July 26 2013
My Lactation Life Saver
How a lactation consultant saved my breastfeeding relationship
It’s been almost a year and a half since the Sunday afternoon that I met Deb. Deb is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and was the most influential and supportive person I met on my breastfeeding journey. I only knew her for two hours, but that was all the time it took to get my daughter and I on the right page (or right latch in this case).
My labour and delivery at a Baby Friendly hospital was smooth. We were in an optimal setting to succeed at breastfeeding; natural childbirth, immediate skin-to-skin, latching within an hour, rooming in, breastfeeding support during our stay (from the nurses). My daughter was peeing and pooping like a champ so the staff was thrilled. Still, something was not right. Within twelve hours, my nipples were cracked. It was painful, but I had understood there is an adjustment period so I tried not to be stressed.
At home two days later I had a screaming baby who was refusing my breast and a bleeding nipple that felt more painful than my unmedicated birth! My desire and determination to breastfeed was strong, but I was getting scared. I hated the idea that my baby was hungry. Luckily for me, my mother (see why she is so amazing here!) was with me during my birth and on hand those first few days after. She took the initiative to google IBCLC’s in the Montreal area and Deb was available that afternoon.
She was calm and confident. She oozed with experience and expertise and I felt at ease with her. She watched my daughter and I latch and suggested a position I had not come across in the many books and articles I’d read about breastfeeding. She introduced us to the reclining/self-attaching position, in which I recline and place Adèle on my chest and let her initiate the latch. There was something magic in that position for us. Deb gave us a few more suggestions, website links to more info and promised to call to check up with us in two days. Was it her confidence in me that I could do this? Was it simply a new position? I’m not sure exactly what it was, but I breastfed my daughter for over a year with no further complications.
Calling an expert was the single most important decision in my breastfeeding journey. I had lots of support from family, hospital staff and public health nurses, but they just couldn’t quite fix our problem. Having the resources of an expert was what made a huge difference.
Did a lactation consultant help you overcome a breastfeeding obstacle?