What’s up mommas? How are you doing? Hanging in there? I hope so.
I know it can be hard, parenting during the pandemic and even harder if you have chosen to breastfeed. I’m choosing to share my experience and some tips with you in hopes that you can leave encouraged and informed.
My breastfeeding journey began way before I started producing milk. Once I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I’m not sure the motivation came from but I was very determined to make it happen. Isn’t life funny…when you make a decision to become conscious or aware of something, things that are related start to appear in front of you. I had two high school FB friends in particular who were vocal about breastfeeding as black women (Thank you, Ashley and Whitney). I reached out to them and they poured so many resources on to me.
Those groups are a wealth of information, run by women who are extremely passionate about supporting Black women during their breastfeeding journey with emotional support and fact-based education.
From one momma to another, here are some things you should know as you work remotely and breastfeed your baby.
- Go see a lactation consultant who is board certified IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). Not ya pediatrician, not ya doctor, not ya momma or ya grandma. Get an IBCLC because they are certified in lactation specifically, pediatricians and other doctors usually are not trained in breastfeeding or as fluent as a lactation consultant. See one as soon as the baby is born and as you need support and education along your breastfeeding journey.
- Join a community. You need support from other women who are dedicated to breastfeeding. You need people that can relate to your struggle (that dreaded feeling when you waste your liquid gold), your wins, and overall experience. Facebook groups were the best place for me. It’s best to join Facebook groups that have two audience profiles. For instance, Montessori x breastfeeding or black woman x breastfeeding. This way you’ll run into less friction and arguments and the conversations will be centered on the main topics. Trust me, momma, follow this advice to avoid drama.
- Ask for support! Be vocal about what you need. When you first have a baby, everyone says “what can I do to help”, “let me know what you need”. Well, sis this is your time to ask for someone to do the dishes, laundry, help clean up. I felt guilty asking for help but when I finally did I felt so relieved. When your baby is young, it will feel like they’re latched on all the damn time. The least you can do is let people help you, ease your self of any worries and focus on yourself and your baby.
- Share educational articles with family. I found this to be a useful way to gain support, especially because everyone thinks they know all about breastfeeding. Don't be afraid to hit someone with a Kelly mom link and don’t think this will solve your problems. Beware, sharing education is for rational family members only. You know there will always be some people who swear they’re an expert and at that moment you have to remind them who’s the momma (trust your gut, mommas know what best for their babies).
- Get on a schedule. When it's time to go back to work, a schedule will be your friend. Get your baby on a schedule before you go back, so you know the feeding times ahead of time and you can schedule meetings around your feeding times. My son wouldn’t take a bottle so I had no choice but to breastfeed him through the workday. It was hard for both of us. If you can pump, do it! Give yourself a lil breaky break. Pumping is still work but at least it won’t knock your focus.
- Work in a separate room + door closed + earphones on. Working from home is hard when your baby is home too. Hearing a laugh, cry, babble just makes you want to hop in the other room and hold your baby. Well, if you have to work, I’m sorry to break it to you momma but you’ll need boundaries if you want to accomplish at least one thing by the end of the day.
- Be kind to yourself. This is the most important piece of advice I can share with you. You decided to breastfeed, it’s the equivalent of a full-time job. Everything is not going to be perfect all the time and that’s ok. When it feels like shit is hitting the fan, just be grateful for your little one and try to slow down a little bit. They’ll only be this little once. 🙂
I usually write about marketing but none of my work and growth would be possible without me doing the things I listed above. It’s ok to be a working momma, it’s ok to choose to breastfeed. You got this, you’ll be so proud of yourself when you look back on what you’re about to endure and accomplish.