It’s been well more than a year since I’ve been a breastfeeding mom, but I have to admit that I will always hold a soft spot in my heart for those special times with my babies.
At the same time, breastfeeding is often a most challenging and depleting time. I suppose some people take to it naturally and have no issues, but I think a greater share of us moms struggle in silence.
When I was a new mom five years ago, statistics showed that less than 25% of moms in the United States breastfed, and fewer still breastfed past six months. Breastfeeding in America has made some strides the past few years, but I still think our culture misunderstands and fails to support breastfeeding, this important part of motherhood for so many women.
Since the first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week, even though I’m not personally participating, I wanted to share a post to give back a little to moms at this particular stage of motherhood.
How to give to a breastfeeding mom
Offer your help, and be specific. Tell a mom you’d like to help out, whether with a meal, watching the kids, or cleaning the house. Then follow your offer up immediately with a time that you can come over and ask if it’s convenient for her. As a new mom, I often heard, “Ask me to help any time!” offers, but frankly, I would have felt I was imposing to actually ask for help.
Bring food! Breastfeeding takes a lot out of a woman’s body. Offer to bring a meal by, or bake her up some lactation cookies or other healthy snacks. Always ask if there are ingredients she can’t have as breastfeeding moms may often be on special diets due to their baby’s sensitivities or lactation issues.
Make her feel pretty. Honestly, although breastfeeding moments can be among the most beautiful you’ll share with your baby, sometimes the constant feeding, lack of sleep, and often unflattering fashions can make a mom feel fuddy-duddy! Give her some beauty sleep or time to take a shower by watching the baby and other children for a few hours. Or how about a pretty gift from one of these more fashion-forward nursing wear clothing companies!
Listen without advising (too much). Deciding how much help to get or how long to keep trying to breastfeed through difficulties is a very personal decision. Every mom has her own breastfeeding story and struggles, and I love sharing my experiences and hearing other moms share theirs. There are a lot of breastfeeding myths out there – the best thing you could do is support the mom in seeing a medical professional if she is having pain or difficulties. What worked for you may not work for them. And too much “you should do this or that” can get stressful and wearying to a new mom. Just be tactful and offer a listening ear.
More resources for breastfeeding moms
- Breastfeeding tea supports lactation
- Where our culture fails breastfeeding moms
- Breastfeeding: What I wish I had known
- Do you know about tongue-tie and breastfeeding babies?
- Cloth diapers and breastfeeding babies
What were your experiences breastfeeding? What other ways would you suggest to give to a breastfeeding mom?
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Mompact, a supportive community for mom entrepreneurs, believes giving should happen year round, not just at Christmas. They’ve create the Summer Spirit of Giving event (#SSGiving) where you can register a friend, preschool, or yourself for a gift off the “virtual tree!”
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This post is sponsored by Mompact and I was compensated for sharing this message. All opinions are my own.