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The Support Women Need

I ran across this article from the CDC today:

Breastfeeding practices: does method of delivery matter?

Maybe you are like me, you want the researchers to say it doesn’t matter.  In part, they did.  It turns out there is no difference in initiation of breastfeeding.  It’s just that women who have an induction or a cesarean are less likely to breastfeed to 4 weeks and to 6 months.

There may be many reasons this happens.  In the hospital, the nurses are trained to offer help and support.  While it may not be perfect, it is something. For many women this may be the most help they get.  Some women may feel the need to switch to formula to go back to work.  Other women may have felt pressured into breastfeeding and just not like it.

But it made me wonder, how many of the women who stop by four weeks feeling as if breastfeeding just never “worked.” How many of those women would have felt it a blessing to have another woman offer support and guidance – as little as some words of comfort or encouragement.

Then it made me wonder, how many of our churches have a structure that encourages women to provide that support to each other.  The first four weeks after giving birth, some women might resume church or small group quickly, but not all of them. I wonder what forms this type of support could take…

  • As part of a meal train
  • Providing play dates for older children
  • Help with household chores
  • A phone call to see how she is doing

Many options, possibly it could work best for some churches to combine multiple efforts. Maybe the real problem is how to be sure the support is provided, without new families feeling bombarded?

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas and childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student in a nursing program learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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