We all know that breast is best when it comes to feeding an infant. But, what many women don't know is how challenging breastfeeding can be and how tender the topic is for moms when things aren't going as planned.
Sticking with it requires a strong mindset and a cooperating body and lifestyle. A lot of women begin supplementing early because they are concerned for one reason or another that their baby isn't getting enough nutrients. Many times it's a well-meaning person—a mother, mother-in-law, girlfriend or acquaintance—who plants the seed of doubt, when oftentimes it's simply not true.
From my own personal experience, here are the five comments that nearly knocked me out of the game:
1. Are you sure your baby is getting enough milk? No, of course we're not sure! Unfortunately there are no ounce marks on our breasts. According to the La Leche League, the most important thing to observe once the milk has come in is diaper output: "4-6 wet disposable diapers (6-8 cloth) and 3-4 bowel movements in 24 hours usually indicate the baby is getting an adequate volume of your milk." Click here for additional signs. For moms in doubt, call a lactation consultant. She can measure your baby's intake by weighing them before and after eating.
2. Why does he eat so often? Or are you really asking if he is getting enough, but in a different way? If you could be cuddled and loved while drinking a sweet delicious drink, wouldn't you do it all of the time? Frequent nursing is completely normal; newborns commonly breastfeed up to 12 times a day and even more during growth spurts.
3. You should probably go into the other room. Ask yourself, what is it that makes you uncomfortable? Breastfeeding is completely natural and normal. No woman should be confined to her bedroom to feed her baby. Don't disempower your sisters.
4. Maybe what you're eating is bothering him. Trust us, we've thought of that. This comment puts the blame on Mom for any problems that are happening. Don't worry, we feel guilty enough.
5. Can't you just pump a bottle and go out? Every pumping mama knows that breast milk is like liquid gold, and if it was that simple, we would be rich! Yes, for some women it pours out, but for most full-time breastfeeding moms, it's just not that easy.
So what can you say? Simply listen to her concerns and validate her feelings. Tell her how beautiful she looks and what a great job she's doing being a mom.