Breastfeeding can be an isolating experience. A new mum, breastfeeding for the first time, can feel cut off from family and friends if they are unsupportive or simply do not understand her motives.
All too often it is assumed that a breastfeeding mum will scurry off to do the deed behind a locked door and well out of sight. And God forbid she utters the phrase, “I’m Breastfeeding!” Men avert their eyes and women smile as they shuffle their feet and move the conversation swiftly along! So much for breastfeeding support amongst peers!
Most mums choosing to breastfeed their babies do so because they have been made aware of the lifelong advantages of breastfeeding. But when it comes to the task itself, many feel they have no-one to turn to for information and advice when things are not going as planned. For that reason, a lot of breastfeeding mums give up breastfeeding prematurely.
The World Health Organisation recommends exclusively breastfeeding babies for the first six months of their lives. But many are only breastfed for a few days or weeks.
It is vital that breastfeeding mums have a supportive and informative network of people to ask for help.
And that is where Breastfeeding Support Groups come into their own.
A well- organised breastfeeding support group will cater for a variety of women from varied backgrounds. It will educate women thinking about breastfeeding whilst they are pregnant and it will also cater for novice and more experienced breastfeeders.
Breastfeeding support groups allow women and their babies to come together in a relaxed atmosphere, to enjoy congenial conversation. Women are encouraged to discuss breastfeeding issues and, as a result, breastfeeding mums help one another to bypass barriers placed along the path.
Breastfeeding mums need to talk about breastfeeding in order to bring their experiences into the wider community. It is only by chatting about breastfeeding in an open and honest way with one another that it will become more acceptable. If more women are given the opportunity to access breastfeeding support groups then breastfeeding statistics will surely rise.
And who knows, maybe today’s breastfed babies will become confident breastfeeding mums of tomorrow, free of the hang-ups prevalent in today’s society regarding breastfeeding!