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The Birth-Breastfeeding Connection Features
Updated January 2016
Photo: Deborah Faye Rhodes courtesy of Nic McNamara

All your decisions will make a difference in how easily breastfeeding happens.

The birth-breastfeeding connection

Excerpted from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding 8th edition, Schaumburg, IL: LLLI, 2010, pages 50, 52.

8th edition (US)

8th edition (US)

mammals-nursing

Christiane Engel

Pick a mammal, any mammal, and imagine it giving birth the way we do. Let’s say you take your laboring dog to a strange place with bright lights, lots of strangers, people who stick their fingers in her vagina repeatedly, tubes going in, tubes coming out, drugs, needles, belts around her belly, and a “machine that goes ping.” Is she likely to have an easy time with motherhood? Our instinct is to give her a familiar place, quiet, dim lights, and privacy. Those are good instincts for humans, too.

Can you still breastfeed after any or even all of today’s interventions? ABSOLUTELY! But it may take a while…

Pregnancy Decisions: Who and Where?

You might be choosing between obstetricians, between a family doctor and a midwife, or between various midwifery practices. Your place of birth options may be home, birthing center, or hospital.

It’s well worth investigating C-section rates, other intervention rates, and whether the hospital or birth center is certified Baby-Friendly … All your decisions will make a difference in how easily breastfeeding happens. …

CHANGING YOUR MIND

Almost any birth decision can be changed, at just about any time. More than one woman has changed her planned birth place or caregiver in her last month of pregnancy. Trust your feelings. You don’t owe people and places your loyalty; you owe yourself and your baby peace of mind and a smooth transition. Motherhood involves some very effective instincts. This may be your first one kicking in, and it may be really important to listen to it.

Motherhood involves some very effective instincts.

8th edition (UK)

8th edition (UK)

Read more in chapter 3 “Birth!” The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding 8th edition, Schaumburg, IL: LLLI, 2010.

Resources

Birth Interventions

I Want a Natural Birth

What Your Baby Knows About Breastfeeding

 

 

Alert and active participation by the mother in childbirth is a help in getting breastfeeding off to a good start.


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