How Do You Support Moms Who Struggle With Breastfeeding?

A hilarious quiz in Tina Fey’s new book, Bossypants, made me think about the difference between support and pressure when it comes to breastfeeding.  Nursing is hard work, especially in those early days, and new moms need encouragement, meals and commiseration.  (And humor.  They might need a copy of Tina’s book, or just a glance at the photo to the right.)

My best strategy for supporting new breastfeeding moms is to let them know that the really hard part comes right at first in those grueling early weeks.  It does get easier month by month, and more precious as babies start to become toddlers and those moments of snuggling start to disappear.
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The Hidden Costs of Breastfeeding

Before my daughter was born, I knew I wanted to try breastfeeding for all the usual reasons: breast milk is nutritionally perfect for a newborn and helps promote bonding between mother and child.  I’ve got to admit, though, that a big motivation was the idea that it was free!   For that reason alone, I’m glad that breastfeeding ended up working out for us.

A couple days ago I became aware of something I’d never thought about before: the hidden costs of breastfeeding.  Now, breastfeeding is generally much cheaper than formula, which can set parents back $1000 to $2300 in baby’s first year–but it isn’t exactly free.   Working mothers may need to pay for a breast pump and bottles out of pocket if insurance doesn’t cover it, which can cost hundreds of dollars.  My hospital had lactation consultants that were paid for by the county, but some women spend upwards of $1000 for lactation consultants if they’re having trouble with their supply or the baby’s latch.
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