With the many benefits of breastfeeding finally getting the attention they deserve, many women are eager to learn more.
There is lost generational knowledge that used to be passed down from mother to mother about childrearing, including how to be successful when breastfeeding.
But we can regain access to the knowledge our grandmothers and great-grandmothers possessed and even add modern understanding to it.
As a mother of three who breastfed for a total of nine years, I have learned so much and am glad to pass it on in the tradition of shared women’s wisdom to help other women feel confident when breastfeeding!
Read on for 5 major tried and tested ways you can maximize your chances of successful breastfeeding.
1) BREASTFEEDING IS ALL ABOUT SUPPORTLet’s be honest. The systems in the United States are not supportive of new moms. Click To Tweet
In many European countries, new mothers are granted several months of paid leave to be fully present for the first chapter of an infant’s life.
In Germany, for example, new parents are offered 13 months of paid leave to share between mother and father.
Parents are protected by law against job loss for parental leave and receive a substantial amount of their salaries during this time.
Not so in the United States, where new moms are lucky if they receive 12 weeks of optional leave with only half of that time paid.
This means that other support systems are crucial for new parents, especially for new moms who want to breastfeed.
If you’re fortunate enough to live close to family with whom you have a good relationship, it’s essential to rely on them for support when a new baby enters your life.
As all parents know, babies require constant care. It can be exhausting even in the midst of some of the most beautiful moments you can experience as a parent.
If you have made the choice to breastfeed – a choice I highly recommend – you will need support. Start with family.
When I was breastfeeding and had questions or difficulties, my mother, my aunts, my sisters, and our family friends were all constantly coaching me.
Everyone jumped in to ensure I knew how to overcome any problems that showed up – I never felt alone.
Being a new parent comes with uncertainty, and trusted familial support is the perfect antidote.
Support in the family also comes from the spouse. Breastfeeding requires extra time, dietary considerations for mom, planning when going out, and supplies.
A supportive spouse will ensure that mom is cared for as she cares for the little one in the most primal of ways – creating food.
This creates an environment that lowers stress from doubt, isolation, and overwhelm – all factors that can erode a woman’s ability to commit to a breastfeeding plan.
This article from Medical Xpress highlights a recent study that shows that strong communities actually increase a woman’s ability to produce breastmilk!
ASK THE PROS
Breastfeeding also benefits from professional guidance.
Lactation consultants can offer empowering advice to help new moms overcome challenges that are persisting and also help to provide a forum for mothers to ask questions and get answers.
Issues like undersupply, oversupply, latching problems, breast infections, soreness (this nipple cream is a miracle!), and more can be solved with support from professionals who have seen and resolved hundreds of similar cases.
There are wonderful online lactation consultant services available. Find one that resonates with you if you don’t have a trusted professional in your network.
Ina May Gaskin, a highly accomplished midwife, has a wonderful book on breastfeeding available on Amazon that I recommend to any mother who wants to dive deeper and learn from a true expert.
As medical historian Jacqueline H. Wolf states in a Time magazine article featuring her research into the history of breastfeeding:
It’s really important that we be able to have a sane discussion, not just about the public health ramifications of not supporting women who want to breastfeed. It’s very hard for American women to breastfeed, even according to our own medical guidelines, because the social supports are not in place.
Support is key for successful breastfeeding, and it must go beyond family and communities to reach a systemic level.
2) GIVE YOUR BODY WHAT IT NEEDS
Breastmilk is mostly sugar, it’s not high in fat despite the mainstream narrative.
As historian Jacqueline Wolf says in the Time article we shared above, “The structure of human milk is largely unexplored territory and scientists are just beginning to look at this truly living substance.”We have little to no understanding of what breast milk contains, or the impact it has on the health of a developing child. Click To Tweet
Misleading articles like this one from the American Pregnancy Association list protein as the first nutrient present in human breast milk.
This reinforces the protein law that the mainstream medical and nutritional establishment have perpetuated in collaboration with government bodies who are paid by the dairy and meat industries to tout protein as the be-all-end-all of human health.
The truth tells a different story.
As VeryWell Family reports in their article on the composition of breastmilk, proteins follow water, carbohydrates in the form of natural sugar, and fats in the list of the primary components of breastmilk.
This helps us understand what a woman’s body needs to produce enough milk: glucose from whole food sources.
If a new mother is consuming a diet high in protein and fat but low in glucose from fruit and starchy vegetables like potatoes, her milk production may suffer.
I’ve known women who struggled to produce enough milk that solved this problem by simply lower dietary fats and increasing their consumption of potatoes. That’s all!
This may sound too simple to be true, but almost all of us are deficient in glucose (as well as plenty of vitamins and minerals).
