What is Balanced Breastfeeding?
Balanced Breastfeeding is practical prenatal education.
Breastfeeding success starts in pregnancy. Prenatal breastfeeding courses should not be laden with arguments for why you should choose to breastfeed your baby, but rather packed full of resources and tools that will help a pregnant couple succeed in their choice to breastfeed. It should also include appropriate goal setting based upon individual medical, emotional, and social history.
Balanced Breastfeeding prenatal education heavily emphasizes three things:
- Exactly Why a couple has chosen to breastfeed (because when you feel like you can’t go on, you must always go back to why you started in the first place).
- Exactly How to survive the first two weeks of breastfeeding including what tools and techniques are available to protect breastfeeding when things don’t go perfectly including the use of breast pumps, nipple shields, pacifiers, bottles, and formula.
- Exactly Where to go after baby is born for both peer support and one-on-one consulting.
Balanced Breastfeeding is a blend of continued virtual and in-person education and support throughout the continuum of breastfeeding.
In the current digital climate, 24/7 online learning and support is necessary; in-person human touch and connection is often critical. The learning curve for breastfeeding (and parenting for that matter!) is steep and continues throughout the entirety of the breastfeeding journey. Balanced Breastfeeding offers education and support for each and every unique stage of breastfeeding:
Balanced Breastfeeding nurtures parents’ intuition.
A high level of self-efficacy, or confidence in oneself to succeed, is the key to long-term breastfeeding success and satisfaction. It is also a critical to every other part of parenting! Every part of Balanced Breastfeeding focuses on the parents taking responsibility for the success or failure of their breastfeeding endeavors rather than shifting that responsibility to healthcare professionals, family members, employers, or the Internet. A Balanced Breastfeeding mother knows how to collaborate with professionals and peers, synthesize what she has learned with her own intuition, and arrive at a decision that is best for her unique family.
In a time filled with Facebook, forums, and chat boards, Balanced Breastfeeding is not based upon personal experience or hearsay; it is rooted in evidence and professional experience. It was created and is authored by one person with a name and a face: Katie Madden.
Balanced Breastfeeding is honest.
Mothers-to-be and new mothers are overwhelmingly well-educated on why they should breastfeed and how breastfeeding is supposed to work; they are also overwhelmingly under-educated on how to make breastfeeding work when breastfeeding isn’t going as it was supposed to.
Balanced Breastfeeding believes in telling the truth: breastfeeding is hard and you may need to fight for it. We believe in empowering parents with the knowledge and tools to protect breastfeeding no matter what, without sacrificing physical comfort, emotional well-being, or family unity.
Balanced Breastfeeding is Balanced.
There are four key factors in play in each unique breastfeeding relationship: mother, baby, breastfeeding, and family. These four key factors must be juggled at all times in order to keep them in a delicate balance.
ALL FOUR FACTORS ARE EQUALLY CRITICALLY IMPORTANT.
The woman who has chosen breastfeeding as her preferred feeding method. She is hormonal, exhausted, sore, and fiercely dedicated to giving her baby the best start in life. She has physical and emotional pain that deeply impacts her ability to endure the phenomenally challenging early weeks of motherhood.
The child who is new to this world and quite simply needs three things to survive: food, safety, and physical contact. She is very disorganized and immature and cannot be trusted to keep herself alive. Although she may be “wired” to breastfeed, it does not mean she can or will do so successfully at first.
A non-living biological process; a public health agenda; a highly emotionally charged topic.
The delicate balance of immediate and extended family members. Each member of the family comes with the ability to influence the mother. Of particular importance is the partner, for he/she holds the power to champion or discourage the new mother.
In order for breastfeeding to work, each of these elements must be kept in alignment. No one factor can supersede another without risking an unsafe circumstance.
Every mother has a deep need to feel as if she has made the best choice for her children. Motherhood is fraught with opportunity to makes mistakes and subsequently harbor guilt for years.
When we tell women that formula is bad, it may help “breastfeeding,” but it hurts mothers and babies. It hurts babies who have food withheld from them when they are not getting enough to eat from their mothers’ breasts. It hurts mothers when they need to feed their babies formula by necessity or by choice and as a result feel as if they have harmed their babies or failed as mothers by simply making the safest, healthiest, and smartest choice.
At Balanced Breastfeeding, we believe we can promote and support breastfeeding without demonizing formula and the families who use it. We believe that mothers who cannot make sufficient amounts of milk can enjoy a long and satisfying hybrid feeding relationship.
So, how about you? Comment below and let me know what you think about what Balanced Breastfeeding is.
Images courtesy of Angie Gray at www.AngieGray.com.