Breastfeeding Awareness Month: Support is Key
August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month and we believe that every mom and baby should feel comfortable while breastfeeding. One key component to successful breastfeeding is having the support from those around you. Not only does Johnston Health provide support before, during and after your baby is born, but there are plenty of ways that partners, grandparents and friends can show support while mom is still learning the ropes of breastfeeding.
Johnston Health Breastfeeding Support
We are here to assist you any way we can. At Johnston Health you’ll find internationally board-certified lactation consultants (IBCLC) and breastfeeding educators to assist you with breastfeeding needs. These lactation consultants are also registered nurses with specialized training to assist with both routine and specialized breastfeeding situations.
In addition to providing nursing infants and their mothers with consistent and accurate breastfeeding education and outreach through our lactation specialists and breastfeeding educators, our Women’s Services offers:
- Breastfeeding Classes
- Telephone support to assist with breastfeeding questions before or after your stay at Jonhnston Health: 919-585-8137
- Johnston Health Breastfeeding Support Group: Local moms are invited to attend this free support group for an opportunity to meet and speak with other breastfeeding moms in the area. This unique opportunity allows for a supportive environment to ask questions and share your experiences. Led by a lactation counselor, mothers can discuss breastfeeding topics, ask questions and receive help with breastfeeding. This drop in meeting is available from 10am-12pm on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. We will have nursing pillows, relevant books and handouts, and shared toys for siblings, who are welcome to attend as well.
Ways for partner, family and friends to support the new mom
Keep Mom and Baby together. Everyone loves to hold babies, and babies love to be held too. But remember that the new baby needs to be with the new mom and dad so they can learn to be comfortable with their new bundle of joy. Ask before picking up the baby, and remember to wash your hands. If the baby begins to show hunger cues such as trying to suck on anything close to his face, by smacking his lips, or by turning towards his mother, give the baby to Mom so she can breastfeed. You may want to offer to give the parents and baby privacy to breastfeed and plan to come back at a later time.
Offer to watch the baby while Mom and Dad sleep. This is a great way to be able to admire the cute new baby while sleep-deprived parents catch up on rest. When the baby wakes up, go ahead and change the baby’s diaper and take the baby to Mom. When Baby is finished eating, start over with the baby-watching. (It’s so much fun.)
Help Mom get comfortable. Often moms find it difficult to get comfortable when they are nursing. Helping Mom with a footstool, extra support pillows, or blanket rolls. Also keep water or other fluids available for Mom. Most moms are very thirsty when they are breastfeeding.
Bring treats for the parents. Call or text Mom/Dad and find out if you can bring them anything. Treats like fresh fruit, breakfast bars, juice boxes, or even Mom’s favorite milks shake are great treats for a nursing mom who is beginning to get hungry or thirsty. If the family is already home from the hospital, offer to bring a meal. Having things prepared and ready to heat in the microwave is a blessing for new families. The last thing they may think about is feeding themselves when mom is so busy with feeding the baby.
Remember to be encouraging. Every parent wants things to be perfect for their new bundle of joy. Saying things like, ‘you look so comfortable with your baby’ or ‘your baby looks so content’ speak volumes to new parents – especially moms. Remember new babies do eat frequently and they will often cry to communicate to their parents. Avoid questioning baby’s appetite or mom’s milk supply. Mom is probably already questioning these things herself.
Offer to babysit older children so Mom and Dad can have uninterrupted time with the new baby. Get the older children involved in household chores to help mom.
Ask mom what she needs! Many mothers are so used to doing things on their own that it is hard to ask for assistance. Asking Mom what you can do for her will often make her feel more comfortable receiving assistance and support.
Enjoy having a new baby as a part of your family, extended family, and network of friends. Show you care by supporting mom’s choice to breastfeed her baby. Your support can make the adjustment to having a new baby much easier.
Want to know more about the benefits of breastfeeding and lactation support at Johnston Health?