Four ways to support a breastfeeding mom


Breastfeeding may seem like it only involves mom and baby, but moms who succeed at breastfeeding agree: Everyone’s support is important! Breastfeeding has proven health benefits for moms and babies, and breast milk is the most complete source of nutrition for baby’s first year and beyond.

During World Breastfeeding Week, Barnes-Jewish Hospital would like to share some simple ways family members and friends of breastfeeding moms can offer support.

1. Tell mom you support her choice to breastfeed.

Many moms—especially first-time moms—may be nervous about the many important decisions they must make as new parents. Your positive words and encouragement will mean a lot to her if she is unsure about breastfeeding. Saying something as simple as “You’re doing great!” can help her stay positive.

2. Help her focus on breastfeeding.

New babies bring a lot of joy to the home—and a lot of work. If you can do the dishes, tidy up the nursery or make or deliver a meal, mom can relax a little more and focus on building the breastfeeding relationship with her baby.

3. Help her ask for help if she needs it.

Breastfeeding is a very natural way to feed a baby, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Women can breastfeed successfully with practice, patience and support. If your loved one is having trouble, encourage her to reach out to one of the many local and national resources that support breastfeeding mothers, such as La Leche League, which has a chapter in St. Louis. Additionally, Barnes-Jewish will launch a breastfeeding support group this October.

4. Respect her choice.

If you are helping mom by watching the baby while she rests or runs an errand, respect her choice to breastfeed by returning baby to mom for feeding rather than reaching for a bottle. Although you may be trying to give the new mom a break by feeding her baby with a bottle, it is important for baby to become familiar with feeding from the breast before bottles are introduced (unless otherwise needed for medical reasons).

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Category: Women & Infants

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Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center is the largest hospital in Missouri and the largest private employer in the St. Louis region. An affiliated teaching hospital of Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital has a 1,800 member medical staff with many who are recognized as "Best Doctors in America." They are supported by residents, interns and fellows, in addition to nurses, technicians and other health-care professionals.

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