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Finding Your Breastfeeding Tribe
Moms need other moms.
You weren’t meant to go through this powerful experience on your own. When you are breastfeeding, it is very important to find other breastfeeding moms, or what I like to call, your breastfeeding tribe. If I’m feeling really clever, it becomes your breastfeeding sisterhood.
When I had my first baby I didn’t have any mom friends. There was another woman at work who was pregnant at the same time and we’d often compare pregnancy notes. We ended up having our babies four days apart. We had lunch together when they were about 2 weeks old.
We had so much to say to each other! We talked for hours. Much of that conversation was about breastfeeding.
When I visited at work, the other nurses who recently had babies would come over and we would always share stories.
The new mom down the street and I would stop by each others house and we would talk and talk.
When you do something that you’ve never done, you want to share it with someone who knows what you are talking about. You want to ask, is this happening to you too?
That friend from work and I became good friends. We ended up moving far away from each other. However, we talked on the phone, wrote letters and visited when we were in the same place. It was a friendship that endured long after we were finished breastfeeding. We even both became lactation consultants!
There were other women I became good friends with because of our common journey of breastfeeding.
The Common Bond
Breastfeeding moms need other breastfeeding moms.
Even if you have other mom friends, if they are not breastfeeding, you need to find some who are.
I am not saying you shouldn’t be friends with your formula feeding friends. I’m just saying you need to find other moms who are going through a similar journey.
The next question that pops into your head may be, but Andrea, where do I find them?
Writing Your Story
If you live in a community where there is a breastfeeding group, join it.
If there is no group specific to breastfeeding, join a new mom’s group. Go to La Leche League meetings. Go to parks.
Where to Look
Places to look for other moms who may be breastfeeding:
- Breastfeeding groups
- Milk café
- Milk group
- Baby café
- New moms group
- Baby classes
- New mom teas
- Postpartum yoga classes
One of the accomplishments that I am proudest of is starting a breastfeeding support group at the hospital where I was the program coordinator. When we were at our busiest, we had 35-40 moms who would attend.
We are a very casual group where moms can drop in any time during the session. They can stay as short or long as they want. They can come as often as they want.
We have a scale where they can weigh their babies, and the lactation consultant goes around and checks in with each mama to see what kind of questions she has.
One of my primary goals for this group was for moms to have a place where they could meet other moms. We’ve had a few groups of moms who went on to create mom groups for the community because they enjoyed coming to this group so much.
What do you do though, if nothing like this is available in your community? You could always start one yourself!
When There’s No One
But what if you live somewhere that is very isolated, or where absolutely no one else breastfeeds? Maybe you live somewhere where there aren’t even other babies or small human beings of any age.
What do you do then?
You thank the universe that you live during the age of the internet and Facebook.
Facebook to the Rescue
There is an abundance of breastfeeding groups on Facebook. I just started one myself. I saw the need to have a group that is run by a lactation consultant. It has the same name as this blog and you can find it to join here:
I always warn mamas to be cautious about what kind of problems they take to Facebook and what kind of advice they take away. I have read some truly frightening and appalling things. This is another reason why I started my own group.
Facebook groups fill a very real need and strong relationships can and do develop with your online friends.
Smaller Online Group Options
If you have breastfeeding friends who are scattered all over the world, you can start a Facebook Messenger group conversation. I am in a couple different group conversations with some friends. One has been going on for over 5 years. We started out talking about vacations. Now we talk about everything from our pets, to our spouses and still about our vacations. I’ve gotten to meet some of them on those vacations.
You can arrange group Zoom calls. There are lots of other online/video calling services. Any one of them can work.
Guided Discussions or Open?
With the breastfeeding group I created at the hospital, I found that it was best to just let the mamas find their own conversations. I keep an ear out for anything I find concerning because of accuracy. I’ll jump in and correct anything that could be dangerous.
I find that moms have different concerns on different days, so it didn’t seem to serve them well to try to guide the conversation.
If you are starting your own group, you might want to have some backup topics if moms are having a hard time connecting or finding something to talk about.
Discussion topic ideas:
- What was the first week like?
- What do you like best about breastfeeding?
- What is your biggest challenge about breastfeeding?
- Share your best tips.
- What is the most useful product you have?
- What is the least useful?
- What are some good resources?
- What is the craziest thing you’ve heard about breastfeeding?
Just hanging out with a bunch of moms can be as easy as inviting them to the park for a walk.
However, if you prefer some guidance on creating your own group, these are some books that can guide you through the process.
Motherhood is intense. Having someone to share a significant part of your motherhood journey, like breastfeeding, can help create wonderful connections with other women.
No one likes to be judged, so always remember that every mom does the best she can with the information she has. Be kind to other moms.
There will be times when you need someone to cry and laugh about things only another breastfeeding mom can. It may be a friendship that only lasts the duration of your breastfeeding journey, or it may be a lifelong relationship.
Did you have to look for your breastfeeding tribe? Where did you find other moms who are breastfeeding? Please share any tips in the comments section.
Check out my Facebook group.
Andrea Tran RN, MA, IBCLC
Andrea has been working with new families as an RN for over 35 years and a Lactation Consultant for over 25 years.
She has her MA in Health and Wellness with a focus in Lactation.