Kristy provides support for pregnant and laboring mothers and for transitioning families after the birth of their baby.See all posts »
Finding Breastfeeding Support
We all know that breastfeeding is best for baby.
I'm sure just hearing this has already sparked some emotion in some of you. It may not be a possibility for all mothers to breastfeed. There are several reasons why: illness, prior breast surgery, if you are receiving radiation treatment or chemotherapy, on certain medications, have a drug or alcohol addiction, or are a smoker are some of the top reasons that may inhibit breastfeeding ability. And while many mothers certainly cannot breastfeed, there are still some of you mamas out there who are struggling or even thinking you can't, but you can.
This absolutely is a hot topic. Speaking with a room full of new nursing mothers recently I found that a lot of the emotion sparked comes from mamas afraid they are not doing enough for their babies and are feeling judged. There is a lot of anxiety around the issue, and many women feel uncomfortable with breastfeeding or while getting it situated accurately. These things can make breastfeeding more difficult as well. As my group of mamas dove deeper into the issues I found that all of the mothers were doing the best they knew how and could for their babies. As we continued talking, however, I noticed that these particular moms were not being truly heard by the professionals helping them.
The aid of a professional can be a welcomed support. A good certified lactation consultant can do wonders! But here is the kicker: sometimes it takes going through many to find the right one to really help you get to where you desire. Four out of the 12 women whom I sat and talked with went to at least two to four different lactation consultants, or so they had thought. Some of the consultants were nurses who had brief trainings in breastfeeding support. As you may find out , everyone has something to say about breastfeeding and the "right" way to do it. There are a plethora of wonderful professional with great intentions of helping, but not all may know the many varieties of holds for breastfeeding and have all the tricks of the trade to offer from their trainings and years of experience.
We may not know all the ins and outs of caring for a baby and breastfeeding. No one is expected to and really, no one can. What makes the difference is that when you feel like you don't have the answer, you research and find answers. More than that, you search outside of the "normal" routes and avenues that you are familiar with. Some of the best methods for helping with newborn care, breastfeeding, and parenting may not be the most advertised or the standard practice. Recommendations from parents who are accomplishing what we desire or whom we admire, are some of the best resources for finding out about a good thing! Don't be shy. Ask these mamas for recommendations. Most likely they will be thrilled to assist you. Also, try asking some midwives and doulas for referrals and assistance. These woman are tied into the full community of pre-and-post-natal care and may be trained lactation consultants themselves.
I find often that when a mom thinks she can't do it, we soon find that it just takes some self esteem building, some education, relaxation techniques, and a lot of practice to find her way to successful breastfeeding.
Here are resources to help you in your breastfeeding journey:
To Find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant anywhere in the world go to www.ilca.org (International Lactation Consultant Organization)
Low Milk Supply and other Breastfeeding Issues:
General Breastfeeding Help
Breastfeeding after Breast Reduction and other procedures
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