Now is the time to influence a mother’s decision to breastfeed. You have mother’s attention… You can make a difference! Make it routine practice to discuss breastfeeding early in the pregnancy. Mothers who are educated early on are more successful.
Suggestions for Starting the Breastfeeding Conversation
Ask moms: “How do you feel about breastfeeding?” Acknowledge her concerns. Explore her beliefs. If she has breastfed before, ask about her breastfeeding experience. How long did she breastfeed? About her decision to wean. If she is currently breastfeeding? Take this opportunity to discuss the importance of breastfeeding. Explain the benefits of breastfeeding and risks associated with not breastfeeding particularly if there is a family history of certain diseases linked with lower rates of breastfeeding.
Risks of NOT Breastfeeding
Formula Fed Babies Have: More vomiting and diarrhea. More ear and respiratory infections. A high risk of childhood obesity. An increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS/Crib death). A higher risk of developing diabetes later in life. An increased chance of developing allergies and asthma.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Mothers and babies share a bond through breastfeeding and breastfeeding provides the best start for baby.
Breastfed Babies Have: A more developed immune system. A lower risk of certain types of childhood cancers.
Breastfeeding Mothers: Lose pregnancy weight quicker. Have a lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes, breast and ovarian cancer. Experience less bleeding after delivery.
Suggestions for Continuing the Conversation
As she gets closer to birth, she will have more questions and your support becomes even more important. Provide follow-up from previous visits for continuity of care. Discuss the changes in her body during pregnancy in preparation for breastfeeding. Include her family and friends in discussions and suggest the support person go to classes.
Getting Mom Ready for Delivery
Encourage her to make a birth plan and include her support person in the discussion.
While in the hospital, recommend that she share her birth plan and let staff know that she wants to breastfeed. Encourage holding her baby skin to skin immediately after birth and nursing her baby during the first hour. Tell her about the importance of rooming in. Let her know that she can refuse pacifiers and all supplements unless medically necessary. Provide her with a list of resources including who to call for help after hospital discharge. Inform her about the Breastfeeding Mothers’ Bill of Rights.