While breastfeeding is an incredibly natural process, it can still be difficult sometimes to figure out what’s normal and what’s not. If you’re having trouble breastfeeding your newborn, you’re not alone—your baby isn’t the only one learning how to breastfeed! And luckily, lactation consultants are available to help walk you and your little one through any issues you might be having.
Read on to learn five reasons every new parent should see a lactation consultant as soon as possible.
#1 - You know you want to breastfeed
Breastfeeding is natural but may not always come easy. Learn what is and isn't normal BEFORE your baby arrives. Breastfeeding is one of the most important things you can do for your baby. It's also not always easy. There's a lot to learn and practice in order to breastfeed successfully, which is why it's important to see a lactation consultant. A lactation consultant is an expert in the mother-baby duo. Our job is to help you manage any issues that come up so that you can continue to breastfeed comfortably. You want to make sure that everything is going well for both of you after birth.
#2 - You want to breast & bottle feed
If bottle-feeding is a part of your plan. Learn how to do both successfully. A lot of women want their babies to get used to both breast milk as well as be able to take a bottle so they can prepare for when they go back to work or leave them with someone else for an extended period of time. If this is something that you would like to do, then seeing a lactation consultant will help ensure that you know how to properly bottle feed so that your baby will still receive all of the nutrients they need, while also learning how to take bottles from someone else without difficulty. With so many options advertised a lactation consultant can help with choosing the right bottle for your baby.
#3 - You are in pain
Breastfeeding should NOT hurt. You deserve support and information.
Many mothers have the same questions and concerns that you do. If you have never breastfed before, it can be confusing and frustrating to try to figure out what is normal and what is not normal for your body. Many women feel that they are doing something wrong if their milk supply is low or if their baby isn't gaining weight as quickly as they should be. An experienced lactation consultant can help you understand what is going on with your body (or baby) and help you find ways to get things back on track.
You want someone who understands your unique situation. Your doctor or midwife might be able to give you some basic advice about how often to feed your baby and how often they should poop, but they may not be able to give you personalized advice that takes into account all of the factors affecting your situation — factors like medication use or a history of depression or anxiety issues in pregnancy or postpartum period). A lactation consultant will help you figure out what works best for YOUR unique situation so that when it comes time.
#4 - You are not sure how you want to feed your baby
Breastfeeding is a natural process that can seem complicated and overwhelming at times. Many women feel confident about breastfeeding, but others may need some help. If you are considering breastfeeding, it is important to know that there are many options available to you. We can answer questions related to bottle selection, breastfeeding positions, low milk supply, and creating a back to school/work plan. If you are on the fence, other alternatives are available such as exclusively pumping or combo feeding (breast and bottle). We can explore whatever will work best for you and your baby.
#5 - Your baby is struggling
If your baby is struggling to feed and you’re feeling isolated, a lactation consultant can be a valuable resource.
Here are some signs your baby may be struggling to breast and/or bottle feed:
Baby is really sleepy at the breast
You hear a clicking sound
Feedings are too long or too short
Latching is painful
Baby is not producing enough wet/dirty diapers
Baby isn't gaining weight
Clicking on the bottle
Losing milk from the sides of the mouth
Chewing or munching on the bottle nipple
Choking or coughing while taking a bottle
Feedings are too long or too short
Fussy when attempting to offer the bottle
Feeding your baby is one of the greatest decisions you will make at the start of your parenthood journey. While well-meaning, friends, family, and others (including healthcare providers), may have thoughts on feeding your baby, a lactation consultant is your go-to person as the expert.
As an infant feeding expert, I'd love to help you along your journey. Click here to get all of your questions answered.
About the author: Kellie Green is a certified and licensed Speech Pathologist, as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), who specializes in infant feeding. She operates a private practice in Columbus, OH, Green Living & Wellness.