Breastfeeding is really a team sport. It takes the support of those around you in order to be successful. But what do you do when those around you aren't supportive?
This popped up all over my Facebook feed this past weekend. While funny, I also feel so bad for this mom.
Thankfully, my family was supportive of my breastfeeding goals. However, that isn't the case for everyone. I have heard so much from other moms about how their family doesn't support them when it comes to breastfeeding. Sometimes, their intentions are good but they are misinformed about how breastfeeding works. I've heard from mothers whose parents want to give the baby a bottle in the first few days/weeks to give mom a break or to spend more time with their new grandchild, not realizing how important it is for baby to spend time bonding with mom and at the breast. Or husbands who think it would just be easier on everyone to switch to formula when mom is struggling with breastfeeding.
It's not that anyone necessarily means to hinder a new mom's breastfeeding goals, but if you don't make it clear how important it is to you, then people may try to derail what you are working towards.
Here are a few tips if you are dealing with less than supportive family members:
- Talk to them before the baby is born if you can about exactly what your goals in terms of breastfeeding are
- Educate yourself on the science and facts of breastfeeding and share it with your family or encourage them to read up about it (see some great breastfeeding resources).
- If they are ultimately not supportive, tell them that you are the baby's mother and it is your choice. If they don't support you, they can either stay quiet about it or not be around you or the baby, case closed.
- Find friends who DO support breastfeeding. La Leche League is a great place for this! You can even bring your friends or family to meetings and get some others to enlighten them.
- Be strong. YOU are best source of knowing what's best for YOUR baby. Trust your instincts.
As always mamas, I'm here if you need an ear to listen. I know it must be so hard. Breastfeeding can seem impossible even with support, so you need to find it somewhere whether it be online or through a local support group. Find your breastfeeding village mamas!