Most mums want to try breastfeeding, as it is the most natural way to feed their baby and build a bond. But, it doesn’t always come easily, which can lead to feelings of sadness and frustration.
Luckily, there are experts who can help you with the process and ensure that your baby is fed and happy. So, who are they, and how do they help?
Lactation or Breastfeeding Consultants
Breastfeeding is sometimes a bit challenging for new mums, and sadly, this is why most women give this up in the first month of their baby's life, even though it is recommended to feed your baby this way for at least six months.
Breastfeeding can be tricky, especially if a correct latch is not being formed, if your nipples are sore, or if there is an issue with making the milk itself. This is where a professional lactation consultant – like IBCLC – comes in handy, as they have the expertise to ease this process and ensure that you and your baby are happy and healthy.
What do Breastfeeding Consultants do?
Breastfeeding consultants help new mothers identify and work their way around a number of issues that can arise when feeding their babies.
Some of the most common problems they help with include identifying why there is a low milk supply, helping your baby hit weight milestones, and solving issues with the baby refusing to latch – infants really do have minds of their own, and sometimes they can be a bit stubborn!
These breastfeeding experts can also help mothers with premature babies who may have issues with feeding due to poorer coordination with sucking and swallowing.
When to Call a Breastfeeding Consultant
The best time to call a breastfeeding consultant is when you are expecting your baby. They can help you physically and mentally prepare for the process of breastfeeding.
They will sometimes bring weighted dolls to help you practice holding the baby in different positions, show you how to use both manual and electric breast pumps, and will also help your partner get involved.
However, do not feel worried about asking for help with breastfeeding after your baby is born. Your midwife will be able to put you in touch with a breastfeeding specialist if you're having problems.
Many mums can feel a bit awkward talking about breastfeeding, but don’t worry! Breastfeeding consultants are medically trained healthcare professionals who are comfortable discussing any subject you want to talk about.
Please be as open as you can, and if you are happy for them to do so, you may even have your breasts examined by your consultant for signs of infection or to show you how to best position the baby when feeding. They will likely ask questions that may take you back, but remember, don’t feel embarrassed; they are trying to help.
Finding a Breastfeeding Consultant
Many of these consultants work alone or through hospitals and doctor’s surgeries. If you are part of a mum’s group, ask around for the other new mums’ advice on which specialist they found helpful. Or, as mentioned earlier, ask your midwife or doctor for a referral – they will be in touch with a number of different breastfeeding experts who can assist.