It’s that time of the year when we look back at the past year that has flown by and see if we accomplished the goals or resolutions we set out for ourselves. This year I’m going to ask all of you who are pregnant or breastfeeding to perhaps set a different type of resolution, “Breastfeeding Resolutions”. Here are ten to get you started:
1) If you are pregnant, plan on breastfeeding your baby. I often hear the words “I’m going to try and breastfeed”. When I hear this I think of the words that Yoda said, “Do or do not, there is no try.” However, with that being said many moms will need support to meet their breastfeeding goals. The prenatal period is the perfect time to assemble your breastfeeding support team:
- I recommend moms attend at least one La Leche League meeting while pregnant. La Leche League is an international mother to mother support network with Groups on bases worldwide. You can find a meeting close to you by clicking on this link: http://www.llli.org/webindex.html
- Talk to women you know who have breastfed or are currently breastfeeding.
- Read some books on breastfeeding. I would be remiss not to mention my book written especially for military mothers, “Breastfeeding in Combat Boots: A Survival Guide to Successful Breastfeeding While Serving in the Military“. There are many more excellent books on breastfeeding that can be found on my Books page.
- The internet is full of breastfeeding information. Some sites have evidence-based information and others do not. You can check out a whole list of useful breastfeeding web pages on my Websites page. If you find others that you like, post them in the comments section.
- Enroll in prenatal breastfeeding classes, especially one that has an entire class devoted to breastfeeding and working. You can find breastfeeding classes through your military hospital or clinic, New Parent Support Program/Team, or local breastfeeding coalition.
- Finally, if you have a history of any medical conditions (diabetes, PCOS, infertility, prior breast or chest surgeries, etc.) a prenatal breastfeeding consultation with an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) is recommended. Most military hospitals have IBCLC’s on staff or you can check out ILCA’s Find-a-Lactation-Consultant for one near you that does home visits.
2) Say something supportive to a woman you see pumping at work or breastfeeding at the CDC. This can be hard to do, but can really make you and the recipient feel good. You can say “I’m really happy to see you nursing here,” or “Thanks for nursing” or even “I think you’re a great mom for pumping and providing your milk to your baby.” Any other suggestions? Write them in the comments section.
3) Thank someone who is/was an important source of support to you during breastfeeding. This could be a friend, a co-worker, your mom, your husband or partner, a lactation consultant, your nurse or doctor.
4) Help a woman who is having breastfeeding difficulty. You can do this by helping her solve a breastfeeding problem yourself, referring her to a source of expert help (IBCLC or LLL Leader), or just by listening to her concerns. Links to various types of breastfeeding help can be found in the Resources section of this website.
5) Become a Peer Supporter at your base or post. Check out the Mom2Mom Breastfeeding Peer Support Program created by the Army (scroll down the page for info) or LLLI. If you are breastfeeding or have breastfed for a minimum of 6 months and want to help other breastfeeding moms consider providing peer support. If you are not up that commitment, consider starting an Active Duty Breastfeeding Support Group at your base or post.
6) Talk to at least one pregnant woman, or a woman who has not had children yet, at your workplace about the benefits of breastfeeding. Think about co-workers, friends and family members with whom you can share your experience. For mothers in the military this is especially important since many will not ever *see* another AD military mom breastfeeding. You’d be surprised how many military moms want to breastfeed, but don’t think it is possible while serving. You can change that perception so that they all can become supportive of your efforts to provide breastmilk for your child.
7) Learn what the policies are in your branch of the military regarding breastfeeding, pumping at work, uniform issues and more. Take care of this one out right now by clicking here!
8) Consider setting up a lactation room at your command. It isn’t as difficult as you might think and you don’t need to be a high ranking officer either. Take a look at this page for ideas to make a lactation room a reality at your command. When the room is set-up print out the new International Symbol for Breastfeeding –available here – and post it (along with a bulletin board full of breastfeeding information).
9) If you have breastfed, take some of the money you saved by not buying formula and buy or do something for yourself to celebrate your success! I’m thinking a nice pedicure or a trip to Starbucks is in order. Any other ideas? Post in the comments section.
10) Make a donation of any size to an organization that promotes breastfeeding. Some suggestions are Best for Babes, donor milk banks, La Leche League, or your local or state breastfeeding coalition. I’ll take this moment to ask that you consider also making a donation to Breastfeeding in Combat Boots (see the Donate button in the sidebar) so that I can continue to help military mothers find the information and support that they need.
Have another resolution I missed? Post it in the comments section.
Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year 2013!
Robyn Roche-Paull, IBCLC
Author & Founder ~ Breastfeeding in Combat Boots