Breastfeeding Sabotage, An American Epidemic Part1

Is your breastfeeding relationship being sabotaged? Are you sure? Are you unknowingly sabotaging someone else’s breastfeeding relationship? How do you know?

I am a labor doula, postpartum and infant care doula and childbirth educator. I am a mother of three with a variety of breastfeeding experiences.

Over twenty years ago my own breastfeeding relationship was sabotaged by misinformation and lack of the world wide web we have today. My future success in breastfeeding my next two children to 2 and 3 years made me very passionate about this subject and I became and avid researcher. What I’ve discovered is that our breastfeeding relationships are unintentionally sabotaged from many angles.

There are five very common ways that our breastfeeding relationships get sabotaged. Today I’ll give you a list with quick descriptions, and slowly, over the next few months, I’ll make a post about each one in more detail.

  1. In the womb- Everything you do while pregnant affects you and your baby. Give yourself and baby the best start. Nutrition and exercise are crucial to growing strong, healthy, full term babies that are ready in all ways to transition from passively being fed through the umbilical cord to actively seeking out their own food and doing it efficiently.

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  1. Labor- Keep baby inside as long as possible. Unless there is a true medical necessity, the safest place for baby is in your womb until baby’s lungs trigger the start of labor. Some medications can affect breastfeeding. Sometimes medications and inductions are necessary. Work with your provider to find what is best for you. Know the risks and benefits. These are your very first parenting decisions.

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3. Immediate Postpartum- Get those babies skin to skin. They don’t need baths, they don’t need poked and prodded. They need you. Take advantage of that Golden Hour.

4. Postpartum- Take it easy. Rest, focus on your baby. Learn to co-sleep safely. (hint: co-sleeping is not the same as bed-sharing) Answer your babies cues right away. It’s a hard job, but it’s one you’ve waited 9 long months for. Embrace it. Feeding that baby is the only important thing in life right now. No one can do it for you. Every time baby gets something other than your breast milk in their body, your body is learning not to produce milk at that time. If baby is getting a bottle, even if it’s your breast milk, pumping tells your body to make more. Why give yourself the extra work? Skip the middle man for at least 6 weeks and teach your body about supply and demand. The dishes can wait. The laundry can wait. If they can’t, get a postpartum doula to help you out.

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5. Support- First, make sure you reach out for support ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE you can. Go to local breastfeeding support groups, La Leche League meetings, join Facebook groups. The more the better. Experience varies widely when it comes to breastfeeding and if you limit yourself to 5-20 others all looking for advice you’ll hear the same information over and over again and it keeps getting repeated; right or wrong. Make sure the people you’re getting support from have, or have attained the same goals as you. If the person giving you advice has only been breastfeeding for a month, they could be making the same mistakes you are. Have they taken classes to teach me about breastfeeding? How long did they breastfeed? Why? Was it a choice?

 We’ll discuss all of the sabotages and more in future posts. Until then, keep up the good work!
Part2, Part3, Part4, Part5

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