Originally Posted on The Family Room Blog
When I first started attending breastfeeding support groups back in 2004, with the birth of my first child, it was common to see that the adult attendance was restricted to mothers or mothers-to-be. The reason for this was that when support groups dedicated to breastfeeding were popping up across the US in the 1950s and 1960s, there was a great deal of concern about creating a protected space where mothers who were learning how to breastfeed would be able to do so without feeling self conscious about exposing their breasts in front of men. Things have changed in the years since those first groups started and it’s become apparent that nursing works best when everyone around the nursing dyad understands how best to support them.
Consequently, while there are still support groups around town that restrict attendance to mothers or mothers-to-be and their children, the support group at The Family Room does not. Breastfeeding works best, and families are most likely to reach their feeding goals, when families support each other as a team, and all members are educated and supported by their chosen lactation support personnel. In some families, that means helping Dad work beyond his concerns by addressing his fears, and teaching him constructive ways to support Mom and baby through the challenging early days of breastfeeding. For other families it means teaching Mom’s wife how helpful it can be to have a second set of eyes looking for ways to adjust a latch to make it less painful. It can mean helping a transgender Dad and his husband become comfortable with, and develop their own method for navigating chestfeeding sessions with a supplemental nursing system. Or, it can mean supporting a breastfeeding parent and baby learning to nurse as a new family of two.
All family members deserve to be supported through their concerns that accompany those early days of nursing and to be empowered with information on how to navigate the bumps in the road. All support persons who make up a nursing dyad’s family are welcome to attend our no-cost support groups at The Family Room.
Breastfeeding Support at The Family Room is facilitated by Sara Dale-Bley, IBCLC.