Family and Peer Support While Breastfeeding
Because those breast pump parts aren’t going to clean themselves
With National Breastfeeding Month coming to a close, along with Black Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 25-31, 2017), I figure that now is as good of a time as any to talk about the support that I have received over the duration of my breastfeeding journey. I am nine months postpartum, and while it seems that breastfeeding is a piece of cake for me, I still struggle every now and then with low milk supply, finding somewhere to nurse or pump in public, and just being downright too tired to pump enough milk. During my pregnancy, I was afraid that Marquis would not be as hands-on with the entire breastfeeding experience. With my mother’s lack of breastfeeding knowledge, I was afraid she would not be able to help either. I was so incredibly wrong! For me, the support while breastfeeding has been one of the top reasons why breastfeeding has been achievable.
Support while breastfeeding is pivotal to the success of your breastfeeding journey. I have the support of my partner, as well as my mother, grandmother, and coworkers. Just because they are not actually breastfeeding, does not mean they cannot play a vital role. Here are 9 ways my family and peers support me.
Reminding me to pump
Both Marquis and my mom remind me when it is time to pump. If I tell them I need to pump at 3 AM, they will wake me up to pump at 3 AM. I might be tired and in a bad mood, but they do not care. Their only concern is making sure Jaxon has enough milk. Which in the end, is also my only concern.
Cleaning my breast pump parts
Those little parts to the breast pump are annoying to clean! I have the Medela quick clean wipes that I keep in my bag. However, those parts need to be cleaned with real soap and water on a regular basis. Not only does my mom make sure Jaxon has clean bottles, but she also makes sure I always have clean parts to pump with. It makes my day go a lot smoother because it is one less thing I have to remember. Thank you, Mom Brain!
Making sure I have somewhere to nurse in public
In the car, on the plane, inside of a restaurant, it does not matter. If I want to nurse Jaxon while we are out, they do not discourage me. That is incredibly important because if a stranger feels the need to make rude comments, I have someone to back me up. It is easy to not have confidence when you need to nurse in public. When you have people that support you, you instantly have the much-needed confidence to whip your breast out and get to feedin’!
Ensuring Jaxon is getting enough to eat
This is a big deal because as breastfeeding mama’s, it’s easy to feel like our babies are not getting enough milk. In my mind, I know that as long as he is nursing, he’s getting as much milk as he needs. However, as he gets older, he becomes distracted and will stop nursing before he is done. Nursing is still extremely exhausting, so if he stops, then that means we’re done. Marquis, on the other hand, will insist that I allow Jaxon to latch and try to finish. Even when I KNOW Jax is done, Marquis is right there making sure Jaxon has had enough. I’m not sure if he’s preparing to raise a future linebacker, or what. But, he wants his baby to EAT. He does not even care if it’s comfort feeding (which I do not do).
Pumping at work
My coworkers have played an active role in my breastfeeding journey. Whether I am in the office or out on assignment, my coworkers make sure that I have somewhere private and clean to pump. Once during a work trip out of town, my coworker and I rigged together a plastic bag full of ice to keep my milk cold. I am transparent with my boss about my breastfeeding struggles. If I need extra time to pump, or I need to run home because I forgot a piece to my pump (which happens a lot), my boss allows me to.
I nurse, they burp
It is an understood rule in our house. Since I’m nursing the baby, you can burp him. If it’s nap time or bedtime, then I will nurse, and someone else puts him to sleep. It’s a huge gesture that goes a long way.
There are some days where I am extremely exhausted and I do not feel like nursing at all. If I have a stash of milk in the fridge, either Marquis or my mom will go and fix a bottle for Jax, while I rest.
Remind me of why I’m doing this
There are days when I want to give up on breastfeeding completely. Instead of standing by while I struggle with engorging breasts, and baby that uses me as a human teething ring, they cheer me on. They cheer me on and remind me why I chose to breastfeed in the first place.
Help set goals
Lastly, they help me set AND achieve my breastfeeding goals. My first goal was to go 6 months. My family made sure I reached it. Now, the goal is 12 months. If I make it a goal to pump 30 ounces over the weekend, they help make sure I achieve that goal.
Support while breastfeeding will make the experience a lot easier and more manageable. Remember, it takes a village.