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Breastfeeding Awareness – Parenting Tips

Breastfeeding Awareness Parenting Tips #awareness #lactivist #parentingLast week I shared why it’s important for us to provide our children (even our teens) with the type of training that normalizes breastfeeding – you can read that post here. We want to prepare them to be comfortable with breastfeeding and breastfeeders. But I promised you some tips for how to do this, so here are breastfeeding awareness parenting tips – feel free to share with others so we can continue to normalize this beautiful aspect of mothering.

Breastfeeding Awareness Parenting Tips

  • Expose your children to breastfeeding mamas. Don’t shy away from them, and don’t be embarrassed to be close by when a mom is nursing her baby. My teenage boys are being taught to honor women and their bodies, and they respectfully look away from a sexually-driven ad or a scantily-clad girl. But they know that mamas’ bodies were made to feed babies, and they aren’t embarrassed by a mom feeding her baby in their presence.
  • Talk about natural birthing principles with your children (at age-appropriate times), just as you discuss any other important life thoughts. The door to discussion was opened in our home because our children attended the births of their siblings, but we’ve kept the conversation open at naturally occurring times, by talking about health and bonding issues, problems that can arise, and how my kids’ mama helps other new moms succeed in their parenting priorities. As a birth and newborn photographer, I take my daughter along to assist in newborn sessions, and when I come home from a birth, she sees the images and we talk about the highs and lows of birth and mothering together. I talk about my “day at work” with all the children, and things like the “breastfeeding crawl” are a normal part of conversation about the things in life that inspire awe in the world around us.

Breastfeeding Awareness Parenting Tips #awareness #lactivist #parenting

  • Encourage your children to be respectful of all women, but especially moms of little ones. Teach them things like door-holding, awareness of little ones on the playground, and as they are old enough to understand, how to anticipate the needs of others. My sons will jump to grab a car-seat or a diaper bag for a mom-on-the-move, and my daughter makes eye contact and has great discussions with a mom who is feeding her baby, undaunted by a natural occurrence.
  • Spend time together, as a family, with other families of all ages. We’ve found that our children relate so much better to people of all ages than many of their peers who spend most of their “social time” with other kids their own age. As a family, we do game nights and beach nights and park days with families who have children in the same season and in different seasons than theirs. We expect them to befriend both the children and the adults and not just congregate on their own. It’s in practicing those interactions that they learn to find them fun!
  • Offer to babysit, as a family, for a couple with young ones. When we had our youngest, our neighbors gave us a precious gift of an evening of babysitting for our older kids, so we could have our nursing baby all to ourselves for a little while (and take a nap!), knowing that our older children were being happily fed and entertained just a few doors away. Serving together can bless you as much as it blesses the other family, and it models for your children ways to care for little ones and to support young families.

Breastfeeding Awareness Parenting Tips #awareness #lactivist #parenting

  • Teach your daughters (and your sons!) the high honor of motherhood and fatherhood, for that matter. In a society that can sometimes knowingly, often unknowingly, denigrate the role of parenting as second-rate, show your children in word and in action that raising the next generation, beginning with breastfeeding as a beautiful and wise choice, is a vital calling, and one that should be treasured.

Do you have older children? Is raising future breastfeeding moms and dads important to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Edited title photo credit: HoboMama via photopin cc

Angela Sackett is a wife and home-educating mom of five fast-growing, once-breastfed kiddos, as well as a foodie, photographer, and speaker, but before all a daughter of the King. She’s passionate about encouraging women and especially moms, and she writes at Sal et Lux and Dancing With My Father.

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