So often, new moms want to lose weight quickly after giving birth, so they implement trendy diets which guide them to limit carbs and increase protein (which almost always means increasing fat as well).
Trendy diets pull mothers away from exactly what their bodies want and need when breastfeeding – sugars that nourish their bodies so that they can produce enough of their own sugar to nourish their babies.
Increasing glucose intake from nutritious sources like bananas, coconut water, apples, berries, raw honey, steamed potatoes and sweet potatoes, steamed squash, peas, grapes, and other whole foods is exactly what our bodies want when we’re nurturing new life.
A baby’s brain is developed using the sugars in breast milk, so what’s good for our bodies as moms is also good for our babies.
3) SLEEP IS NON-NEGOTIABLE
When breastfeeding, moms may find it difficult to get enough sleep. Especially when newborns are not sleeping through the night.
But adequate sleep is essential to keep our bodies in the condition they need to be in to effectively produce milk.
This is where the support aspect reenters the picture. If a new mom isn’t sleeping enough or well, she can rely on her spouse or her family members to get up in the night with her baby so that she has the rest she needs to provide.
Adequate sleep can make or break our mental health as well as our production of breastmilk, and should not be underestimated.
4) USE NATURAL SUPPORT TOOLS
There are many natural methods to increase breastmilk production for successful breastfeeding that have been used for centuries throughout the world.
I love Earth Mama’s Milkmaid tea because it combines all of these powerful supportive herbs into one mixture for successful breastfeeding. It’s a blending of East and West – just like me!
Bringing in nettle leaf tincture can add an extra boost to breastmilk production as well as powerful mineral supplementation and health support for both mom and baby.
5) SUPPLEMENT WITH WHOLE FOODS
There are times when women simply need to supplement breast milk, but they don’t want to rely on manufactured formula to do it.
Baby formula is not true baby food.
This might be a controversial statement to some, but if you read the ingredient label of most branded formula products, you will likely agree.
Ingredient list for popular baby formula brand Enfamil
In my home country of Pakistan, baby formula barely exists. It is almost unheard of that women do not find a way to stimulate breast milk in order to feed their babies.
But with so many women deficient in the nutrients that allow their bodies to produce sufficient milk, we need healthful alternatives that provide growing brains and bodies with the next best thing.
Thankfully, we have a nourishing whole-food recipe from the globally-respected author, Anthony William, known as the Medical Medium ®.
I’ve created a recipe blog post with the details of this homemade formula, which incorporates avocado, banana, barley grass juice powder, and coconut water into a perfect blend of sugars, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and living water to provide your baby with the best the Earthly Mother has to give. Link here!
TIME FOR A RENNAISSANCE
The time a mother spends breastfeeding her baby is not just about providing food. There is a powerful bond that forms during breastfeeding on conscious, subconscious, and spiritual levels.
Any woman who has chosen breastfeeding can attest to this very unique opportunity to build a relationship with her newborn.No woman should have to miss forming the beautiful bond that breastfeeding creates. Click To Tweet
With the proper tips and tools, women can restore their ability to produce milk. And with the right nutritional habits, that milk can be powerfully nourishing for a feeding baby.
What we consume while breastfeeding matters.
The Medical Medium has also written about how the caffeine industry specifically targets pregnant and breastfeeding mothers so that children enter into the world and begin life addicted to caffeine.
Those addictions follow children into adulthood if steps aren’t taken to cleanse their bodies and restore what their bodies truly crave – healing glucose and mineral salts from whole foods.It’s time for a breastfeeding renaissance. Click To Tweet
For over a century in the United States, baby formula companies have been using advertising to undermine breastfeeding as the healthiest way to feed a growing infant.
A study done by the New York University School of Global Public Health found that this practice is still very much employed by formula companies. Read more here.
Even now, it’s far from clear to most mothers what to do to optimize their production when breastfeeding, and how to overcome common challenges with nutrition and other tools.
This is why it’s crucial that we spread the truth about effective breastfeeding techniques and tips to disempower corporate interests and empower ourselves.
It’s time to remember what we’ve forgotten and work with Nature and our bodies to restore and protect this sacred bond between mother and child for our generation and for the generations to come.
I share the story of the birth of each of my three daughters while also providing a wealth of information and resources about birth.
I know from my own experience that birth does not have to be full of pain, struggle, or uncertainty and that home birth is not only a viable option but an amazing experience you will never forget.
If you’d like to dive deeper into birth, pregnancy, and other women’s health topics, check out my Women’s Health Masterclass, which I’ve created to support other women as they strive to thrive.
Finally, for experienced moms out there, I’ve created a FREE downloadable kid’s recipe book.
I look forward to serving you in any way that I can.
To your health and peace,