There are many “breastfeeding experts” out there! Everyone has an opinion on what you should or shouldn’t do, how long your baby should feed for, both breasts or one, whether to take baby off the breast or let them suckle until they fall asleep……sound familiar?
The truth is – there is no “right” way to feed YOUR baby. It is very individual to each mother and baby relationship and one that should be treated that way.
The birth of motherhood is SO overwhelming! You have planned for this baby, set up the nursery, bought all the essentials, attended “childbirth” classes, read a heap of books and BANG! Just like that you are a mum!! You have a whirlwind couple of nights in hospital or have your midwife with you at home for a few hours after birthing this precious bundle of joy! And then what……?!
The first few weeks on becoming mum can be the most rewarding, exciting, traumatic and overwhelming time you will ever experience. The love and devotion you feel is immense, counter balanced with sleep deprivation, hormones, the huge sense of responsibility and then the reality and monotony of having something so dependent on you 24/7!
Many “breastfeeding experts” know one way to feed a baby. They TELL you what to do, what worked for them, what you should do, share their opinion and often leave you feeling overwhelmed, guilty and confused.
This is where an IBCLC can help. An IBCLC is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. IBCLC’s have extensive training and experience in all things Breastfeeding! (expand?)
They will LISTEN to your concerns, and provide you with a full assessment. This includes taking a full history about pregnancy, labour and birth, previous feeding experiences, breast changes in puberty and pregnancy, medical issues and your expectations BEFORE even assessing a breastfeed! They will check your baby’s oral anatomy and suck function, observe your baby’s tone, and “behaviuour” at the breast and watch a breastfeed. They will assess how your baby sucks and swallows at the breast and how much milk they transfer at the breast. They will support and guide you through your challenges.
Sometimes it can be as simple as changing the position that baby comes to the breast, or how you hold your baby at the breast, and they can teach you how to get your baby to open their mouth wider and achieve a deeper attachment, and sometimes it can be far more complex and require weeks of working together, brainstorming, trying different techniques, and giving you individualized support to set realistic goals for you to achieve your goals.