Thursday, October 11, 2012

Making breastfeeding goals

Throughout my experiences as a mother and nurse I have come to believe that how a woman feels about breastfeeding and her stated or unstated goals develop from many factors. Factors like, family and friends, education and sometimes other support systems like La Leche League. I’ll tell you about my goals and the influences that got me there.

My breastfeeding goals

  • Natural childbirth
  • Breastfeed as soon as possible after birth
  • Provide breastmilk exclusively for 6 months
  • Breastfeed for 1-2 years
  •  Wean by age 2.

Breast feeding influences

My grandmother was a nurse and wanted to breastfeed. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the support she needed to successfully nurse her babies. But she encouraged my mother and my mother breastfed me. It was unusual when I was a baby to be breastfed. My mother went to La Leche League for support. My mother-in-law breastfed my husband. As a newlywed, I just assumed that I would breastfeed my babies.

My breastfeeding goals became stated while I was attending nursing school. I had the best professor for women’s health. She was a great advocate for natural childbirth and breastfeeding. During her lectures I learned about the benefits of breastfeeding and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation to breastfeed exclusively for six months and then with other foods for at least a year and longer if desired. During clinicals I was taught how to help a mother latch her baby and how to determine if the baby had a good latch.

And I saw a video. This video was from a study done in Sweden. In this study newborn babies and their mothers were randomly divided into two groups: medicated births and unmedicated births. Then each of these two groups was divided in two again: those who nursed within 15 minutes of birth and those who did not attempt to nurse until 30 min or more after birth. This was an amazing video. The babies from unmedicated births who were put on their mother’s stomachs within 15 minutes could find the breast and latch themselves UNASSISTED! (It is called breast crawl and you can see an example). After 30 minutes, the unmedicated babies would latch with assistance, but they needed assistance. The babies from medicated births who were given to the mothers within 15 minutes tried to latch themselves but could not find the breast alone. The medicated babies who were given to mother 30 minutes or later did not even try.

While I was pregnant I visited La Leche League meetings. It was here that I learned about baby led weaning and started to think about how long I wanted to nurse my babies.


  1. Loved the video of the breast crawl! It's so amazing how God has designed even the smallest of babies with this instinct!

  2. That video was amazing! She had such a great latch, and all on her own, wow! Thank you for that.

  3. I am Glad you guys liked the video. I agree that God gave babies amazing instincts and breastfeeding can be so natural. I can get frustrating with my medical peers when we accidentally interrupt those first few minutes unnecessarily. And many mom's are not even aware of how important the time can be

  4. I've seen that video before. It's so awesome, and I actually cried. Although, I don't know why... After all, cats and pigs can do it :). My first didn't attempt nursing until I was stitched, and he was wiped down and had a snuggle with dad (nursing was very weak and didn't last long at all... In fact even refused the second side). My second baby was laid on my tummy immediately; after doing nothing but grabbing a birth weight, with a small bit of assistance, he found the breast and nursed voraciously. My first was a 16-hour induction with an epidural for much of that time. My second came maybe 45 minute of an epidural. The difference was amazing!

    1. I'm glad you commented on your experience and the difference the timing made. It always amazes me. It seems to me like hospitals have gotten better about putting babies on mom's tummy immediately after birth in recent years. Thanks for your visit.