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How to avoid boobytraps and meet your breastfeeding goals

Moms are pressured to breastfeed, but set-up to fail. If you wanted to breastfeeding but were not able, know that it’s NOT your fault! A lack of support and rampant ‘booby traps’ can make breastfeeding challenging. What are “booby traps?” Any of these, and so much more:

  • Stigma against breastfeeding in public.
  • Your mom didn’t breastfeed you, so thinks it’s strange and has no advice beyond “just formula feed.”
  • Free formula samples given to pregnant moms.
  • Breastfeeding education wasn’t a part of your prenatal class.
  • The hospital you plan to birth at has a high rate of interventions and cesareans, which can make early breastfeeding more difficult.
  • The doctor offers you formula samples, and measures your baby with Similac-branded measuring tapes.
  • Your hospital has a contract with one formula company. In exchange for using their formula (more often than necessary), they get it all for free.
  • Dad wants to feed the baby with a bottle so he can bond with baby.
  • Despite your baby getting enough food from you while you’re pregnant, you are doubting that you can make enough breast milk.

Whether it stems from our culture, health care system or formula marketing, these are all Booby Traps. By being aware of them, you can more easily avoid the traps. Here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t give your mailing address out when you’re pregnant (i.e. at Thyme or Motherhood Maternity), as they sell your address to formula companies. The formula companies know that getting this into your cupboard while you’re pregnant is perfect timing. Because when you’re struggling the first few days postpartum with breastfeeding, it’s right there, easy to use.
  2. If you do get free samples, get them out of your house and donate them to the food bank.
  3. Learn about breastfeeding while pregnant. Take a class or read a book, like Dr Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding.
  4. Know the resources available. The Calgary Breastfeeding Matters Group has a resource sheet for breastfeeding support in Calgary.
  5. Go to a La Leche League meeting while pregnant. They love to see pregnant moms, and just having this mother-to-mother support can be paramount to your success.
  6. Practice skin- to- skin at birth. Not only does it help regulate your baby’s temperature, but it promotes breastfeeding.
  7. Make sure your family knows your goals, and is willing to help you. They can take care of the housework and cooking to let you rest and nurse the baby, or make a lactation consultant appointment if you need help.
  8. Trust that you have enough milk for your baby. The more you nurse, the more milk you make! “Liquid gold” colostrum in small amounts is all you will produce for the first few days. This is is normal and it’s all your baby needs.

For more information on booby traps and what we can do about them, watch these documentaries:

Milk

The Milky Way

 

This blog post was originally posted at Milk + Confetti. Check out the site for more mom related stories and advice.

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