeeding. After you deliver your baby, you’ll meet with a lactation consultant or breastfeeding educator while in the hospital.

I recommend Googling “Breastfeeding Center + Your Town + State” to find one. For example, search for “Breastfeeding Center Fairfax Virginia” and check out your options.

Lactation Consultants

For 1:1 support, lactation consultants are great. When you find the right person, you’ll be able to get individual attention for your specific needs. If asking questions in a group meeting terrifies you, look into lactation consultants.

I recommend Googling “Lactation Consultant + Your Town + Your State.” For example, Google “Lactation Consultant Brooklyn NY”

Listen to this podcast where I interviewed a Lactation Consultant. In this episode, you’ll hear things like:

How Moms can set themselves up for success expect after the baby arrives (10:50)
How to tune into your intuition (17:33)
How Moms can set up a good breastfeeding relationship with their baby (30:35)

Breastfeeding Support Facebook Groups

I did my research and wow, there are A LOT of groups on Facebook who will support you through this journey. When you search the group for answers, likely you’re not the only one. When you post questions, you’ll get responses during all hours. Check them out:

Gentle Mama-Breastfeeding Support

Gentle Breastfeeding Support

Momzelle Breastfeeding Apparel

The Badass Breastfeeder

Extended Breastfeeding and Gentle Weaning Support Group

Mum2mum ~ Breastfeeding and Gentle Parenting Information

When to Wean Your Baby Off Breast Milk

You’ll know when your baby is less interested in latching on. They’ll give you signs. For Type-A Moms, you’ll search for a timeline online to plot out how many weeks are left but use your intuition here. When that special time is complete, it doesn’t mean you won’t have an intimate relationship with your child. You’ll find other ways to nurture them. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until age two or beyond. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. As with everything, do what feels and works best for you and your family.

Remember some Moms choose to exclusively breastfeed. While others partially do so. Do what works and feels best for you and your baby.

I stand up for breastfeeding. And I also stand up for women who can’t or chose not to breastfeed. Each mamahood journey is unique and we’re in this together.

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