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May 29, 2018

Turn 3 Breastfeeding NO’s into 3 Breastfeeding YES's!

The joy of satisfying your breastfeeding baby’s needs and wants is a reward worth many sacrifices but are there really so many to be made?  Here a few old ideas that are simply not true and may be limiting your enjoyment.  Let’s lose them.

1. No, I can’t leave the house – what if my baby needs to eat?

2. No, I can’t breastfeed in public – what if someone sees my breast? Or my nipple???

3. No, I must eat a perfect diet – what if I want a bacon cheeseburger?

1.  YES  You can leave the house...Your baby can eat anywhere that your breasts are. If you feel well and have medical clearance, take your baby and your breasts out for a short walk. You will see that pushing a stroller or tying your baby to your chest and showing her the neighborhood is good medicine for both of you. If you head out of the house after her belly (as well as yours) is full, you will have at least an hour or perhaps 4 until she will be hungry again. Strolling is sleep inducing for your baby and invigorating for you. You need nothing more than a lightweight tote to hold your keys, phone and a water bottle. Want to travel a little further from home? Bring a diaper change, some wipes and a change of baby clothes in the event of a messy diaper. Find a park bench in a garden and take it all in.  The sounds of children happily playing in a playground or the scent of blooming flowers surrounding you will surely increase your happiness level and carry you through the rest of the day. You are able to feed your baby if she needs to eat wherever you are. That’s the beauty of breastfeeding. Remember, stay close at first, you need to preserve enough energy for the trip back home.

2. YES.   You can breastfeed in a public space...If your modesty allows, show the world that breastfeeding is part of a normal life, not a practice to be kept locked up in your house.  If there were more openly breastfeeding women here in the United States the ignorance surrounding this natural feeding style would diminish. Make a plan to join other breastfeeding mothers at Starbuck’s or at a child-friendly café and feel the power of like-minded women feeding their babies together - as a group.  If you are just starting to get used to the idea of your breasts as a food source and not as a sexual entity...keep in mind that there are more private public spaces as well. So-called “nursing lounges” have been established in airports, shopping malls and department stores complete with comfortable seating and hot and cold running water.  Please do not accept the toilet as an offered nursing space and tell the manager on duty and the CEO of the company to get with the program. You can be an advocate for future breastfeeding mothers.

3.  YES.   You can eat a less than perfect diet and breastfeed.  While low fat proteins and high fiber fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts should be major components of your daily food intake, please enjoy eating the foods you like so this does not become a barrier to your breastfeeding.  If a bacon cheeseburger, a plate of French fries loaded with ketchup or a hot fudge sundae (don’t forget the nuts) will boost your spirits...go for it. Don’t get into a rut of boiled chicken, limp vegetables and no spices! Keep up a variety of healthy choices and savor the occasional sweet thing or desired fatty entrée.

There are days and weeks and months and years! of breastfeeding ahead of you...adjustments should be made, menus tweaked and pleasures taken to enhance your breastfeeding life.

Paula Zindler
RN IBCLC



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