What I Discovered About Breastfeeding

This month, 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. Breast-feeding, 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, would start to leak onto my blouse. After this happened a couple of times, I  realized I would need 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 diminshed 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.

Breast-Feeding Support Groups
• Beautiful Bundles • Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women. Meets Thursdays from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. For new moms to share baby information and support. Contact Pam Sere, 227-9873.
• BirthMemphis Childbirth Education Services • Breast-feeding 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. Breast-feeding 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.

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