As a lactation consultant, I talk to moms everyday about the ‘villages’ they have formed and found around their breastfeeding journey. This is a constant theme I hear when asking a new mom about what was most helpful in finding support and encouragement.
August is National Breastfeeding Month, which serves as an important reminder of the health benefits of breastfeeding. Breast milk is a natural source of nutrition and provides the healthiest start for an infant, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months (although any amount of time you breastfeed is beneficial) and say it’s an investment in the short- and long-term health of your baby, as opposed to just a lifestyle choice.
READ MORE: Six ways to support a new mom
A support system is key to meeting your personal breastfeeding goals. Here are some of the ways and places you can connect with other moms:
- Find support during the three most important phases. During your pregnancy, take a breastfeeding class in person or online. After giving birth, talk with a board certified lactation consultant. In the early weeks after birth, visit a support group. Connecting with care during all three of these time periods will have a huge impact on your wellbeing and success.
- Get out and about while nursing! Public breastfeeding is now legal in all 50 states. You can meet friends in the same places you would normally.
- Talk to a friend who has children. Ask them what they wish they knew before they started breastfeeding and what helped them stay motivated.
- If you will be pumping at work, talk to your co-workers and your boss about your plans and goals for keeping up with breastfeeding. Their understanding will make a big difference during the transition.
- Involve your partner, a family member or someone else you feel close to. Ask them to join you for a class or support group. The more support you have the more successful your journey will be.
- Check out Facebook! There are a number of online communities locally, nationally and even globally where you can ask questions and connect with other moms (even during those middle-of-the-night feedings). Find a group that’s a good fit for you.