By Doraine Bailey
There’s nothing like breastfeeding to help your baby grow to his best potential and to help you stay healthy, too.
Breastfeeding is also a great way to build a connection with your baby.
Spending time feeding, snuggling and holding your baby lets your baby know you love her and will be there for her. A BBF – Breastfeeding Best Friend!
As you start your new life as a parent, you’ll also be adding new connections for help, information and support.
Friends, family and health care providers who can help you face-to-face are your most important resources.
In addition, the information available through the Internet and social media can be overwhelming.
Ask friends, family and your Lactation Consultant for recommendations before the baby comes!
Getting help when you need it is critical in reaching your breastfeeding goals.
Don’t give up or think you have to work it out on your own.
The Resource List (please see Page 7) gives you many people eager to provide help and support as you learn to breastfeed.
The following tips can also help you build new connections for breastfeeding information and support.
Link Up With People
There’s nothing like an extra pair of hands to help with the new baby!
During your pregnancy, connect with family members and personal friends, especially those who have successfully breastfed their own children or who will be genuinely helpful to you.
Build new networks of help with your health care providers, mother-to-mother groups, parenting groups in your faith communities and new friends through childbirth education and parenting classes.
Also, plan to attend prenatal breastfeeding classes in order to connect with your local International Board Certified Lactation Consultants.
Plug-In to the Net
Social media like Facebook and Twitter, as well as breastfeeding websites, forums, networks and blogs, and even text-messaging services, can help you find new connections for information and support.
There are also a number of apps, calendars, trackers and other utilities that can help you feel organized.
As you surf, be aware that not all apps, sites, and networks are supportive of breastfeeding.
Be critical. Note the sponsor of the content and be wary if it is a formula or baby food company or another group trying to “sell” their baby care ideas.
Late in your pregnancy, condense your resources into a manageable chunk.
Build smaller groups or distribution lists for your social media pages or mobile phone.
Include only the most important and key people to keep in the loop.
Once the baby comes, you’ll have less time to follow everyone else’s news.
Hibernate When the Baby Comes
Your No. 1 new connection is your baby!
Plan to snuggle and breastfeed your baby often, especially in the early weeks.
Balance out that connection with sleep and meals for yourself.
Parenting is a new life, and some of your old friends, fans, and networks may have to wait a bit longer for status updates.
Focus on staying connected to your key helpers — lactation consultant, supportive friends and family and medical care.
Good luck. parenting can be an amazing adventure.
Doraine Bailey, MA, IBCLC, is the Breastfeeding Support Services Program Coordinator at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. Contact her at 288-2348 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.