Breastfeeding is natural. It’s normal and it’s wonderful for your baby. But it can be awkward, too. And it can feel isolating when you don’t have a lot of people in your corner. Talking about breastfeeding with other new moms can be intimidating, but having these conversations from the get-go is important! To break the ice and help other new moms feel comfortable talking about breastfeeding, try this boob-talk game: You ask questions and make statements to see how a new mom reacts to them.
Here are some examples of what you might say:
“How was your night?”
If you’re new to town and meet a new mom at a baby shower or other event, you can quickly break the ice by asking how things went with the baby last night. New moms can be so tired that they often don’t even notice when someone else talks to them. But if you ask about their baby, you might get a much more open response. New moms are usually excited to talk about their new baby. And you can use this opportunity to learn more about them, too. You can learn about their family, their parents, and their friends. You can also find out more about this person’s baby. If you have any questions about breastfeeding, ask them. You can also ask how they found out they were pregnant. If it was unexpected, you could learn more about why that was. If it’s not something they dreamt about, you can learn more about why they’re doing it.
“You must be starving!”
If you’re chatting with a new mom who mentions her baby must be starving, you can say, “Oh, yeah. It’s around 3 pm, and we’ve already had five feedings.” Then you’ll be able to learn more about why the baby has been hungry and how long this has been going on. New moms often feel they must continuously feed their babies, but most babies only need to be fed four or six times a day. If you can catch the mom mid-feeding, you can ask if you can do anything to break up the feeding, like offering her a glass of water. Some moms prefer to only feed their baby one bottle at a time.
“Did you breastfeed in the NICU?”
Some new moms had told you, “When I was in the NICU, my doctors told me that I had to breastfeed.” This might have been in the hospital, but it might have been when you got home. Ask the new mom, “Did your doctors also advise you to breastfeed exclusively?” This will help you determine if the new mom is breastfeeding exclusively or if they’ve been using formula because they’ve been told to do so. If the new mom didn’t want to exclusively breastfeed, but her doctors did, you’ll know that you can reassure her. You can say, “Breastfeeding is best for your baby. Breastfeeding is better for your baby than formula.” You can also say, “We can talk about formula options if you want.”
“I remember when I was first breastfeeding my baby. It was so hard. What happened?”
This is a great question for new moms to ask themselves. You can also ask a new mom, “What was going on in your life when you were first breastfeeding? What was happening in your family?” You can use this question to determine if the new mom has been depressed or struggling with abuse. You can use this question to help a new mom understand why breastfeeding is so challenging. It can help a new mom learn to trust her body, too. If a new mom hears herself complaining about not being able to breastfeed, it can be helpful to have her stop and ask herself why she’s feeling that way.
“If you have any tricks for nighttime nursing, please share!”
Some moms know how to make their baby sleep for hours by nursing at night. So you can ask the new mom if she has any nighttime tips for you. But make sure to phrase it in a way that’s not accusatory. New moms often feel they need to help you when you struggle with breastfeeding. But if you’re willing to ask for help, you can find support groups online or in your area. You can also call the local breastfeeding health department.
“What You Should Know Before You Talk About Breastfeeding”
Before you talk to other new moms about breastfeeding, you should know: What is a good latch? When feeding your baby, the most important thing is that your nipples are in the baby’s mouth. Signs of a good latch are when the baby’s tongue is touching the roof of the baby’s mouth. A bad latch is when the baby’s tongue is not touching the roof of the baby’s mouth. First, ensure your baby is latched on correctly, and then try to relax. Your baby will fall asleep. Wait an hour after your last breastfeeding before you start to pump. After that, try to breastfeed as often as your baby wants.
“If you have any questions about breastfeeding, please ask!”
You can use this question to help a new mom break away from breastfeeding advice she might have been given in the past. This can help a new mom feel less pressured and more in control of her breastfeeding choices. New moms can get tired of hearing the word breastfeeding, especially if they’ve been told they need to breastfeed exclusively. Breaking away from the breastfeeding conversation can be helpful if a new mom feels beaten down. You can ask the new mom, “How do you feel about breastfeeding? What do you want to do about breastfeeding?”