How to be a Gold Medal Winner in the Breastfeeding Olympics

 

  1. Be kind to yourself.
  2. Be kind to yourself.
  3. No seriously, be kind to yourself.  Breastfeeding is easy for some people, and hard for others, and no matter where you fall on that spectrum, there will likely come a time when you feel pressured to hide, or pressured to skip a pump session, or pressured to just stop already even if you’re not ready because it’s “inconvenient” to other people (as though feeding someone with your own body is not at all inconvenient to you, ever!).  Be kind to yourself and put other people lower down on the priority list.  You and your baby or babies (I’m not forgetting you Wonder Women who manage with multiples!) matter, and other people matter less right now when it comes to what makes life easier or keeping boobs out of their field of vision.  If you want to use a cover, use a cover!  But if the only thing stopping you from breastfeeding in Panera the way the good lord intended is some women giving you the evil eye, do what your heart desires, lady.  That woman doesn’t matter.
  4. Be kind to other breastfeeding mothers.
  5. Be kind to all other parents just trying to feed their kids and keep them alive.  We are all doing our best, really and truly.  Even when you think someone might not be doing the ultimate best thing for their kid because they didn’t breastfeed past six months, or because they breastfed longer than you did, remember that almost everyone is trying their best, and doing the best they can, to be the best parent they can be given their unique circumstances.
  6. Be kind to mothers who supplement.  I struggled with breastfeeding, and I’ll never forget the kindness of other moms who also struggled and gave me formula suggestions without judgment.
  7. If you can, make someone else clean the bottles and pump parts.  If you’re out there in the pumping trenches, the last thing you need to do is also be cleaning those parts if there’s anyone else in your life who will do that task for you.  Breastfeeding is such a solitary act that only you can do, but if you’re pumping, at least then there’s a chore you can pass off, if you’ve got the help available.  And if you don’t have that kind of resource, I am draping an extra gold medal around your neck because holy heck, you deserve it.
  8. If someone offers you food, you say yes.  Especially if that food is a lactation cookie.
  9. Have I mentioned being kind to yourself and others who are also trying to feed babies with their bodies or otherwise?  That is sort of my driving point here.  Really can’t stress that enough.
  10. Remember, breastfeeding is not, in fact, a competition.  There is no gold medal.  Or silver.  Or bronze.  Or even a “you tried” ribbon.  Or award ceremony.  However long you manage, however long you decide to keep going, you get to be the winner.

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