Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to bond with your child, but for some new moms, it can also be a highly stressful experience. There are many factors that can affect your ability to breastfeed. If you’re finding that you have struggles breastfeeding your baby or any other related issues, it may be time to see a lactation consultant or a lactation counselor, contact WIC through the Department of Agriculture, or attend a free breastfeeding support group.
- A lactation consultant, IBCLC (International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant), is a board-certified specialist in infant nutrition and breastfeeding. A lactation consultant goes through more education and rigorous testing to be board certified. Lactation consultants are available to help you at most hospitals and birthing centers, as well as many private practice offices.
- You can also consult with a CLEC (or CLC) Certified Lactation Educator Counselor, who is educated in basic breastfeeding information and trained to educate, encourage, and assist mothers and babies, and support people.
- The Department of Agriculture provides WIC Peer Support and Breastfeeding Support. “All WIC staff are trained to give the support you and your baby need. WIC staff will speak with you about your breastfeeding goals. They can help you figure out how to make breastfeeding work for you. They’ll explain WIC’s breastfeeding support and assign you a food package that meets your supplemental nutritional needs.”
- Breastfeeding support groups are frequently provided by hospitals, and organizations, like La Leche League, and private practices. The free meetings are run by either an IBCLC, a CLEC, or someone trained by La Leche League who can help you sort out any questions or concerns you may have about breastfeeding. Lactation consultants are available to help you at most hospitals and birthing centers, as well as many private practice offices
If you’re finding that you’re struggling to breastfeed your baby, it may be time to get some help.
COMMON BREASTFEEDING STRUGGLES:
- Sore or damaged nipples
- Breast pain
- Poor Latch
- Sleepy Baby
- Excessive weight loss in babies after birth
- Milk Supply issues
- Plugged milk ducts
- Lack of education or knowledge about breastfeeding
- Lack of support
Tips & Tricks for Overcoming Breastfeeding Challenges
- Using warm, moist heat before you feed or pump can trigger the let-down reflex and helps the milk flow. Using cold compresses after feeding or pumping can reduce edema from engorgement and relieve pain.
- Using a combination of heat and massage can increase the flow and also unplug clogged milk ducts. La Vie 3 in 1 lactation massager does both
- If you tend to leak from the other breast while feeding on one side, Milkies milk saver can be a lifesaver and help you collect that precious milk.
- Sore, chapped, or damaged nipples? Hydrogel pads are both soothing and promote skin healing.
- Low milk supply? Liquid Gold by Legendairy Milk can help.
SOMETIMES IT’S EASIER TO STAY HOME AND GET HELP
Video Calls – If you’d rather not leave home to get help, an online video consultation can be a great option. It’s convenient and anonymous, so you can ask questions without feeling self-conscious or judged. Plus, the lactation consultant will be able to see your baby’s feeding patterns on the screen and give real-time advice based on what they see.
Home Visits – Some independent lactation consultants or counselors will do home visits. These usually cost a bit more out of pocket but, if you can afford it, the convenience and help are priceless.
WHEN IN DOUBT, SEEK HELP!
I like to say, “When in doubt, seek help!” Most of the moms I speak to on the phone can be helped with some simple suggestions or resources. Some might not even need to see a lactation consultant. They might just need to visit a support group or get suggestions over the phone. They often feel very alone and at a loss. These feelings are totally normal after having a new baby. Feeling overwhelmed is just part of being a new mom. It feels hard, because it is hard!
Don’t wait too long before seeking help from a lactation consultant or another qualified professional who specializes in breastfeeding issues. Things don’t usually get better by hoping they’ll get better or ignoring the problem or giving up. Often simple changes, resources or information can make a world of difference in your breastfeeding journey.
BASIC KNOWLEDGE CAN EASE YOUR MIND
Breastfeed your baby 8-12 or more times every 24 hours.
If you’re unable to breastfeed, pump or hand express 8 times (generally, the same times every day) in a 24-hour period.
Count the Diapers to Know Baby is Getting Enough:
• DAY 1: Poop is black, tar-like, size of a quarter – 1 wet diaper & 1 poopy diaper
• Day 2: Poop is black/ dark green/brown – 2 wet diapers & 2 poopy diapers
• Day 3: Poop may be greenish, brown, mustardy – 3 wet diapers & 3 poopy diapers
• Day 4: Poop is brown, mustardy, yellow, has milk curds – 4 wet diapers & 4 poopy diapers
• Day 5: Poop is yellow – 5 wet diapers & 5 poopy diapers
• Day 7 – 3 months. Count the diapers: 1-3+ poopy diapers, 6-8 wet diapers daily
If you’re having trouble breastfeeding, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be for both of you. If you have any questions about whether your baby is getting enough milk or if there are any other issues with your breastfeeding experience, don’t hesitate–get in touch with one of these experts today!
In San Diego County you can find lactation help through the San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition.