Four and a half months ago I delivered our fifth child. He is a fully-breastfed baby. I have nursed all of our children. Most of them until they were about a year old. We have had our fair share of difficulties as well as triumphs with each child. We have gone through thrush, reflux, a diet elimination for me as well as having to stop nursing altogether because of medications I had to take.
None of my children have been easy to breastfeed, but every one of them has been worth it. I have pumped with each of them and had more milk than I could dream, which is what fed my fourth child from about 10 months until she was a year old.
When I began breastfeeding my first child, I never dreamed it would be as difficult as some of the trails we faced. I struggled to nurse my oldest for months. He got thrush and looking back he likely had reflux, but we never diagnosed it. It was a fight to feed him, but we made it to 11 months when he got a double ear infection and no longer wanted to lay down to nurse.
However, I would have never made it through nursing any of my children without the help and support of my husband and my family. Having that support system in place was vital for me. I definitely needed constant encouragement to keep going on those tough days. Every breastfeeding mother deserves to have a support system and needs to hear certain things to encourage her.
8 Things Every Breastfeeding Mother Needs to Hear
- Congratulations. First of all, congratulate the mother on her new baby. If the baby is older, congratulate her on breastfeeding. It is a feat. Not everyone can breastfeed their baby, some for medical reasons that are not in their control. Breastfeeding is work and it can be hard work. So congratulate her.
- You’re doing a great job. Tell her she’s doing a great job. Now, this isn’t to put down those that don’t breastfeed, but it is to encourage those who do. It isn’t easy breastfeeding your baby. You never know what trials they have faced, so encourage them.
- Be proud of yourself. Every mother wants to hear someone is proud of them. They want to know that the choice they have made to breastfeed their baby is a choice they should celebrate.
- What a beautiful site! Again, not every mother can breastfeed, so they should be proud that they can, not hide in shame because it might embarrass someone. Now I am of the mindset that women need to be covered up in public, but that doesn’t mean women should get stared at whether covered up or not. It is a beautiful and natural site.
- Can I get you something to drink? If you’ve ever breastfed a baby you will know the unquenchable thirst you have while nursing. I can never seem to have enough water around while I’m breastfeeding. Thankfully I have 4 other children around to fetch me a drink, but many women might not. Offer to get them some water or just bring them a bottle of water! They will thank you for it.
- Can I bring you something to eat? If I’m not thirsty, I’m hungry! Breastfeeding burns so many calories and I get so hungry while feeding the babe. Offer to make them a snack or bring them something they can eat one-handed. You will be their favorite person forever…or at least until they nurse the next time.
- May I hold your baby so you can rest? If you know the nursing mother, offer to hold the baby so she can rest. This was particularly difficult with my first child, because I just wanted to hold him all the time and be super mom and do it all. However, I have since got over that and will gladly give my child up for a brief rest or time to go to the bathroom without a screaming baby.
- Trust your instincts! This is probably the most important thing you can tell a new mom – whether nursing or not. Childbirth is natural and God-given, which means He gave us mothers instincts. It may take a while to figure them out, but once you do…trust them. I have known when every one of my children has had an ear infection even before we visited the doctor. Don’t be afraid to be pushy when it comes to your children’s health.
Breastfeeding your child is natural, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. However, with the right support system and encouragement in place, you can succeed. Surround yourself with those who care about you and your child. If you’re looking for more information and encouragement, check out the Honest feeding page for more tips and advice.
What encouraged you during your breastfeeding years?