Updated: Nov 17, 2019
...the one key ingredient to success remains the same: solid support.
Feeding your baby isn't always as easy as it looks. As a lactation consultant and a mama, I've found there are all sorts of challenges that can surprise you from random infections to stabilizing milk production to growth spurts and changes in your baby. However, the one key ingredient to success remains the same: solid support.
Support doesn't look the same for all parents. I'm biased of course and hope that all families have access to an available, non-judgemental, positive lactation consultant. Someone who can see the entire picture for you because sometimes it's another issue masquerading as a breastfeeding problem and it takes a keen eye to spot it. Or maybe it's an ongoing breastfeeding concern that takes a detailed plan of care and lots of ongoing connection and cheering to fix. The right match can be life changing because you'll find that you can reach your feeding goals and move on with confidence.
I developed the online portion of my business so that all families can have access to this kind of support via distance consults. I realize it isn't quite the same as having someone in your home or in person during such an intimate time. Maybe it feels awkward to breastfeed on camera. However, I can assure you it beats feeling defeated and alone. Over the past 12 years, I've helped countless families from afar to overcome from everything from sore nipples to milk production concerns to fussy babies and more. My goal is your success and my support looks different for every family. It could be one quick call or it could be 6 weeks of ongoing texts and emails with 2-3 video chat sessions. The good news is, you can reach me from your bed! I'm not a big fan of new parents having to leave home.
Beyond lactation consultations, support looks like having a partner who is also listening to your concerns and stepping in to help you seek solutions, making sure you get enough to eat, taking care of other children and being there so you're not alone. Or maybe you have other relatives who can relate and are able to listen and troubleshoot. Knowing you're not alone is key!
New baby support circles in your area can provide more comradery as you get to know yourself as a parent. It's most important that you find a circle that provides open-minded, inclusive support. You want to feel welcomed and comfortable when you walk in the door. These might just be the lifetime friends you'll hold onto during the highs and lows of parenting. It's okay to try a few until you find your people. Sometimes it's a walking group or an exercise class - stay open to the possibilities.
In today's parenting world, online support circles are a new thing. Busy parents can access support and forge friendships through facebook and other social media sites. If you can't get to an in-person group, then I'd recommend finding a circle that's facilitated by someone who has a background in newborn care or child development and/or infant feeding. I sometimes cringe when I read recommendations shared mom-to-mom and worry about families getting harmful advice. Please be careful. People are well meaning but it's important to only take medical advice from someone who is trained and certified in their field.
Postpartum doulas are another awesome way to get breastfeeding support! Pardon my excitement but I do love a good doula. These ladies have a passion for caring for new mothers and their families. They often have experience with breastfeeding and can help you navigate the nuances of nursing. You can find a list of local doulas at your neighborhood parent resource or try DONA.org.
If you are experiencing any feeding troubles or issues with any aspect of early parenting, I'd be more than happy to help you assemble a solid support team. It's essential that we are not parenting in isolation. We are most definitely better together!