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Create your Sustainable Breastfeeding Experience

Breastfeeding is not an all or nothing experience. There is a grey area that many

families fit into. Long gone are the days when you have your baby and are then

surrounded by other mothers, aunts, sisters and neighbourhood women, ready to help

support, teach and take care of the new parents. All the breastfeeding mother had to

do was rest, eat nourishing meals, drink tea, bond with and breastfeed their baby.

There was always a helping hand to care for the new mother while she got use to her

new role.

With a new baby nowadays, there is typically the birthing parent and a partner or close

support, who might still be leaving everyday to go to work and maybe one other close

friend or family member that comes and goes. And that is it! The new parents walk

through the door with their new baby, to an empty home, expected to figure out how

to care for and breastfeed their baby around the clock, while maintaining their home,

feeding themselves and trying to fit in a shower or two at some point. Many new

parents do this without the knowledge of how breastfeeding works or how to know if

their baby is doing well. They assume breastfeeding will just happen or they will

simply wing it. This approach to breastfeeding is not usually sustainable.

Too many times, I have seen new parents completely overwhelmed, with no

insight on what to do once the baby arrives. I witness their distress and anxieties

interfering with the bonding that needs to take place for a smooth transition into

parenthood and breastfeeding. I have observed new parents blessed with beautiful,

textbook birth experiences, only to find themselves completely ill-equipped with what

to do next. They have all the gadgets - wipe warmers, the newest strollers, video

monitors etc. but NO support network in sight. Nobody to help them with meals, or

housework while they walk around like zombies, stressed out because they can’t

afford a night nurse. They have no knowledge of which professionals they need or

where to find them!

A sustainable approach to breastfeeding should be based on the family dynamic and

goals. It might be mixed breastfeeding with some bottle feeds. It might be the

breastfeeding parent going back to work and pumping at work, while breastfeeding in

morning, evenings and on weekends. Or even exclusive breastfeeding with co-

sleeping to provide around the clock feeds. There are so many ways to make

breastfeeding sustainable within every family dynamic.

Regardless of how you choose to sustain your experience, it is so important to have

the right start to breastfeeding. There are important recommendations which need to

be considered before the breastfeeding journey even begins to allow for more

flexibility later, so that it can sustainable. If you are struggling with supply, nipple

pain, or keeping baby at the breast, because of a rocky start with breastfeeding, then it

becomes more challenging, but not impossible, to have sustainable experience.

One approach that expecting parents may take include the following THREE steps:

1) Start your education early - Start building your knowledge before the baby

arrives so that you know what to do in the first days and weeks after having

your baby. This includes planning for your supports too, so you have plenty of

people helping out. Learning while you are stressed and exhausted often leads

to lower success rates of a sustainable experience.

2) Build your community - Get early hands-on professional lactation support even

if you think you have it covered. Having an extra pair of eyes on your positioning, latch, and baby’s oral anatomy can sometimes identify areas of

concern and minimize challenges in the future.

3) Enjoy! - Once you have your supply and your baby is thriving and

breastfeeding well, then you can decide on your own or as a family, how you

want breastfeeding to be part of your experience. You will have more options

and these options allow breastfeeding to fit into your family’s life in a

sustainable way.

For more information on how you can prep for your sustainable breastfeeding

experience, check out The 3 Simple Solutions To Becoming A Confident New Mom

From Birth To Breastfeeding webinar here.

Mélanie Jacobson ND IBCLC is available for in-person and virtual appointments on Tuesdays at Dupont Naturopathic Family Centre.


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