According to the CDC 2016 Breastfeeding Report Card, the rate of American women who are breastfeeding has increased. It also indicates that the number decreases by half, for those that continue nursing between the recommended ages of 6 months to 1 year.
Surprised? I was. I was surprised not by the fact that the rate decreased past the 6 months – but surprised that this was a negative on the “Report Card.”
I nursed my 3 kids over 30 years ago until they were each a year old. This was at a time when I was the exception and not the rule. So for me, an increase in breastfeeding is a win.
However, it is these statistics that create stress and overwhelm in pregnant women. Not only do they carry the stress and nervousness of creating a human inside their bodies from a bunch of cells, delivering this human, nourishing this human and raising this human to be a good and successful member of society, but they have the added stress that nourishing the baby with formula instead of breast milk is not good enough. Oh and let’s not forget, even if they do nurse, 6 months is now not enough.
As a health coach, I work with some of my clients talking them down from the negative self-talk around breastfeeding. For them, being a good mother equates with the amount of breast milk production and the length of time they nurse the baby. Yes, nursing is very good for the baby, but – it’s not – if the mother surrounds herself with stress and anxiety over it.
In addition to maintaining a healthy nutritious diet during and post pregnancy, following are some guidelines to help with the feeding:
- Make sure you have a glass of water with you when you sit down to nurse. The more hydrated you are the better.
- When it’s time to nurse go to a relaxing, quiet place. Once the baby latches and begins sucking, your state of relaxation will facilitate the flow.
- Leave the phone and other electronics behind and be present with your baby. Nursing creates a strong bond – use it to grow yours with your baby.
- Many mothers have to go back to work at the end of their maternity leave. If your workplace is nursing-mother friendly, extract a few bottles of milk so you can drop them off with the baby’s caregiver. This will help extend the amount of time you nurse your baby by increasing your milk production. The more you extract or nurse, the more milk you will produce.
- Finally, remember that you’re not alone. Seek help from lactation experts at the hospital. Make sure you’re as comfortable as possible with nursing before you leave the hospital. If you need additional assistance after you leave the hospital, reach out to advocacy groups like La Leche League. They are there to help and offer support.
For all you mothers and mothers-to-be out there, hopefully these guidelines will help. But remember these are just guidelines. No one knows you and your baby more than you do. Trust your instincts and, regardless whether you nurse or not, it’s important for both you and your baby that you do what feels right for the two of you.
Community Men’s Group
Led by Carolina Pataky
February 20, 2017 8PM – 9:30PM
Often in collaboration with other experts, Carolina’s mission for this group is to create a place where men can not only openly discuss their concerns, but adopt a new, richer understanding of the world around them. It’s a place for building trust, unity and authenticity. A place to break free and understand the limiting societal beliefs imposed on men. Through the sharing of ideas and experiences, we explore topics surrounding relationships, careers, transitions, life events, dating and sex. Complimentary.