Smiling like Sunshine: 5 Essential Needs of a Breastfeeding Mother

Monday, 20 June 2011

5 Essential Needs of a Breastfeeding Mother

Everyone knows that breast milk provides the optimum nutrition for human babies. It is best to exclusively breastfeed babies for the first 6 months of their lives ( a little bit longer if baby is not ready for solids yet)
I think everyone knows this by heart, yet the reality is different. Some have a rough start, some don't have enough suppor where as some people are misinformed. Eventually it seems right to give up breastfeeding for some.
The proportion of babies breastfed at birth in the UK is seven per cent.
Only 35 per cent of UK babies are being exclusively breastfed at one week, 21 per cent at six weeks, 7 per cent at four months and 3 per cent at five months. (source: UNICEF UK)
There is a lot to be done to increase these numbers.
As some of you may or may not know, I am a mother who has been breastfeeding for the last 4.5 years. I tandem feed my 4.5 year old and 18 month old.
For this post, I decided to write about how to get started. What does a breastfeeding mother/mum-to-be need during the early weeks?

  • Information: Reading and  educating yourself during pregnancy is a great start. Forget all about the people around you who couldn't/wouldn't breastfeed.This list includes some very useful books about breastfeeding: Top 10 Books for a Natural Mum
  • Supportive people: A breastfeeding mum needs supportive people around herself. Supportive people who trusts the magic of breast milk and does not offer to give baby formula if baby has been fussy. A supportive partner is also very important so, while educating yoursef,  talk to your partner about breastfeeding and how s/he can help.
  • Determination and perseverance: Being determined to breastfeed is at utmost importance.  Sometimes you will feel yourself alone along the way. You might be exhausted and think about giving up. If needed, ask for help from breastfeeding friends, lactation consultants.
  •  Forget about the baby experts who suggest baby needs an hourly routine to be fed. Breastfeeding on demand is essential to establish a good supply. It is not easy but we mums can survive the lack of sleep if we can rest/sleep when baby sleeps.
  • A breastfeeding mother needs nutritous food, lots of water, comfortable pillows and peace during the early weeks. Ask for help for the house work from family and friends. If this is not an option, consider hiring a postnatal doula or a mother's helper.  
  • You don't need a dummy and  a bottle of formula just in case. Believe in the power of your boobs!
Some mothers decide to wean around 6 months when baby starts solids whereas some mothers decide to carry on until the baby/child outgrows the need. (This is called child-led weaning) Think about how your life will be when you wean the baby and the benefits of breastfeeding a toddler. Only you know what works best for your family.

Anything else you would like to add to my list?
  • I will be back with a giveaway tomorrow. Watch this space! 
Image source:Breastfeeding mums/Christoph Wetzel


    1. Here in Australia - well at least amongst the people I know and I don't think we're unusual - breastfeeding is *much* more common than in the UK (I'd say 90% of the mothers I know breastfed for more than 4 months, most of them to 9/10 months or so) - is it just because midwives/child health nurses etc promote it so much here? I've heard from several friends that the rates are so low in the UK. I've often wondered why!

    2. Amanda, thanks for your comment.The health visitors/nurses that I have come across have been very pro-BFing.I think some people think formula is not so bad, although it is a completely processed food.Some find it easier not to BF. I have never given my babies bottles but I think that would have been much more difficult, carrying bottles, preparing them, sterilising them, getting up in thee middle of the night to prepare it etc etc. whereas breast milk is always there, ready to drink :)

    3. These needs are so important. Thank you for highlighting them! I was one who had a rocky start, and had it not been for my reading during pregnancy, I think I would have given up. Cliche as it sounds, knowledge truly is power!

    4. Melissa,thank you. You are so right, knowledge is power.

    5. Great post - as you say, knowledge is power and supporting yourself with the right people is a key to succeeding

    6. Thanks Hannah,I'm glad you like it :)

    7. I believe in the power of my boobs! My daughter is 11 months and is still nursing like a champ!! love it!

    8. I really think breastmilk is pure mama magic! I can't imagine having not breastfed Baby. He's still going strong at 15 months.

      Thanks for linking up at Green & Natural Mamas Thursday again!


    Thank you so much for taking your time and leaving a comment!