Bravado Breastfeeding Information Council has identified that 30% of breastfeeding moms are "first generation" breastfeeders, meaning that their own moms did not breastfeed them. The research revealed that this group of moms faces unique challenges and is more likely to feel frustrated, particularly in the early days. What to do if you are a part of this group? Reach out. Support is there for you! With a little strategy and planning, you and your baby will have a great breastfeeding experience.
We asked Lisa Spiegel of the BBIC advisory board to share some insight from her own practice, and some practical advice for first generation breastfeeding moms on what to look for from friends.
Q: What are some of the biggest problems that first generation breastfeeding moms typically face?
A: First generation moms are likely to suffer from a lack of confidence due to their unfamiliarity with the process. As a result they are likely to focus on the "product" of breastfeeding rather than the process. They may see things as black and white with very high stakes attached to their perceived success or failure at breastfeeding exclusively. It's all too easy for them to focus on the numbers - how much, how often. It is harder for first generation breastfeeding moms to trust their bodies and trust their babies.
Q: What are some things first generation moms can do to plan ahead and make the first few weeks of breastfeeding easier?
A: Clear the decks! Get rid of expectations and lessen your social obligations. Try to spend the first month just getting in sync with your baby. Spend as much time as possible at home with your baby, your partner and/or a trusted friend who can give you good advice. Focus on the process, the bonding and the togetherness. Try to avoid pumping and measuring for the first two weeks if you can. And don't beat yourself up if you do need to supplement or give a bottle. It's not the end of the world. You are still a success! Just follow your baby's lead and feed them when they are hungry.
Q: What are the best resources for first generation breastfeeding moms to turn to, if they face a challenge and need help?
A: The very best thing you can do is find a friend or acquaintance whom you trust, who can coach you. They don't have to be a breastfeeding specialist or expert. Find one woman who you trust, who has been successful at breastfeeding. Too much information is not always a good thing. Pick one, maybe two books, but don't drive yourself crazy reading everything in print and online on the topic of breastfeeding. The best resource is a kind and knowledgeable friend who can give you their time and support.
· Slow down and stay home, get in sync with your baby.
· Focus on the process and not the product of breastfeeding. Don't get too caught up with the clock or measuring your output.
· Try to avoid information overload, trust your body and your baby.
· Let go of high stakes notions. Challenges are common. Even if things don't always go perfectly, you will still be able to go on and successfully breastfeed.
· Find a friend or acquaintance with breastfeeding experience, who you trust, who can spend some time with you in the early days.
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Lisa Spiegel is co founder of Soho Parenting in New York City. Her Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology coupled with her experience as a mother inspired the creation of the her own parent counseling service more than two decades ago.
This information is courtesy of Bravado Designs, the brand synonymous with nursing women and their success for eighteen years. For more information about first generation moms and breastfeeding as well as the findings of additional BBIC studies, please visit the Bravado Breastfeeding Information Council.