You’ve heard that it’s good for you. You’ve heard that it’s good for baby. You’ve probably also heard that it saves both lives AND money. But what do you need to make the choice to breastfeed, and how can you fulfill your breastfeeding goals?
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month, Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii (HMHB) is here to help you succeed, whether you intend to breastfeed for a month, a year, or more.
All moms can benefit from finding a support network; people who understand and encourage your choice to breastfeed, and can offer helpful advice if questions come up. Many moms find that breastfeeding comes naturally and don’t run into any major problems. Others might be the first in their family to choose to breastfeed, or run into concerns that make it a challenge to continue.
First things first: Don’t wait to ask for help! If you’re ever experiencing pain while breastfeeding, something needs to be fixed right away. A certified lactation consultant is your best ally, and can provide you with expert knowledge to get back on track. Find local breastfeeding support through HMHB’s online resource directory at www.hmhb-hawaii.org, or by calling the MothersCare Line: (888) 951-6661. If you are a WIC recipient, you can also access lactation support at your local WIC clinic.
Secondly, make sure your family and partner are on board with your decision to breastfeed. Arm yourself with the knowledge and confidence that breast milk helps baby grow healthier, preventing a variety of short and long-term health risks.
Finally, have confidence in yourself and your body. Making milk is entirely a supply and demand process: the more baby eats, the more milk you make. Monitor baby’s steady weight gain and check for 6+ wet and 3-4+ dirty diapers per day to ensure baby is eating enough. If so, pat yourself on the back for being able to provide all the life-sustaining nutrition your baby needs to grow.
Remember: You can do it! Take it one day at a time. And if you have questions, help is always available.
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii
Bio: Lisa Kimura is a mother of three and the executive director of Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii. She has a background in communications, advocacy work and early childhood development and studied at the Parent Coaching Institute to help empower parents with family support and education. She was appointed to the Governor’s Early Learning Advisory Board and is a member of the Women’s Legislative Coalition, Fetal Alcohol Task Force, Safe Sleep Hawaii, and is trained as a breastfeeding peer counselor.