Grandmothers Can Support Breastfeeding!
Even if you didn’t breastfeed your children, you can still support your daughter/daughter-in-law with breastfeeding. Your support can make a big difference!
Baby Steps to Support! Here are some easy ways you can support your daughter/daughter-in-law with breastfeeding:
© USBC 2011
- Learn all you can about breastfeeding. Visit www.ilca.org and www.breastmilkcounts.com to learn more. Attend a breastfeeding class with your daughter/son if you live nearby. Often hospitals and public health clinics offer breastfeeding education in the community.
- Praise their decision to breastfeed! A word of encouragement goes a long way in helping new mothers feel confident. Encourage them to get help if they have questions. International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (lBCLCs) are health care professionals who specialize in breastfeeding. Ask the hospital for a visit from the IBCLC, or the name of an IBCLC in the community who can help, or find a lactation consultant in your community at the “Find a Lactation Consultant Directory” at the ILCA website. If you live in Louisiana, you can find healthcare professionals specializing in breastfeeding assistance at LA breastfeeding support.
- Monitor visitors in the hospital and at home. Although everyone is excited and wants to see and hold the new baby, explain to family members that the mother, father and baby need to be alone in the first hour or two. You can also help keep visitors to a minimum while the mother is in the hospital and in her early days home so she and the baby will have time and privacy needed to grow confident with breastfeeding. Encourage other visitors to bring a meal and to be prepared to leave after 15 or 20 minutes.
- Nurture the baby’s mother. After baby is born, the mother’s hormone levels shift wildly. Many new mothers find that the attention they once enjoyed during pregnancy is now focused on the baby, and can feel sad or left out. You are the perfect person to make sure the mother feels special. She loves knowing you are proud of her.
- After the initial learning period, enjoy your new grand baby! You can speak and sing softly to your new grand baby while baby gazes at you and learns who you are. Enjoy rocking, burping, kissing, holding and bathing the baby.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
© USBC 2011
Can my daughter make enough milk even if I didn’t?
Mothers can make plenty of milk for their baby. Milk is made based on the law of “supply and demand.” In other words, the more milk that is removed, the more milk their body makes. To make plenty of milk, mothers breastfeed 8 to 12 times every 24 hours, feeding the baby for as long as he wants on the first breast or until he slows down and stops suckling. The baby’s stomach is very small and his mother’s milk is very easily digested. Offering formula supplements decreases a mother’s milk supply and can cause infants to prefer the bottle over the breast.
How can we be sure baby is getting enough?
Baby is getting enough breastmilk when he/she:
- wakes and shows he/she is ready to feed 8 to 12 times every 24 hours
- swallows steadily throughout the feeding
- has 4-6 wet and 3+ dirty diapers each day after Day 5
- is back to his birth weight by 10 days and continues to gain around 4-7 ounces (120-200 grams) per week
Why does the baby seem to want to breastfeed all the time?
Feeding babies 8-12 times every 24 hours helps assure that they are getting enough calories to grow and develop well. Sucking at the breast also helps a baby tolerate discomfort and releases hormones that help baby grow. Babies may also breastfeed for other reasons. When breastfeeding, babies are close to all the things that comforted them inside the womb: hearing the mother’s heartbeat, feeling her breathing pattern, and enjoying the warmth and smells she is familiar with. Sometimes babies breastfeed more often when they need to be close to mother, are ill, or when they are frightened, lonely or uncomfortable. Holding babies often and breastfeeding them reassures them that their world is safe. Meeting a baby’s need for closeness helps them become more confident and independent later in life.
© USBC 2011
The information above was adapted from @ 2010 International Lactation Consultant Association. Written by Cathy Carothers for World Breastfeeding Week Action Kit, “Breastfeeding: Just 10 Steps! The Baby-Friendly Way.”