I am not the most tech savvy person around. I had to call the support number for my website today and ask a question. The woman I had on the other end of the phone politely took my information and asked if she could access my site so she could look into the problem. She gushed as she saw the pictures of the babies, and began telling me how wonderful she thinks my services are, and how she wished that I was around when she had her baby. “I struggled for 3 days” she said, “and then I gave up”.
I really didn’t know anything about having kids when I had my first baby. I had an idea of what I wanted, but was not educated enough about it to know how to get it. I was sure I wanted to breastfeed, despite some discouraging words from friends and family. Even though it wasn’t that long ago, lactation consultants were not as plentiful as they are today…and that is if you consider lactation consultants plentiful. That really left me to reading whatever I could find, and constantly second-guessing my every move. I am so grateful that I did not have any problems serious enough to make me want to give up, and there was no cheerleading section to encourage m e to continue.
Still I pursued. I discovered that many of the struggles I did have were more to do with recovery, hormones, and learning how to adapt to life with a new baby. It wasn’t necessarily about the feed itself, but about knowing when to feed, when the baby had enough to eat, and how to calm a fussy baby. When I work with new mothers and babies, I see this cycle repeating itself. I have learned that whether or not it’s a young mother or seasoned mother, first baby or 5th baby, African American, white or Hispanic, upper, middle or lower income, the questions and concerns are the same. No matter where we come from, we want to do the right thing and make the right decisions regarding our baby.
So why do so many women abandon breastfeeding? The benefits of breastfeeding are indisputable, that has never been the concern. So why is it a struggle to get breastfeeding rates to rise and exclusivity rates to extend to 6 months? I’ve been trying to figure this out for quite a while. Can it really just be about the lack of support? It seems like that would be easy enough to fix, so why are we fighting the same battle? If you see a breastfeeding mom, praise her. If you see a pregnant mom, encourage her. Share your knowledge, your resources, and your time. You will make an impact that will last a lifetime.