Talk to Your Family about Breastfeeding
Talk about why you choose to breastfeed, and ask for your family's support.
Feeding your baby is a family affair. It takes time, practice, patience—and teamwork. Your family, especially your partner, will be vital to helping you meet your breastfeeding goals. It's a good idea to talk about your decision to breastfeed before your baby arrives. This will give you time to learn, prepare, and plan together.
Plus, having conversations about your breastfeeding plans can help you get the support you need. Your family and friends are going to be excited to meet your baby, and they're going to want to be involved. But everyone has opinions—whether you ask for them or not—about how to feed your baby. Use these tips to talk with your family and friends about why you choose to breastfeed.
Tip #1: Decide who you want on your breastfeeding team
Think about who will be available to support you, especially in those early days. It might be your partner or a sister, cousin, or close friend who has breastfed before. Those are the people you'll want to talk to about your plans.
Tip #2: Make time to talk before your baby arrives
You've done your research and have chosen to breastfeed your baby. Write down your thoughts about breastfeeding, including why you decided to do it and why it's important to you. Share them with your loved ones so that they can understand why breastfeeding matters to you. You can also help them learn what to expect when you start breastfeeding, such as how often your baby will eat and how much breast milk your baby needs. Having these conversations early will help you get off on the right foot.
Tip #3: Let them know how they can help you meet your breastfeeding goals
Family and friends are an important part of your breastfeeding journey and can help in lots of ways. Ask them to change diapers, give baths, or snuggle with your baby. They can also take care of you. Helping around the house goes a long way. Having your friends and family do laundry, run errands, and cook dinner gives you time to rest and focus on breastfeeding.
Tip #4: Remind them that you need them to respect your decision
Some people may not understand your decision to breastfeed. Maybe you're the first woman in your family to try it. Or maybe your loved ones wonder why you "can't just use formula like everyone else they know." Gently tell them that this is your choice and you would appreciate their support. Remind your family and friends that they shouldn't give your baby water or formula because it will interfere with your milk production.
Caring for your baby takes time and patience. That's why having people around you to offer support and encouragement is important. WIC Breastfeeding staff are here for you, too.