How to support your breastfeeding loved ones
While the infant formula shortage no longer dominates the headlines, feeding a baby continues to pose hardships for many families. Breastfeeding gives a baby the best nutrition for a great start in life. It helps a baby grow and develop, feel safe and secure, and have better health. If you know an expecting mom, Lorain County Public Health (LCPH) has some tips on how you can help her on her breastfeeding journey.
First, learn about breastfeeding. Know some benefits of breastfeeding - it reduces the risk of SIDS, obesity, asthma, dental issues, and other health problems for the baby. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of anxiety, depression, heart attack, stroke, and breast and ovarian cancers for mom. Also, learn about some common breastfeeding challenges, like sore nipples, low milk supply and cluster feedings. Knowing about common challenges can enable you to help a mom get the support she needs.
One great source of breastfeeding support is Lorain County WIC, a supplemental nutrition program that provides food, advice from a dietitian and breastfeeding expertise to eligible families. Anyone can check eligibility for WIC by calling 440-323-7320. Get more information about Lorain County WIC at LorainCountyHealth.com/wic.
Second, encourage mom and defend her choice to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is a journey with ups and downs. Especially during those first few days and weeks, it’s common to face some challenges and bumps in the road. Encourage mom to focus on setting small, hour-by-hour, day-by-day goals. Also, defend mom's choice to breastfeed. Not everyone will understand her decision to breastfeed. You can be the first line of defense against negative comments and anyone who tries to discourage her from breastfeeding.
Third, offer help. Caring for and feeding a baby around the clock can be tiring. Ask mom how you can help. Perhaps you can run errands, cook, clean, or do laundry so that mom only has to focus on caring for the baby. Maybe help with baby care and bathe, change, dress, burp and soothe the baby. Or, ask mom if she’d like you to help to limit visitors so she can get plenty of rest. Perhaps make mom a healthy snack, like a smoothie - see the recipe below!
As an important person in a new baby’s life, you can help a mom reach her breastfeeding goals. Your support and encouragement make a big difference! Visit wicbreastfeeding.fns.usda.gov for more breastfeeding resources.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Smoothie
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 whole banana
1/2 cup milk, any kind
1 tsp chia seeds, optional
Add all of the ingredients to a blender. Blend for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy and lump free. Pour into a glass and garnish with banana slices and oats if desired. Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
Adapted from chefsavvy.com