– I am from France, and in France, breastfeeding is the most natural thing. It is not something that a mom chooses to do or not do. Of course, some women can’t breastfeed, and they shouldn’t be judged for it, but some women can breastfeed and they
shouldn’t be judged for it, either. The fact that we need to attempt to normalize breastfeeding in the United States is difficult for me. It shouldn’t even be a subject.
Another difference between France and the US is that usually women in France breastfeed for about 6 months, then go back to work, and they don’t pump. They switch to formula and breastfeed at night. In France, moms rent a pump if they want to use breastmilk. I never expected to breastfeed past 6 months because of this, but since I am here in the US, and I didn’t go back to work, there was no real reason to stop. Plus I got a pump for free from my health insurance. I’m pumping now hoping my second child will learn to take a bottle when I am away since my first one did not. If you need to give your baby a bottle, you can do formula and breastfeed when you are together, like they do in France, or you can pump and give your baby breastmilk in a bottle. There are even tips you can give to your care providers about how to bottle feed your breastfed baby.
Pumping can be hard, but don’t be afraid to ask your employer for a private place to pump. Be honest about your needs and know what your rights are. Remember that the amount you pump is not always the same as what your baby gets when you breastfeeding. Pumping is a technique all in itself. Even though it might be a challenge, I am pumping my milk because I trust my body, and if it’s still making milk, that means I’m supposed to give it to my kids.
Some advice I have for new moms is this: It can be difficult or painful, especially when your milk comes in. Being engorged is difficult, but you are not alone. You can get help. I met with a lactation consultant who told me not to give up when I was engorged, and she assured me that it would get better. And it did.
To read about your rights when it comes to pumping at work, click HERE.
To read about getting a pump from your insurance, click HERE.
To read about paced bottle feeding for care givers, click HERE