As a Lactation Consultant, I’ve seen a lot of different breastfeeding challenges, and they all have different management protocols. But there is one rule that can transform your breastfeeding experience no matter what challenges you might face. This one rule is the secret to breastfeeding success! Without internalizing this simple rule, it will be hard to reach your breastfeeding goals. Keep reading to learn my number one breastfeeding rule!
If you’re a pregnant mom planning on breastfeeding, you’ve probably read a thousand books and blog posts about what to do and what not to do when breastfeeding. All the information can be pretty overwhelming and sometimes even conflicting.
But there is one rule that every breastfeeding mom needs to memorize, and never ever forget if she’s going to reach her breastfeeding goals.
It is so common for me to meet with a mom who’s baby is a few months old and she’s ready to give up breastfeeding. She’s upset and frustrated. It’s not uncommon for a mother to tell me her pediatrician told her there were no issues, her friends brushed off her cries for help, and she felt “crazy” for finding breastfeeding so challenging because everyone told her she was fine.
Not only have I worked with these moms, I was this mom. Even the IBCLC I worked with told me there were no issues and to just quit breastfeeding if it was that hard for me.
This is why I have developed this important rule for every new mom to memorize.
Listen to your gut and get the support you deserve.
God gave your baby to YOU because you know your baby best, and you know better than any friend, doctor, or lactation consultant if there’s an issue. You are the expert on your baby. No expert knows your baby better than you do.
If breastfeeding is important to you, and your support system is encouraging you to quit instead of helping you troubleshoot and problem solve, you need to create a new support system.
What does breastfeeding support look like?
A breastfeeding friendly pediatrician:
Most pediatricians will claim to be breastfeeding friendly, but in practice, many are not the best resource for breastfeeding mothers. The best pediatricians are the ones who put in the effort to obtain extra training on breastfeeding and who know when to refer to a lactation consultant! If your pediatrician doesn’t refer you to a lactation consultant, ask them for the name of one before taking any advice that could negatively impact breastfeeding.
A breastfeeding savvy partner:
Your partner will be the person by your side day in and day out watching you struggle and trying to help you reach your goals. If breastfeeding is a challenge, it can be very helpful for your partner to have a solid understanding of breastfeeding so that their desire to help you doesn’t manifest itself as breastfeeding sabotage.
Better yet, your partner can help you find a lactation consultant when that feels like a necessary but daunting task.
Your partner can learn more about breastfeeding by taking a breastfeeding class with you, talking to other dads of breastfed babies, and reading books about breastfeeding (like La Leche League’s The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding).
A good IBCLC -
There are so many different levels of lactation support out there. IBCLCs are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who are trained to troubleshoot simple and complex breastfeeding challenges.
Hospital IBCLC - IBCLCs in the hospital are a valuable resource. Having a breastfeeding expert help you from day one can really set you up for success in reaching your goals. But there are some drawbacks.
Some nursing challenges don’t present themselves until a few days after your baby is born
Lactation Consultants in the hospital don’t have as much time to do a full work up, exam, etc. Having a high patient load means that moms might not get the time and attention they really need depending on their situation
IBCLC at pediatrican’s office - Some pediatricians have an IBCLC in house that patients can see. This is an amazing resource and a great way to make sure all families have access to this specialized support. Unfortuately, similar to a hospital Lactation Consultant, LCs in a pediatrician office may have limited time to spend with each family.
Home Visit IBCLC - IBCLCs who offer home visits often spend a little more time with the breastfeeding mom and breastfeeding baby, observing them in their natural environment, and have the best chance to successfully help a mom troubleshoot her breastfeeding challenges. Home IBCLCs can offer virtual support as well which often provides access to breastfeeding support when in-person support is not available. What is a “good” lactation consultant? It’s one who takes the time to hear your needs, and involves you in finding the solution!
Remember the rule for breastfeeding success?
Listen to your gut and get the support you deserve.
If your pediatrician or IBCLC is not providing you with the support you need, it’s OKAY to find a new one, or get a second opinion! Sometimes you have to hunt for good support. And no new mom has time for that… but that’s where that helpful partner comes in!
Remember, MamaBear! You call the shots! Your doctors and lactation consultants work for you. If your support team is not supporting you, it’s okay to keep looking! You owe nothing to anyone except your baby and yourself. Too often, moms have a tendency to feel a loyalty toward their providers, and are scared to seek a second opinion or find someone new. Don’t let this sense of loyalty prevent you from finding the help you need.
If you are still pregnant and hoping for a positive breastfeeding experience, get started by enrolling in Breastfeeding With Confidence, an on-demand breastfeeding course for pregnant moms!
Jaimie Zaki is a doula and lactation consultant offering prenatal and postpartum support for fierce mama bears! Jaimie offers on-demand, online childbirth preparation classes and online breastfeeding classes. Jaimie also offers one to one virtual support for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
Jaimie has breastfed her three children, each over a year, through many breastfeeding challenges including tongue ties, thrush, mastitis, and more. Jaimie has supported countless families in creating plans for reaching their breastfeeding goals. If you’re looking for someone to guide you through breastfeeding, enroll now in Breastfeeding With Confidence, and be sure to schedule a virtual one-to-one prenatal breastfeeding support visit with Jaimie to create your breastfeeding plan. Baby already here? Jaimie offers virtual lactation support visits to help troubeshoot breastfeeding and find a solution to your breastfeeding challenges.
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