This is a guest post by Milveen Eke-Allen is a freelance writer and blogs about motherhood at glitterandglowmom.ca. She’s a mother of one and enjoys discovering new tips and tricks that empower the journey through parenthood.
The Benefits of Using a Lactation Consultant
Whether you’re mom to one child or more, the initial stages of breastfeeding can be difficult to master. While your baby might have enjoyed sucking on their thumbs while in the womb, learning to properly latch is completely new to them. The result of this can be a painful experience for moms and an overwhelming desire to call it quits and switch to formula. Don’t give up! The benefits far out weigh the initial discomfort and frustration. If you’ve reached this point in your breastfeeding journey, visiting a lactation consultant is a great idea. They can guide you through the process of learning (or relearning if this isn’t your first child) how to help your baby latch properly and ensure they’re getting the milk they need. The number of visits you need is entirely up to you (the cost of visits may be covered so check first to be sure) but each session is informative and builds on your previous visits.
1.Someone Who Understands Your Frustration
When you feel as though you’ve hit a wall and finding it hard to push through and keep nursing, what you need is someone who completely understands what you’re going through and can sympathize with you. Lactation consultants are patient in listening to the concerns you have and provide comfort and support. It’s entirely normal to feel the way you do and they do a great job of explaining how to overcome this phase. They’re typically registered nurses or doctors so they’re very understanding of your situation because they’re very familiar with it.
2. Very Knowledgeable
A lactation consultant will not only show you how to help your baby latch on but they’ll also so you how best to hold your baby while nursing. If you had a Cesarean section, the traditional cradle hold may not be comfortable. The football hold might be more appropriate until you’ve healed since there’s no pressure placed on your stomach area. With this hold, the baby’s body is tucked under the arm on the side you’re nursing on (instead of across your body).
They can also show you what to look out for while your baby is nursing. Your baby might be sucking but listening for the sounds of swallowing is helpful. As well, watching the baby’s neck to see swallowing ensures that your baby is taking in the milk they need.
Just as important as learning to latch, babies (and you mommies) have to learn how to properly break the latch. If your baby has finished all the milk from one breast but is still sucking, a lactation consultant can show you how to break the latch without pulling the baby off which can cause you pain.
3. Provide Natural Remedies
Engorgement and clogged ducts are a part of breastfeeding. A lactation consultant can provide natural, easy remedies to help alleviate discomfort. Something as simple as a warm, damp cloth can help clear a clogged duct. They can even show you how to express some of your milk which is helpful when trying to relieve pressure from engorgement. They’ll also answer any questions or concerns you may have about “breast health” and provide thoughts on how best to care for yourself while nursing.
If you can overcome the initial discomfort of nursing, you’ll be thankful you hung in there. The bonding time with your baby is precious; as they nurse and look up at you they’re memorizing your face and it’s features. Overtime the process of latching and breaking the latch become easier for both you and your baby and you begin to wonder why you were so worried in the first place.
In addition to this, the nutrients babies get from nursing (the composition of your breast milk will change as your baby grows, to meet its nutritional needs), is an vital part of their development.