New mothers experience a lot of pressure and anxiety around how they feed their newborns when any doctor will tell you that, at the end of the day, fed is best. That being said, it’s also true that, when possible, breastfeeding offers a number of lasting benefits for both mother and baby, which is why experts recommend breastfeeding for the first year of life. Still, it’s not always easy to do that successfully – and that’s where lactation consultants come in.
Start Before Birth
If you’ve ever looked at a baby registry, then you have a sense of the countless items that parents need to get ready for the baby’s arrival. Well, now it’s time to add something else to the list: a meeting with a lactation consultant. Just like you should select a pediatrician before your child is born, you should also book a first meeting with a lactation consultant. They can help you identify your goals, make recommendations, and ensure you feel as prepared as possible before your child is born.
Ditch The Myths
One of the major advantages of working with a lactation consultant is that they can help you avoid falling prey to some of the common misconceptions about breastfeeding that make the process harder for new mothers. For example, many women believe that they have to breastfeed exclusively in order to be successful and that they can’t even use pacifiers because it can lead to “nipple confusion.” There’s also a lot of confusion about the safety of drinking while breastfeeding, the causes of difficulty latching on, and much more.
Even if you can ignore the myths about breastfeeding that complicate things for new mothers, you may still encounter other challenges that a lactation consultant can help you solve, and consultations may even be covered by your insurance. They can help you relieve pain from engorgement and clogged milk ducts, provide solutions for feeding premature infants or handling feedings with multiples, and even help you successfully and safely feed infants with developmental or physical disabilities that can complicate feeding.
Don’t Wait For Problems
As with so many supports, mothers often assume they can’t or shouldn’t seek out the services of a lactation consultant unless they’re actively having problem breastfeeding, but that’s not actually true. In fact, reaching out to a lactation consultant before you have difficulties can actually be a good idea because it can keep you from becoming frustrated and discouraged.
Lactation consultants want to help you enjoy the breastfeeding process as much as possible since that will make it more rewarding and make you more likely to continue doing so. On the other hand, if you wait to contact a lactation consultant until after you’ve become frustrated and anxious, you may find you have a hard time escaping those negative feelings.
When you work with a lactation consultant, you can trust that they’re your ally in the process of feeding your baby and, in the process, developing a deeper bond. This isn’t something you have to do alone – so why struggle solo when there are professionals ready to help?