From our recent family vacation to Portugal I discovered some interesting facts about my husband’s family when it comes to breastfeeding. My daughter is three and she nurses, and I was slightly concerned when meeting all of the family how they would react to my daughter still breastfeeding. I was so thrilled with their response. They gave me numerous comments about how good of a mother I was, and how healthy breastfeeding was for our daughter. Then, to our surprise, we found out that my husband’s Uncle nursed until he was seven and then another relative nursed until he was six. They would tell us this with pride. It made me feel good to hear how accepting and even encouraging his family was on this topic. It is not common practice for most mothers in Portugal to nurse for that long anymore, just as in our culture new “modern” ways of parenting are being introduced. However, we did find their culture as a whole was more accepting and not as alarmed if they did catch a glimpse of a breast. For example, their beaches are mostly topless, so the site of a human breast did not send the men over the edge. There were breasts of every size and shape and it was “no big deal”. To tell you the truth, I was actually concerned at how my daughter would react at the beach. I thought she may point and say “nurses” every time she saw a new set of breasts, but she didn’t. It seemed perfectly normal to her too. I found it quite interesting to notice the difference in cultures during our visit. The cultures were different as well as alike in so many ways, even when it came down to breastfeeding.
Some mothers in the beginning of their nursing relationship find it necessary to wear nursing pads to prevent a milk leakage from embarrassing them. It can be quite embarrassing as a new mom to be shopping in the grocery store and hear another child cry. That causes your milk to let down and there you are with wet spots in very conspicuous places!
Other mothers may have an overabundant milk supply and need to use nursing pads on a regular basis. Not all mothers require the use of nursing pads, and they aren’t necessary in many instances while you’re at home. It’s best to let air circulate and keep your nipples as dry as possible.
When choosing nursing pads, avoid those with plastic lining. These prevent air from circulating and can hold bacteria. They trap the moisture near the mother. Disposable pads also contribute to the landfill issues. It is a much better choice to find nursing pads that are cotton or hemp. They can easily be washed with warm water and soap along with your other laundry. They are more comfortable, cleaner, and reusable.
Hemp is a great choice for nursing pads because they are resistant to bacteria. Hemp, in most instances, is grown with the use of little or no pesticides and chemicals. They are soft, stain resistant and durable. This makes hemp nursing pads an excellent choice.
For the frugal mom, you can make your own nursing pads. You can use cloth pre-fold diapers cut into circles and sewn together. Experiment with scrap fabric you may have available, find what works for you. Be careful to avoid fabric with strong dyes and synthetic materials. Remember that organic hemp and cotton would make the best choice.
Contact your local La Leche League for breastfeeding support!
I was happy to hear that breastfeeding made the local news. The facts are overwhelming in support of exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months of life. This benefits the mother and child in so many ways.
View the new AAP recommendations here:
AAP releases revises breastfeeding recommendations