I am an athletic supporter! I LOVE college football (GO BOISE STATE!) and really enjoyed going to any type of sporting event in school. I love soccer. However, I am not a big athlete. NOPE! Even when I was younger and loved soccer, throwing a baseball, and if I do say so myself- had a killer serve in volleyball- I was never what I would consider an "athlete."
I still understand the games, appreciate them, enjoy seeing the advertisements, watching the ratings, and have a little fun taunting with my friends though. I love seeing our home team challenge the system, the United States take some gold and silver medals, and seeing the world unite over the Olympic Games.
You don't have to do something to support it. Just like I support athletics, but am not an athlete. My friends supported me as a musician/singer in school, even though they did not play an instrument or sing in the choir. So let me say it again- YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO SUPPORT IT!
While I do care if someone chooses to breastfeed- I understand that not every mom will. I do hope though, that every mom, husband, family member will choose to support breastfeeding- even if they do not breastfeed.
What is support? So many people say they "support" breastfeeding. What do they mean? In my opinion- supporting breastfeeding is more than not giving dirty looks to someone nursing in public.
When I think of the word support, I think of bras. I know- strange- but I do. First, you have the training bra- that is comparable to that which I just mentioned- you don't give dirty looks at someone who is breastfeeding in public, or you don't lead them into booby traps. You aren't discouraging, but you could do more.
Next, you have a simple bra- no underwire- soft cup. Very comfortable but still leaves you flopping around when you need the best support possible. I would compare this to those that who really urge breastfeeding, but then come back and say things like "start solids early", "you are nursing too often", "if it doesn't work out then just switch to formula", or "formula fed babies sleep better at night." A lot of times they bring up wives tales, make the mom feel like any struggle is her fault, they don't support breastfeeding past a year, and more. They don't understand why a mom would not leave her breastfed baby for a week, tell them to pump and let others give a bottle to bond- not understanding how it will effect the breastfeeding relationship.
One of the most wonderful inventions was the underwire- Add that to a firmer cup and you have a pretty supportive bra. This is the friend who, no matter what her feeding preference, will support you, look up answers to your nursing issues for you, tell you how proud she is of you. This is the husband, like Disney Daddy, who comforts you when you are crying from feeling like all you are is a big breast or milk sac to your child, tells you how proud they are, how much they appreciate what you are doing for your child and lets you know that you can do it. This is the pediatrician who reminds you the benefits of breastfeeding, lets you know that your child is healthy- even if they are smaller than a formula fed baby- and tells you to keep breastfeeding until you and child are ready to wean when your child is already 18 months old. This is true support.
I like to call myself an athletic supporter. Whether you like the term supporter, fan, encourager- whatever, I hope that you will find yourself being a breastfeeding supporter.
At the same time- I hope that moms will support each other in general. I would much rather a mother feed her child formula then have her child starve. I would prefer a mom who can not exclusively breastfeed supplement knowing she is still giving her little one the benefits of breastfeeding then feel like a failure. I hope everyone learns that the important thing is to support each other in being the best parent we can be.