Getting the family on board for the breastfeeding decision is very advantageous for the breastfeeding mom and helps her to breastfeed her baby for a more extended period more likely exclusively. Breastfeeding is no longer considered a mothers domain, close support from her partner, family, healthcare professionals and workplace enable a mother to initiate and sustain breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding ensures optimal health, survival, nutrition and development of the infant. WHO recommends initiating breastfeeding within one hour of birth and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of infants age
It is said that the birth of a baby gives birth to a mother. A woman needs to feel supported and nurtured to support and nurture the little one and her family.
Advantages of family and partner support:
It takes a village to care for a mother and baby. That means that behind every healthy mom and baby is a team of people she loves and has been there for her. In the first few days feeding the baby occupies the majority of a mothers time rendering seldom for herself and household chores. A shift in the daily routine that a woman would commonly do will change as her body is recovering from delivery and an adjusting habit is forming with the little one. Her partner along with the family could help her with baby care like changing diapers, swaddling, burping the baby, bathing and massaging the baby, calming the crying baby and supporting her with kind and compassionate words. A carrying family supports her in the journey of breastfeeding with the correct information as well as understanding. Helping around the house reduces the stress of the mother and gives some time to rest.
To get the family on board with your feeding decision involving them as well as having an open discussion on a few topics antenatally helps. Patiently explaining healthy habits beneficial to both mother and baby is essential. Taking the family to the doctor visits during pregnancy allows them to understand the healthcare, which will be provided and the care that is expected from the family. They also get a medium to went out of their worries or apprehensions regarding the birth of a new being.
Involving the elder infant is also essential when it comes to the feeding decision. Talk to the elder infant regarding the new baby positively. Allow the elder infant to be present around while breastfeeding and be present with the newborn with supervision. Older infants love being a part of the new care routine, so take advantage of that.
A practical tip would be not expecting to get the whole parenthood and feeding expertise. Breastfeeding takes time and patience to master, just like any other skill.
Enjoy every experience with your newborn cause the moments cannot be rewound.
Dr. Deanne Misquita
IBCLC Lactation consultant