Whilst some mothers face complex breastfeeding challenges like tongue tie and insufficient glandular tissue, in my experience the most common barriers to breastfeeding are much more simple.
I think there is an underestimated kind of breastfeeding support that everyone can offer, even if you are not a professional or a breastfeeding expert, and even if you didn’t breastfeed yourself.
So whether you are a grandmother, friend, partner or professional supporting a Newborn Mother with normal breastfeeding, here are a few of my slightly left-field suggestions!
In case mum didn’t already feel like a dairy cow…
Kerstin Uvnas Moberg shares the story of a dairy farmer who created a kind of massage machine to prepare his cows for milking. She explains
“similar to a car wash, but dry, the machine gives the cows a delightful stroking sensation. They become relaxed, appear in better condition and produce 26% more milk”
Whilst mum is breastfeeding ask her if she would like a shoulder rub if you can brush her hair or maybe give her a foot massage.
Cristina Smilie taught me a phrase I will never forget:
“Do you ever run out of tears? Only when you no longer feel sad. Do you ever run out of milk? Only when you no longer feel love.”
What can you do to make her feel loved? Bake her a cake? Paint her nails? Arrange for some friends to visit?
On that note, ask the mother is she loves her breast pump!? Always use a pump you LOVE - even if it's not the hospital-grade double electric pump everyone says you SHOULD use!
Research shows that help doesn’t always help!! When partners or parents of new mothers interfere too much with baby care than it lowers breastfeeding rates. However help with cooking, cleaning, shopping and other non-baby related tasks really can help with breastfeeding.
So step away from the baby, I know how good they smell, but your job right now is to do the dishes.
How cool is this little piece of science from Kerstin Uvnas Moberg:
“Cows that are fed at the same time as they are milked become calmer and more sociable, and produce more milk.”
So every time a mother sits down to breastfeed bring her a snack and a drink! So easy :)
A friend of mine who recently had a premature baby was breastfeeding at the part when she was handed a “Thank You for Breastfeeding” card.
This random act of kindness meant more to my friend than the stranger who gave her the card could ever know. My friend has put immense effort into breastfeeding her premature baby, particularly since she also has a toddler and a fly-in fly-out husband.
Congratulate and thank women for breastfeeding, we make it really, really hard in our culture!