You might think that you don’t need to worry about breastfeeding until after the baby comes, but don’t wait. You may or may not have a lactation consultant at your disposal when you give birth, so learn what you can now from mother to mother support.
It helps to prepare for breastfeeding by being around breastfeeding mothers, and learning about breastfeeding basics. In lesson 07 we talked about finding the community of normal birth at meetings and online discussions of La Leche Leache, Attachment Parenting International, Holistic Moms, and Mocha Moms. These are also good places to find the breastfeeding community. La Leche League and other organizations have online directories to help you find mother-to-mother support nearby.
- Find a LLL Leader in the US
- Find a CinnaMoms support group.
- Find a Breastfeeding USA Counselor
- Find your state, local, tribal, or cultural Breastfeeding Coalition
- Find a peer counselor with WIC. See the online directory of state agencies.
- Talk to other mothers online at LLL
- Talk to other mothers online at Attachment Parenting International
9:00 to 6:00 EST
The InfantRisk Center is the place to call if you have a question about breastfeeding and medications. The center, founded by Dr. Tom Hale, provides up-to-date evidence-based information on the use of medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Infant Risk Center
Monday through Friday 8:00 to 5:00 (CST)
- Nursing in Public Hotline
For helplines in Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, France, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom, see Kellymom.
If you want to talk to lactation consultant, ask your birth attendant for a recommendation. If you’re giving birth at a Baby Friendly hospital, you will have breastfeeding support built in.
The National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color has a provider’s directory.
Baby Cafe is an organization that coordinates a network of breastfeeding drop-in centers and other services to support breastfeeding mothers. It’s unique because moms don’t have to wait for help, but can drop-in and be in the company of other breastfeeding moms and get their questions answered by a professional. Here’s a state-by-state directory of Baby Cafes. Plus, here’s how to set up a Baby Cafe in your community.
In addition to the websites of the organizations above, here are some other helpful breastfeeding websites:
- Perhaps the top go-to website for reliable breastfeeding information is Kellymom.
- Nancy Morhbacher is a seminal lactation consultant, author and entrepreneur.
- BreastfeedingBasics is the stellar website from lactation consultant, Anne Smith
- The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine is an international multi-specialty physician organization, with over 500 members from more than 50 countries.
- Jack Newman, MD, is a renowned Canadian physician specializing in breastfeeding support and advocacy.
- William Sears, MD, is an American pediatrician well known for breastfeeding advocacy.
- The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) is an independent nonprofit coalition of more than 50 nationally influential professional, educational, and governmental organizations that share a common mission to drive collaborative efforts for policy and practices that create a landscape of breastfeeding support across the United States.
- World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) protects, promotes, and supports breastfeeding worldwide.
Have a few basic breastfeeding books to read while you’re pregnant and refer to when you’re breastfeeding.
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International is the classic book on breastfeeding from the world’s experts. Read this book and have it on hand.
- The Breastfeeding Answer Book: Pocket Guide Edition by Nancy Mohrbacher is a great book to have on hand for reassurance and answers once you are breastfeeding.
- The Black Woman’s Guide to Breastfeeding by Katherine Barber makes an important contribution to breastfeeding in addressing the unique circumstances of black breastfeeding moms.
- Nursing Mother, Working Mother by Gale Pryor and Kathleen Huggins is the best book on breastfeeding and working.
BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC
Don’t be intimidated by nursing in public. Whose public is it after all? Most people do not care and you can wear discreet clothing or put a baby blanket over your shoulder. Or, you can be indiscreet. Breastfeeding in public is legal in all federal locations and all states have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. Twenty-nine states have laws relating to breastfeeding in the workplace, but few have enforcement provisions.
THE MONETARY VALUE OF BREASTMILK
Your breastmilk has innumerable benefits to you and your baby in protecting you both from disease and will save you money in healthcare costs. But, it also has a tangible financial value. In the first six months, you produce about 25 ounces of breastmilk each day. If you sold that 25 ounces to a milk bank for the going rate of $5 an ounce, its value would be $125 each day. In a month you produce $3,750 in breastmilk and save your family $150 in formula costs. If you exclusively breastfeed for six months, you produce $22,500 in breastmilk and save your family nearly $1000 in formula costs. Bravo!
About Peggy O’Mara. I am an independent journalist who edits and publishes peggyomara.com. I was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine for over 30 years. My books include Having a Baby Naturally, Natural Family Living, The Way Back Home and A Quiet Place.I have conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, Hollyhock, La Leche League, and Bioneers. I am the mother of four and grandmother of three. Please check out my email newsletter on parenting, activism, and healthy living.