This year’s slogan for World Breastfeeding Week is “Foundation of Life”. Many women struggle with breastfeeding and there is an air of taboo, and myths, surrounding breastfeeding that need to be dispelled if we are to promote breastfeeding as the foundation of lifelong good health for babies and mothers.
Research shows that up to 60% of women who breastfeed stop earlier than they want to. The reasons for this are complex, and often due to mothers misunderstanding the help and support healthcare professionals (HCPs) can offer. Studies also show that women who ask for advice, or have direct access to healthcare professionals, are more likely to continue to breastfeed for longer.
A mother’s natural right
Breastfeeding is a convenient way of feeding your little one whether you are at home or out and about. It is hygienic and the most natural and healthy way for your baby to feed. You can feel proud to be part of the growing number of mothers who are making breastfeeding more visible and acceptable. After all, it’s an essential part of your baby’s day.
What’s more, it’s getting easier to find somewhere a little more private to breastfeed in public. Many shopping centres, department stores, baby shops and supermarkets have special feeding rooms where you can breastfeed and change your baby’s nappy.
In most cases, to get over a fear and gain confidence, you need to practice. The same applies to breastfeeding. Try feeding in different positions and with or without pillows. Try different types of clothing that can be easily unbuttoned, or a nursing top. When you’re ready to try breastfeeding in public, get yourself settled into a comfortable chair with good support. If you think you’re going to feel self-conscious, sit with your back to the majority of people in the restaurant or café, or try to find a quieter place. A scarf or muslin cloth can help you feed more discreetly, too. Just slip it over any bare areas once your baby has latched on.
It’s all about comfort and confidence
A good tip is to have a drink of water on hand and try and avoid sitting too near to a heat source having your baby close will already make you both feel warm. Here are some additional tips to help you nurse with comfort and confidence when you’re not at home:
- Make sure you’re dressed with breastfeeding options in mind – ensure your clothing allows you to lift it up, pull it to the side easily or has a hidden flap that gives your baby easy access and offers you some privacy.
- It’s all about angles – before you leave the house, watch the breastfeeding process in the mirror to see how much exposure you get and practice until you find an angle that works best.
- Use a blanket or shawl to cover your shoulders. It will drape over your baby’s head for extra privacy.
- Scout out places to nurse – somewhere quiet and comfortable. Also check for special nursing rooms before you need them. It’s important that both you and your baby are calm as this will make for a better breastfeeding experience for both of you.
- While dealing with stares can make public breastfeeding uncomfortable, know that you are not breaking the law. You have every right to breastfeed your little one anywhere you feel comfortable.
- Buy a nursing carrier – once your little one is able to hold her head up, consider buying a nursing carrier, which will allow you to feed without it being obvious to onlookers.
Breastfeeding is proven to provide many health benefits. In fact, benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond basic nutrition, so don’t let hearsay, myths and taboo stand in the way of laying a solid foundation of growth for your little one. Do what you know is best for you and your baby to ensure she grows up big and strong.
*Article by By Philips Mother and Child
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.