The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee recognizes the month of August as National Breastfeeding Month, and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action celebrates the first week of August as World Breastfeeding Week (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2018).
While we proudly stand behind the benefits of breastfeeding, we also proudly stand behind EVERY mom feeling supported throughout her motherhood and breastfeeding (or non-breastfeeding) journey.
Because of that, we support #fedisbest mentality, and you can read our whole post on fed is best here. However, if you are breastfeeding or if you're pregnant and hoping to breastfeed once your little one is born, we know first-hand that breastfeeding certainly does not come naturally to everyone (and can actually be really, really hard and emotionally draining), so we want to share some helpful tips/supportive resources.
Tips for breastfeeding mamas:
- Breastfeeding does NOT come easy to most; in fact, it like, really hurts - your nipples will be raw and it will feel like a piranha is biting you; you may experience latch issues, tongue-tie, lip-tie, exhaustion, milk supply issues, and more...because of that, it's extremely beneficial (for your emotional and physical sanity) if you can find a local lactation consultant and join a local breastfeeding support group.
- Lean on our MamaWell program for resources, education, a full nutrition guide, and a community just for MamaWell members - other mamas just like YOU. Our in-house Holistic Nutritionist, Carley Mendes, talks about why and how whole foods play a crucial role in fertility, pregnancy, postpartum & babies in our nutrition guide, which is included in a MamaWell membership; learn more here. Within the MamaWell nutrition guide, you'll also find recipes created with Mom in mind. For example, you'll find chia pudding recipes and Mama's Milk Cookies, which are both a must for any nursing mom.
- Eat whole, nourishing foods like homemade bone broth, which can be especially beneficial for breastfeeding mamas due to its high richness in calcium, magnesium, gelatin, collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, and phosphorus (Mendez, 2018). Mendez also states, "The amino acids in bone broth perform a wide variety of functions including: boosting the immune system, improving digestion, fighting inflammation, promoting sleep and calming the mind. Particularly high in arginine, glycine, and proline." Find her nourishing broth recipe here. You can also browse our Pinterest board, "Breastfeeding Mamas" here.
- Breastfeed immediately after birth. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, your milk production and baby’s feeding reflexes are triggered when you and your baby are skin to skin. The first milk to come in is called colostrum, and offers many benefits to your babe; he/she also has a super tiny tummy, and the colostrum found in new mama breast milk is easier for newborns to digest.
- Feed on demand, not on a schedule. When babies are showing signs of hunger, they will often root, looking for mama's breasts, suck on their hands, or lick their lips (Public Health Agency of Canada). "Babies need to eat often in the first weeks – 8 or more times in 24 hours. This establishes active milk production and ensures that your baby regains his birth weight by the second week of life. Night feeds are important to establish breastfeeding and to maintain milk production." (Public Health Agency of Canada).
- Talk to your OBGYN or doctor about ways to boost your milk supply if you feel it’s low. There are certain herbs and supplements they may suggest, like fenugreek or milk thistle, or pumping schedules that may help increase milk production as well. If you feel your baby isn’t gaining enough weight, be sure to talk to your pediatrician and lactation consultant to ensure baby is getting enough milk. Have them check tongue and lip-tie, their latch, and don’t be ashamed to discuss supplementing if all other options have failed. #fedisbest
- Join a local mom's group outside of the lactation group, because, the more mamas you can find/associate yourself with, the better. Community is literally EVERYTHING when it comes to entering into this motherhood realm, and there's no better way to feel supported than by other moms. Of course, if you have a supportive partner, that's amazing, but they are not the one breastfeeding, so you need other breastfeeding moms to lean on, vent to, and who offer up advice, comfort, and help, whether it's in-person, via text, or even email. Make a new mama friend, and we promise, it will be more helpful than you even realize. You can find your local FIT4MOM tribe here.
"We see you, Mama, sitting in the NICU pumping for your baby, or watching them bottle feed formula because with a preemie, your milk didn't come in. We see you, Mama, waking up every hour to breastfeed your baby who was just diagnosed with tongue and lip tie. We see you, Mama, who's up all night warming bottles and mixing formula because you have painful mastitis, blistering raw nipples, or decided breastfeeding just isn't for you. We see you, Mama, pumping all day at work, sneaking away to bathrooms and hall closets or your car when there is no nursing room. We see you, Mama, timid to breastfeed in public for the first time, or whose baby is wrestling under a cover like a wild animal in a cage. We see you, Mama, who had to turn around to head home because you forgot your bottles on your first outing out of the house with a newborn. We see you, Mama, hiding in an airport bathroom trying to breastfeed in peace. We see you, Mama, building that liquid gold stash in your freezer for date nights or when you go back to work. We see you, Mama, taking care of your baby in all the ways that feel right. We see you, Mama, nurturing and feeding your baby with love. We see you, Mama, whether you're exclusively breastfeeding, exclusively pumping, formula feeding, using a milk donor, or supplementing with a combination of the above. We see you, we adore you, we cherish you, and we honor you and your story of motherhood."
Want more articles on new mamahood? Read our "Fed is Best" article here.