1. You can not always predict how long you will breastfeed for.
Some women set long term goals but then due to unfortunate events in their breastfeeding journey, they have to stop earlier then planned. While on the other hand, some women love the bond of breastfeeding so much that they continue to nurse longer than they ever dreamed they would.
2. Breastfeeding is natural but doesn't always come natural.
While breastfeeding is a natural thing between a mother and a baby, it sometimes takes a bit of practice for mother and baby to get the hang of it. With persistence, support and hope, you can usually get through those beginning hurdles. There are many cases where after a month of trying, a baby finally latches on successfully. That's determination.
3. Not everyone plans on breastfeeding a toddler.
For some women, they never dreamed they would still be breastfeeding a toddler who is walking and maybe even talking. So before you judge, think about the fact that maybe once they thought it was crazy too.
4. Breast Milk changes to accommodate a toddler.
The nutritious composition of breast milk changes to match the needs of a toddler. So as a child gets older, the milk is actually still good for them. Many people like to argue that breastfeeding does not do anything for a child past say, six months. However this is completely false as the milk changes to match the demands of the growing child.
5. Breastfeeding in public really isn't a big deal.
No we shouldn't make it a point to show you that "hey we ARE breastfeeding in public," but it is our right and the law protects that. Modesty is appreciated, but some women just can't help a nosy baby who breaks latch in the middle of the feeding and accidentally shows you some boob. Why were you looking anyway?
6. If you didn't really breastfeed, then don't give unsolicited advice.
Obviously helpful advice can be helpful sometimes, but if you didn't breastfeed then you are in no place to say what you "think" a mother should do. Saying that "the baby shouldn't need to eat that much" or that "it is time to wean" is completely rude and unappreciated. Think before you speak to a breastfeeding mama. Or any new mama for that fact.
7. Weaning is one of the hardest things to do.
For most nursing mamas, weaning is the hardest and most emotional thing to do. It is a process that takes time, tears and even some major mama guilt. Support a mother.
8. It takes a village to breastfeed a child.
Obviously it only takes a mother to actually feed the child, but it takes a ton of support and encouragement from loved ones to get a mother through the beginning stages of breastfeeding. It takes time to get it right and it takes time to overcome the hurdles. It also is nice to have a community that supports breastfeeding and family to say "job well done."
9. Pumping is a gift and not always fun.
Pumping is definitely not fun. No one likes to be tied down to a pump. However over time your sessions may decrease in length and not be so tedious. Mamas who exclusively pump deserve the same encouragement and support as nursing mothers.
Mama's milk is special no matter how baby gets it.
10. There are answers to most problems.
There is almost always a way to fix a problem that you are experiencing. From your child not latching to not producing enough milk or nipple pain to a baby with colic, there are almost always ways to fix the problem. Only a small percentage of women are physically unable to produce milk. Seek support from Facebook groups, Lactation Consultants, LLL, books and so on for support during breastfeeding. And if for some reason you can't continue on, just know that any amount of mama's milk is a gift!
This is a great post to share with your new mama friends.
Make sure to encourage a nursing mama and give her a thumbs up!
Thanks for reading, Sasha