Support to Overcome the challenges of breastfeeding
If I had a dollar for every time I have heard this from other moms, grandmas, aunts, and friends, I would yes, be richer, but probably still be doing lactation consultation because I love what I do. When I am asked what I do for a living, the person will almost always have this puzzled look on their face and say “Hmmm, you mean moms and babies need help with breastfeeding? I thought breastfeeding was just… natural.” My typical response usually goes something like, “well breastfeeding is natural but not all babies and moms have it all figured out. If breastfeeding happened naturally for all moms and babies I would be out of a job as a lactation consultant and that would be a bad thing because I really love what I do.” “Hmmm, you mean moms and babies need help with breastfeeding? I thought breastfeeding was just… natural.”
Why is the notion of breastfeeding being “natural” a common assumption amongst many new moms and their families? One research study found that 1 in 3 women will be struggling by postpartum day 3. By day 3 most new moms are home from the hospital and their milk is starting to come in. That can change everything. Moms can get engorged which can lead to a bad latch and sore cracked nipples. Moms often think they should just “tough it out” and it will get better. “Toughing it out” sure doesn’t sound fun to me.
There are lots of resources for moms to get help. Many hospitals have breastfeeding help lines or outpatient help. Some OB and pediatric practices have lactation consultants on staff in their practices. There are also lactation consultants, such as myself, that are in private practice and can see families in the office setting and/or make home lactation visits. Many of the moms I take care of report that getting help in the comfort of their own home, their own personal habitat with their own set up, made all the difference in the world to successful breastfeeding. In some cases, private practice lactation consultants can even do virtual e-consults to help moms. LeLeche League is another place mothers can seek breastfeeding help.
Regardless of where moms seek help, the most important thing is to reach out early when problems first arise. I and many lactation consultants don’t want your “dollar” for what could have been. We are ready and willing to help you and your baby now and would be honored to walk with you in your breastfeeding journey.
By Stacy Notestine RN, IBCLC