7 months on now, I’m still breastfeeding my little one and enjoying it. When I stopped breastfeeding Miss 4, I was actually surprised to find that I did miss it a lot. The nestling, the cuddling, the bonding.
I was determined to breastfeed for as long as I could this time, even if it means just a ‘comfort’ feed once or twice a day. Breastfeeding can be so, so hard though. So many mums are overwhelmed, sleep-deprived and could definitely do with some encouragement, especially from loved ones around them.
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On top of the almost-daily zombie mode due to a lack of sleep, mothers can also feel pressured to continue breastfeeding even if it might not be the best solution for their situation (Fed is best, people. No one should judge anyone.)
New mothers can also find breastfeeding daunting which is why encouragement from a significant other, parent or friend could make a huge difference to their attitude towards breastfeeding. This post is not meant to criticize mothers who don’t breastfeed.
Some moms can’t breastfeed, some mums choose not to – no one should judge or feel judged. If you have a breastfeeding mum in your life, here are 10 ways to encourage her:
Table of Content
- 1 Look After Her Needs
- 2 Give Her Enough Food
- 3 Make Sure Her Survival Kit Is Ready
- 4 Give Her A Pat On The Back
- 5 Assure Her That Breastfeeding Is Tough At First
- 6 Tell Her To Trust Her Body
- 7 Remind Her To Hang In There
- 8 Give Her Kind Words About Her Decision To Breastfeed
- 9 Show Your Appreciation
Look After Her Needs
Breastfeeding mothers spend most of their time making sure that the needs of their babies are met that they forget about their own needs. (There’s so much to do – like making sure there’s always breastmilk storage bags) As a partner, parent or friend, take the initiative to look after her needs. Would she like a drink? Would a cushion under her arm help her feel more comfortable? It doesn’t have to be grand, the simple act of caring and asking can help a breastfeeding mum feel at ease.
Give Her Enough Food
Did you know that breastfeeding mothers are required to eat 500 calories more each day? This is because breastfeeding a baby can be exhausting and of course, nutrient-depleting (I start losing a whole lot of hair in the months that I breastfeed). Some mums rely on biscuits and crisps as fuel while they run around doing things for the baby. You can offer to make them a healthy meal or a high-protein salad. Heat up a meal they have previously prepared and kept in the freezer.
Make Sure Her Survival Kit Is Ready
After the feed where baby goes to sleep, it can sometimes feel absolutely liberating! Baby sleep/nap times are the bomb. This is probably the only time mothers feel as if they have their freedom and boy does every minute count because these little ones can certainly wake up any minute.
This is why it is important that once she does get to relax, all her favourite forms of entertainment – be it a book, the remote control or her mobile phone – are readily available for these short-lived moments of freedom. If you’re a partner who hogs the remote, consider pampering her by sacrificing it!
Give Her A Pat On The Back
Some mothers don’t know what a great job they are doing with their babies because of the urgency with which they need to complete tasks. Having someone reassuring them and acknowledging the things they have done is important for them to feel accomplished.
Assure Her That Breastfeeding Is Tough At First
A first time mother will find it challenging to breastfeed her newborn child. But that’s OK. You should assure your partner, parent or friend that breastfeeding may seem like a battle but that eventually they will learn how to work their way around sore nipples and latch problems. It is important that you let them know this happens to every mother and that it gets better to boost their confidence in breastfeeding.
Tell Her To Trust Her Body
One of the most common worries of breastfeeding mothers is that they might not produce enough milk for their baby. This worry and anxiety won’t help them at all, considering the already tired state they are in. Encourage her by telling her to trust her body to produce enough milk for baby. Take an extra step even and help to search for information to teach her how to tell if baby’s getting enough milk or if she’s doing it right etc.
Remind Her To Hang In There
Breastfeeding definitely has its ups and downs. But as is everything in life, her breastfeeding problems are only temporary and things will get better. Her nipples will no longer get sore, the ducts will eventually unblock and she will get more hours of sleep at night. Encourage her to hang in there and this will soon pass!
Give Her Kind Words About Her Decision To Breastfeed
Not all mothers opt to breastfeed their babies. Some mothers do. Some mothers are not open to breastfeeding especially in public. Whatever the case, everyone’s decision should be respected. Trust me, I have even been told by a couple of older ladies that my baby, at 7 months old, is too old to be breastfed!
According to them, breastfeeding is more for really young babies. Well, whatever the case! Offer a mum kind words if she decides to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding is said to be a great source of nutrients and antibodies for babies. Antibodies are important because they help defend the baby’s body from germs and infections. Additionally, assure the mother that breastfeeding is also a form of bonding with her child. As a partner, you can help to encourage her by showing/telling her how proud you are of her decision to breastfeed.
Offer Shoulder Rubs
Hours of constantly carrying a baby in your arms and sitting upright can lead to sore backs and shoulders. A little rub of the pressure points on the mother’s shoulders will definitely ease the pain. Aside from that, it will also help in increasing the production of breastmilk. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!
Show Your Appreciation
Breastfeeding can be so hard. I remember crying from sore, bleeding nipples and trying to comfort a screaming baby. It tore me inside. It took a lot from me to grit my teeth and keep going as personally, I was determined to breastfeed. As a partner, you can encourage a breastfeeding mum by telling her “thank you for not giving up”. It can mean a lot.
If you are/were a breastfeeding mum, share what other ways you would have liked to be encouraged!