Yay! August is National Breastfeeding Month! We’re celebrating World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7) by following the theme of “Breastfeeding: Strength Through Support.”
Breastfeeding can be beneficial for both mother and child. The rewards of bonding, burning calories (while pumping/breastfeeding), and gaining some of the first experiences of motherhood are amazing. I was able to breastfeed my son for over two years and the experience was something I was truly blessed to have.
Support for Breastfeeding Families
If you choose to breastfeed early on, know that the hospitals have lactation consultants available on staff to help with the beginning process of it all. If you’re like me and had complications, reach out to the nursing staff for help. I had an amazing CNA & RN (thanks, Maggie), that would come into my room with a fresh pitcher of ice cold water, peanut butter crackers and encouraging words to get me to pump out my milk. In case you’re wondering, the hospital allowed me to borrow their pump and also showed me how to clean it.
When we all got home, I didn’t have a pump, and my son had never latched on to me before. Luckily, my mom had a few tricks up her sleeve. Did you know you can rent an electronic pump? I had no idea! Lee’s Pharmacy rents out breast pumps, in case you’re in the process of getting a pump or you don’t want to maintain a breast pump once you’re done breastfeeding. Most insurances will help with either renting or even issuing out a breast pump to you. If you don’t like the electric pump, you can always use a manual handheld pump…surprisingly, a manual pump is not that bad and it’s really quiet.
Once my son was given the green light to latch on, I was excited beyond belief. There was just one problem, he was about three weeks old and had never latched! I can’t count the number of unsuccessful attempts we had at getting the perfect latch, but it sure was painful.
Calling in Reinforcements
I had help from family (thanks, Erika), friends (thanks to Selina, Daphane, Gloria, Ludy and anyone else I forgot!), and La Leche League of South Texas. My family and friends encouraged me to continue to breastfeed through the tough days and La Leche League helped me to get the right hold and latch for my son. Due to my son being born premature, I was unable to attend the meetings they hold in Edinburg (Location: Edinburg Children’s Hospital-2nd Floor Family Room. Time: 1st Wednesday of every month from 9:30 AM- 11:30 AM) or McAllen (Location: Our Savior Litheran Church. Time: 3rd Tuesday every month at 7 PM). The awesome team from La Leche made house visits with us until my son was able to latch on without any issues, and they continued to check on us for a few weeks after the home visits stopped.
Another great resource for breastfeeding is Lactation Care Center RGV. Personally, I have not had the privilege of working with the Lactation Care Center RGV, however, I have numerous friends who have! All of them have said nothing but amazing things about the center. From finding the right hold to getting the perfect latch, this center has done great things for my friends.
I encourage y’all to try out these services and reach out for help. I’m almost certain the phrase “it takes a village…” comes from learning the art of breastfeeding. I hope this post was insightful and truly encourage y’all to breastfeed for as long as possible.
Side note: In no way, shape or form is this post meant to make you feel guilty if you chose not to breastfeed. As a Mom Tribe, I think we can all agree that Fed is Best!