Even though awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding is growing, it can still be a hard topic to discuss, especially with loved ones who may not have firsthand experience with it. While it is ultimately your decision to breastfeed and breast pump or not, it can be an intimate topic that your friends and family members feel embarrassed talking about. Prepare yourself to confidently talk to relatives about breastfeeding and pumping with our tips below.
How To Discuss Breastfeeding And Pumping
1. Bring It Up Before Your Due Date
Give yourself a little time to plan ahead and your family members ample time to digest your decision to breastfeed. Sit down and make a list of reasons why breastfeeding is important to you and share those reasons with your loved ones.
Discuss what they might expect to see as you breastfeed and when you plan to start. Explain how a breast pump
can help you maintain your goals by making it easier to store and provide breast milk for your infant
2. Find Support
Seek out advice and encouragement from friends or family members who have already embarked on their own breastfeeding journeys. There are also plenty of online communities focused on navigating new parenthood and all the issues that go along with it. Ask fellow moms how they brought up the topic of breastfeeding with family members and how to make the process a little easier.
3. Be Prepared To Answer Questions
Your family members may have a few questions about why you’re choosing to provide breast milk instead of formula. Don’t take their questions personally. Simply respond by educating them about some of the well-known benefits associated with breastfeeding.
The American Pediatrics Association (APP)
recommends exclusively providing breast milk to infants for six months. Afterwards mom should continue to breastfeed if possible for a year (while introducing them to solid foods) to reap all the benefits associated.
Breastfeeding benefits for baby:
- Breast milk is loaded with antibodies to help infants fight respiratory infections, viruses, ear infections, obesity, type one diabetes, allergies and more.
- Because breast milk is easier for infants to digest, it helps reduce upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation, colic, and more.
- Breastfeeding is linked to reducing the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) compared to exclusive formula-feeding.
Breastfeeding benefits for mom:
- Breastfeeding can help moms physically recover after giving birth. This is because oxytocin is released, reducing bleeding and helping the uterus shrink back to its normal size faster.
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, and may help burn pregnancy weight.
- Not having to buy formula can save families anywhere from $134 to $491 per month.
4. Invite People To Help
You don’t have to exclude relatives from breastfeeding. There are a number of ways to help spouses, siblings, grandparents, and older children feel included in the process.
Relatives can help in the following ways:
- Have your older children be in charge of bringing you snacks and water during your breastfeeding/pumping sessions to sustain enough calories to provide milk and to prevent dehydration.
- Ask your partner and older children to assist with bottle feeding sessions if you’re pumping. This can be an ideal time for them to begin to bond with baby. Pumping and storing breast milk allows your partner to handle middle-of-the-night feedings and lets you get some much needed rest.
- Divide and conquer tasks. While you breastfeed or pump, your partner can be washing bottles, doing laundry, running errands, and more. You can get a lot done (or just have some alone time) while they handle feedings as well.
5. Own Your Decision
At the end of the day, it’s your decision to breastfeed, no one else’s. Only you can do what you believe is best for your baby. If you receive negative reactions or concerns, smile and kindly remind your family members that you are breastfeeding for your own personal reasons.
Sincerely thanking them for advice can help ease any tension, but remember to make it known that in your household, providing water or formula to baby could disrupt your milk flow. Caring for your baby will be easier with support and encouragement, so be sure to include your relatives once your personal decisions have been made.