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Breastfeeding is not an easy task to accomplish on your own. It is crucial that families providing breast milk to their infant have familal and societal support along with community resources that will encourage them on their journey. This is especially significant when you consider the numerous variations that can make up one’s path to actually feeding at the breast. We support all of the ways that parents provide human milk to their babies.
There are so many factors that go into “successful breastfeeding.” However, we must remember that we are mammals and mammals nurse their babies!
More than anything, we want you to know that however you provide your baby with breast milk, YOU ARE BREASTFEEDING!
The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding (i.e. no other fluids or solids) for six months and then continued breastfeeding combined with solid foods for 2 years or as long as mother and baby desire.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months with continued breastfeeding along with introducing appropriate complementary foods for 1 year or longer.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association details what breastfeeding provides at the different ages and stages of your baby’s life.
BREASTFEEDING YOUR TODDLER
The World Health Organization also recommends nursing beyond what is considered the norm to provide optimal infant nutrition:
“As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond.”
BREASTFEEDING PREMATURE BABIES
There is strong evidence that the benefits of breast milk significantly increase the survival and growth rates of premature babies. Mothers are said to produce milk speficially for their premature infants, that is unlike the colostrum and breast milk produced for a baby of normal gestation. Providing your premature infant with your breast milk and putting your baby skin to skin as often as possible is the absolute best way to bond with your baby and help them to feel comforted and secure.
You will likely begin your journey exclusively pumping for your preemie. However, as your baby spends time skin to skin, your baby will be more and more likely to latch to the breast and nurse – even with essential tubing attached!
Breastfeeding your baby will require that you adjust to the daily real-world challenges of nurturing and nourishing your new baby on-demand. Remember that in the United States your are protected by law in all 50 states to nurse your baby whenever and wherever your baby requests.
Be sure to memorize or notate your local state law to recite in case of any interruptions. In the meantime, remember that remaining calm while trying to latch in public will also help your baby to feed calmly. If anyone approahces you, don’t assume the worst – it could just be someone wanting to thank you for breastfeeding in public or to reminisce about their own personal experience! It’s such a great feeling when people just go with it, ask questions, and genuinely support your efforts as a new parent.
When you breastfeed in public, others become more aware about how often it happens around them and with the right opportunity others can observe how normal it is. You also allow your baby to gather their own observations of the world with a front seat at the breast.
The goal of the worldwide chapters is to come together online and in person to offer each other mother-to-mother support. Admins are expected to keep their groups active online and are encouraged to plan basic meetup events, quarterly, to give the group an opportunity to connect in person a few times per year. Our group offers a non-judgemental space to seek support. We always strive to help mothers to find the support they need to reach their individual feeding goals. We support breastfeeding, pumping, donor milk feeding, and supplemental feeding.