What have you heard about breastfeeding?
It's painful. It's embarrassing. Breastfed babies don't get enough milk. You can't go back to work if you breastfeed. Formula-fed babies are just as healthy as breastfed babies.
If this is what you've heard, you might be surprised to learn that these are all not true. As you get ready for the arrival of your new baby, a lactation consultant can teach you just how simple, convenient, and beneficial breastfeeding really is.
Lactation consultants — usually women — are trained specialists who work with you to prepare for breastfeeding. You'll learn how to tell when your baby is hungry, and how to help her latch on to your breast.
After the baby arrives, a consultant can also help you solve any nursing-related concerns, whether it's sore nipples or breast engorgement.
Nursing problems are most common in the first few weeks, as mother and baby work out the kinks. The most common complaints new moms have are sore nipples and worries about low milk supply.
Having a lactation consultant watch you breastfeed can help identify problems with positioning or latch. She will teach you different techniques to deal with problems like pain or soreness.
Consultants are available even before the baby is born, and on into toddlerhood. Ask your primary care provider or your child's doctor about lactation services.
When to Call a Consultant
Individual consultation is recommended for some women. Depending on the issue, women may want to call before or after the birth.
Before the birth
- Had a bad past breastfeeding experience
- Had breast surgery in the past
- Have inverted or very flat nipples, tubular or very unevenly shaped breasts
- Are at risk for early delivery
- Expect twins or triplets
After the birth
- Want to talk about their needs or concerns about breastfeeding
- Are having problems with nursing
- Have babies that are premature or babies with conditions like Down syndrome or cleft palate
- Aren't producing enough milk