Breastfeeding, Because It’s Easy, Right?
As a new mom, I thought it would be so easy to breastfeed (it’s natural, I don’t get why it would be hard). Little did I know how many things can get in the way of breastfeeding, when everything we do now is fast-paced and no longer a sit and relax kind of environment. I learned quickly that newborns do not just latch to your breast (if your infant did that then consider yourself lucky).
Once my newborn and I got the hang of latch, milk supply issues (whether overproducing or under producing), engorgement, nipple soreness, blocked milk ducts, and you can’t forget the stigma of feeding your infant publicly – I had to go back to work and learn about the pumping world. Why would you breastfeed if it seems so difficult?
Well for one, it’s definitely cheaper than formula. Second, it’s better for your infant than formula (it is better for your baby’s development and immune health). Lastly, it is a very rewarding experience and so relaxing to be able to just sit quietly (even though some women do it on the go) and just enjoy the moment.
Needless to say, it is important to have support on a normal basis for breastfeeding issues that may occur, whether it is a professional lactation consultant, a friend, a family member, a class, a support group, or a combination of everything. Reliable support is so important and so valued by new mothers. The Office of Human Service Emergency Preparedness and Response just released an infographic on how disaster responders can deal with supporting breastfeeding mothers, but some of the federal support we have in the United States is available year round. Here is some information on a few of those programs:
- Healthy People 2020 is a science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of Americans and increasing breastfeeding rates
- Office on Women’s Health It’s Only Natural Campaign is a public education campaign that aims to raise awareness among African American women of the importance of & benefits associated with breastfeeding & provide helpful tips.
- The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding - In 2011, the U.S. Surgeon General released a report to outline the barriers that breastfeeding mothers face & ways communities can overcome these barriers. The report address workplace barriers & hospital support when babies are born.
- Children’s HHS Interagency Leadership on Disasters (CHILD) Working Group was established to identify & integrate activities related to children's needs in emergencies across all HHS inter- & intra- governmental agencies. The group develops recommendations for how HHS can improve the delivery of care to children who are impacted by disasters.
- Loving Support Makes Breastfeeding Work: A Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Campaign is a breastfeeding promotion campaign implemented at the State agency level. The goals of the campaign are to: encourage WIC participants to initiate and continue breastfeeding; increase referrals to WIC for breastfeeding support; increase general public acceptance and support of breastfeeding; and provide technical assistance to WIC state and local agency professionals in the promotion of breastfeeding.
Of course, last but not least there are great deals of nongovernmental resources that are essential resources to have for support efforts:
- United States Breastfeeding Committee
- La Leche League, International
- International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners
- American Academy of Pediatrics
LT. Tala Hooban works as a Preparedness and Community Resilience Team Lead in the Office of Human Service Emergency Preparedness and Response. OHSEPR provides leadership in human services preparedness, response, and recovery promoting resilience of individuals, families, and communities prior to, during, and after nationally declared disasters and public health emergencies.