All moms know breastfeeding can be hard, and it doesn’t automatically get better in time. You have to work on it, but you don't have to work on it alone. You need all the support you can get from your partner, your family, and if necessary, a lactation counselor.
A Facebook post by an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) recently underlined the various needs of a breastfeeding mom. Joyce Ann Zaragoza-Martinez, who did pre and post-natal counseling with Mariel Rodriguez-Padilla, stressed the crucial role of her husband, actor Robin Padilla, and encouraged all partners to have the same dedication to breastfeeding as their wives. After all, breastfeeding is a family affair.
“Mariel's breastfeeding story is not a perfect one. But her story is a perfect example of how one should endure the hurdles that come with motherhood. Robin stood by Mariel so she can protect her desire to breastfeed,” Mariel’s lactation counselor wrote in her post.
Zaragoza-Martinez shared that Mariel’s commitment to breastfeeding is helped by the support she gets from her husband. “Husbands are there not to breastfeed but to give 100% support to their nursing wives,” she wrote in the caption of a photo that shows Robin helping Mariel with a breast supplementer. “What a wonderful sight of breastfeeding teamwork at home!” the lactation counselor said.
SmartParenting.com.phreached out to Zaragoza-Martinez to ask the most common challenging issues that face breastfeeding moms based on her experience.
1. Moms fear their baby will starve. It's one of the first issues almost all nursing moms encounter. You’re worried you’re not producing enough milk, and that baby is not getting the nutrients he needs. To allay their fears, they supplement, which “makes it hard for mom to catch up to baby's demand,” Zaragoza-Martinez said. She further explains that during the first few days of breastfeeding the baby doesn’t need a lot of milk right away. 2. Moms don’t get the support they need. In Zaragoza-Martinez's opinion, it doesn’t help when health professionals doubt a mother's breast milk supply and instantly supplement with artificial feeding. It does not protect long-term goals of a mom who wants to breastfeed. Family and friends can be a source of pressure as well. "I remember how a lola told me that we are starving the baby. But when I explained to them how lactation works, [the lola said] she didn't know about updates about breastfeeding management and that she appreciated the care given," she shared. 3. Moms are not prepared emotionally on the hurdles of breastfeeding. “They are so vulnerable after birth. Instead of giving negative comments, moms should receive empowering words to protect her desire to breastfeed,” Zaragoza-Martinez said. That’s why her breastfeeding seminars are open to all, including yaya, lola, friends, etc., so that everyone who surrounds the mom understands their role and the need to be supportive.
Zaragoza-Martinez stressed that people need to know that breastfeeding can be a struggle for a lot of women. “It isn't right to just post no-struggle breastfeeding stories. I'm always upfront to my patients. I tell them that it might be hard at first, but it is doable and convenient eventually,” she explained. "Some moms need to learn over time.”
The lactation counselor often emphasizes to clients that breastfeeding is a different journey for every woman -- and we all need to support and respect that. “Each one of us has a different learning curve," said Zaragoza-Martinez.
Zaragoza-Martinez currently holds classes at The Parenting Emporium. For inquiries, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Facebook or Instagram.