Maternal figures remain the most influential role in Black women’s lives, making their support crucial to cultivating a culture of breastfeeding and healthier decision making. Breastfeeding has benefits that last all through life, and your support, encouragement, and help can get your daughter sustain breastfeeding for the first six months. Here are some things you can do to help:
- Provide accurate information. Let your daughter know about the benefits of breastfeeding. Start talking about it before the baby comes—this is the time when most mothers decide how they will feed their babies.
- Learn about the myths. Learn all about breastfeeding and the myths that might affect your daughter’s decision to breastfeed. Learn how breastmilk is better than formula. The more you know, the more you can give her helpful information.
- Offer encouragement. Even if you didn’t breastfeed, you can encourage your daughter to make a breastfeeding plan and choose a doctor and hospital that support breastfeeding.
Back at Home
- Help with everyday tasks. Offer to provide a meal, do household chores, run errands, or care for other children in the home.
- Look for hunger cues. Help your daughter look for baby’s early hunger cues such as licking his lips, sucking his tongue or hand, searching for the breast, or making small sounds.
- Help with your daughter’s comfort. Make sure your daughter is comfy and has a snack and glass of water nearby when she breastfeeds.
- Hold the baby. Hold baby for 20 to 30 minutes after breastfeeding. That’s about how long it takes babies to fall into deep sleep so you can put him down for a nap.
- Keep the house quiet. Help keep the house quiet while baby’s sleeping so your daughter can take a nap too.
- Help if the baby is upset. Babies cry for all sorts of reasons. It doesn’t always mean they are hungry. If the baby is crying, check to see if a diaper change is needed (or if the baby just needs to be cuddles or calmed).
- Offer to bottle feed. In the first 4 to 6 weeks, the baby should do all his sucking at mom’s breast. Breastfeeding works by supply and demand, so the more baby nurses, the bigger a mother’s milk supply will be. After 4 to 6 weeks, you can help by offering pumped breastmilk in a bottle when your daughter needs to get away.
- Be an encouraging and supportive voice. Breastfeeding can be tough for any mother, especially at first. Let her know it gets easier with time and the journey is worth it.