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Are you afraid to Exclusively Breastfeed?


(image from National Geographic)

As a professional, educating parents and their families about the importance of breastfeeding and human milk for human infants is a priority and a professional responsibility.

It is not about fear or guilt.

It is inappropriate for any of us to imply directly or indirectly to any parent trying to make feeding choices that breastfeeding and formula feeding are equal.

They are not. Human milk is the superior species-specific food for Human infants. The recommended feeding hierarchy from the experts (AAP,CDC, WHO) is Breastfeeding, expressed milk from baby’s birth giving parent, expressed donor milk then properly prepared infant formula.It is also important for health care providers to carefully evaluate each parent baby dyad for feeding adequacy no matter the choice.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding are NOT Overstated as articles currently circling social media would like you to think……

However– There are many parents confused, afraid or unsure. Some parents have developed fear for exclusive breastfeeding due to tragic stories circulating the internet. Those stories are horrible and may not tell the WHOLE story about what happened with that baby. That is important. These tragic stories are heart wrenching. I do not like how the stories are being sensationalized or exploitive of the families. Educate yourselves to learn how to know your baby is getting enough milk always! Learn the babies signals EARLY and listen to the baby. Insist on adequate help and if your baby needs additional milk for some reason of another, GET HELP! Feed your baby. But don’t rule out exclusive breastfeeding. It is the biological norm.We want you to succeed. we want to provide good support. Contact an IBCLC. Find out reasons that may put you at risk for needing additional help. Be informed.

Please do not feel afraid. Please don’t be feeling guilty over your choices. Educate yourself and make feeding choices which are right for you.

I am trying to encourage moms to make informed educated feeding choices and then not feel guilt about their decisions.

REMEMBER – It doesn’t have to be all or nothing! 

It is the recommendation for exclusive breastfeeding during an infants first 6 months. If that doesn’t seem feasible to you, then your baby can still benefit from however much or however long you can breastfeed of provide breastmilk. I think that in today’s world, we give a mother all this education about what she should do and then we don’t have all the right support systems in place to really help her!

 Here’s what I have found

  • Today’s parent is connected to the internet, information and friends by phone, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram or YouTube and “checks in” at least 10 or more times per day.
  • The education process to a lot of parents needs to be in small doses, sensitive to her unique learning abilities, her cultural beliefs and practices and most importantly, her choices and individual breastfeeding goals.
  • With that in mind, try to provide her with the information she needs to make her decision.
  • Never overestimate a parent’s desire to breastfeed her infant.
  • Never underestimate a parent’s desire to breastfeed her infant.
  • Listen to the parent; help them define their true desires and goals.
  • Many times, the first question they ask may not be what they really wants to ask.
  • The parent’s individual breastfeeding goals, how they defines them, how important they are to them and how they relate them to their actual breastfeeding experience all help define how they measures success.
  • Provide professional support to meet these goals.
  • Support the parent, support the parent, and support the parent.

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