Breastfeeding is considered a healthy and natural way to feed your baby, but it can be a lot more challenging than many women expect. Lactation consultants understand the difficulties associated with breastfeeding and offer support to expectant couples and new breastfeeding moms to help them overcome these challenges.
Research shows that more than eighty percent of U.S. mothers breastfeed their newborns, but fewer than a third will continue to breastfeed for the recommended amount of time as many women give up on breastfeeding within the first month.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding your baby for the first six months and encourages mothers to continue to breastfeed the baby for at least the first year. Even though breastfeeding is important, in addition to its nutritional and bonding benefits, new mothers sometimes find it harder than they expected to breastfeed.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can provide a number of benefits to both you and your baby. Not only does it provide an essential bonding experience between you and your child, but it also provides your baby with the vital nutrition they need to stay healthy and fight infections.
Compared to non-breastfeeding mothers, those who breastfeed have been found to have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer and are also more likely to return to their pre-pregnancy weight sooner. As well as offering many health benefits for both mother and baby, breastfeeding can also be cost-saving and convenient as it provides the ideal start for your baby’s future.
Why Use a Lactation Consultant?
Breastfeeding is a learned skill that requires practice, patience, and perseverance. During the learning stages of breastfeeding, it can be a frustrating, uncomfortable, and emotional journey for some women. Other factors such as premature birth and poor milk supply can also contribute to feeding difficulties. But even when you are not making enough milk, have sore nipples, or have a baby who struggles to latch on, this does not mean that you must call it quits.
Lactation consultants are dedicated healthcare professionals who specialize in breastfeeding. They have received advanced training and hold a special certification to train new moms to breastfeed their baby successfully throughout all the ups and downs that can come with nursing.
Recent studies have reported that by enlisting the help of lactation consultants (like La Leche League breastfeeding support), the number of women choosing to breastfeed their babies measurably increased. It also influenced more women to breastfeed their babies exclusively and boosted overall breastfeeding rates.
How Can a Lactation Consultant Help?
A lactation consultant doesn’t just support mothers with newborns, but they also provide prenatal education and preparation for expecting couples, as well as helping mothers who experience breastfeeding difficulties further down the line.
When you are expecting your baby, a lactation consultant can help you prepare for breastfeeding, both mentally and physically. They can let you know what to expect with breastfeeding, and how to overcome specific problems that may arise. They can also assist with the practicalities such as breastfeeding advice on how to hold your baby during feedings, or how to use a breast pump.
After your baby is born, a lactation consultant can support you in many ways, particularly with common breastfeeding problems including:
- Nursing positions, including how to nurse following a C-section
- Poor milk supply.
- Cluster-feeding (when a baby wants to feed for prolonged periods).
- Any emotional/physical barriers to breastfeeding, such as postpartum depression.
- Babies who do not gain sufficient weight.
- Babies who fall asleep during feedings.
- Babies who refuse to breastfeed.
- Equipment recommendations to help with feeding, such as nursing pillows
A lactation consultant works with you directly to develop a personalized solution to overcome a variety of different breastfeeding challenges. Babies may lack the ability to suck, swallow, or breathe successfully due to issues such as premature birth, a physical, developmental, or neurological condition. Your consultant can support and guide you through challenges such as these.
Lactation Center in Palm Harbor, Trinity, and Westchase, Florida
If you would like to know more about how a lactation consultant can support you, or about the benefits of breastfeeding your baby, contact the experienced lactation consultants at Children’s Medical Center. We are dedicated to helping new moms breastfeed their babies successfully and can offer you the personalized support you need.
Children’s Medical Center is open seven days a week and provides comprehensive and compassionate pediatric care in a nurturing and convenient environment. We offer a variety of services for patients from birth to 18 years, including routine well-child checks, urgent care, and same-day sick visits.
If you would like to learn more about our lactation center or any of our other services, contact us at one of our four convenient office locations.