5 Ways to Encourage a Pregnant Friend to Breastfeed

Once you’ve experienced the joy of breastfeeding and know its incredible benefits, you may find yourself becoming a cheerleader for the cause, especially with your friends.  After all, you love your friends and want them and their babies to have a wonderful breastfeeding journey and reap the benefits of breastfeeding too.  As an experienced mom you can be a huge asset to your friends who are expecting.  Today we’re sharing five ways to encourage a pregnant friend to breastfeed.

5 ways to encourage a pregnant friend to breastfeed1 – Talk to Your Friend about Breastfeeding

To you breastfeeding may feel like second nature, but to your friend it may be a very foreign concept, especially if she was not breastfed or doesn’t have a breastfeeding role model in her life.  Whether you are currently breastfeeding or have already weaned your baby, talk to your pregnant friend about your breastfeeding experience.  Those who have not yet had the pleasure of breastfeeding might have misconceptions or focus on the negative aspects of breastfeeding they may have heard.  Learning about your experience can ease some of your friend’s fears and help her grasp how fantastic breastfeeding can be.  It’s OK to share the challenges you may have had too.  Sugarcoating your struggles may only make your friend feel she is alone if she runs into problems.  Rather, be realistic about your journey and remind your friend that most wonderful experiences in life come with a few hurdles along the way.  In your chat, let your friend know she can always come to you for advice if she needs it.

2 – Buy Your Friend a Breastfeeding Book

A breastfeeding book is a fabulous baby shower gift.  (Throw in a nursing bra and it’s twice as nice!)  Breastfeeding books are great resources to prepare expectant moms for breastfeeding and she can refer back to it once her baby arrives and she’s ready to put all the information into action.  Most breastfeeding books share the vast benefits of breastfeeding, review breastfeeding positions, explain proper latch and address many common issues breastfeeding mothers face.

3 – Be a Breastfeeding Role Model

Talking and reading about breastfeeding are great, but watching breastfeeding in-person is even better.  Invite your friend to spend time with you and your baby so she can witness breastfeeding firsthand.  Don’t think of it as a lesson or demonstration, but more of a natural part of your day that she’s sharing with you.  If she has questions, you can answer them but you don’t have to expound everything you know about breastfeeding as that may be overwhelming for her.  Seeing breastfeeding as a normal part of infant care can be very helpful as your friend prepares herself for motherhood.

4 – Share Your Breastfeeding Supplies

When you are done with them, pass along your breastfeeding supplies to a pregnant friend.  Nursing bras or nursing camis that are still in good shape, a nursing pillow, extra breast milk storage bags and an unused tube of lanolin could all come in handy for your friend.  (Note, breast pumps should not be shared for sanitation reasons.)

5 – Help Her Make a Plan

Many moms don’t realize that breastfeeding should happen as soon as possible after birth.  Giving birth is a big deal, and for some the labor and delivery process is traumatic. Not having a clear game plan prior to childbirth coupled with an unsupportive team of doctors and nurses can derail a new mom’s notion of breastfeeding.  By helping your pregnant friend make a plan, you can increase her chances of successfully breastfeeding.  Her plan should include: bringing nursing bras or nursing camis to the hospital since she’ll need them right away; telling her nurses upon arrival and all nurses that see her throughout her stay at the hospital that her intention is to breastfeed; and requesting visits from the on-staff hospital lactation consultants.

You can be a breastfeeding advocate and encourage a pregnant friend to breastfeed with these 5 tips.  Spread the love, spread the breastfeeding!