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May 13, 2018
Although I've only been certified as a Lactation Consultant for a few months, I'm a former Mother/Baby RN and I’ve consulted women on breastfeeding for a very long time. When I meet a mother for the first time, emotions are already high. There are so many things that I wish I could say to them before they begin their breastfeeding journey. In today's post, I'm sharing all of the things that I wish mothers knew when seeing a lactation consultant.
Whenever I'm in a hospital setting and meeting a mom for the first time, I have to ask a lot of questions! Because I don't know your history or your goals, this is totally necessary in order to help you. I also tread lightly if I can see that breastfeeding isn't something that you had planned initially. Of course, I want to share the benefits and positive aspects of breastfeeding for education's sake. This is never meant to offend or come off as judgmental. Whether you choose to breastfeed for 3 days or 3 years, my job (and passion) is to help you achieve your breastfeeding (or pumping or supplementation) goals in a way that is beneficial to you and your baby!
If you can take a prenatal class, do it! From my clinical experience, I've found that more women who understand the process and beginning stages of breastfeeding tend to also be more patient with the process and themselves! Unfortunately, not everyone has access or time for classes, which is why I've made it a mission to create an online prenatal class that you can have access to for at least a year!
In addition to prenatal education, you should definitely start getting all of your gear! From taking care of finances to making sure you have the right pump, it’s better to be prepared early rather than once the baby arrives. Using resources like Aeroflow Breastpumps to help you obtain a pump through insurance is just the type of ease that you’ll appreciate! Trust me, you’ll want to use that time soaking up as much newborn goodness as possible.
Some people tell me not to say this to moms. If it was always easy, then I definitely wouldn't have a job! I personally think that it's better to have a realistic mindset about what breastfeeding can possibly be. I recently heard another LC compare it to a baby learning to walk. It's in the body's wiring or natural state to eventually start walking but that doesn't mean it will come naturally. When a baby begins to walk, she is awkward, clumsy and may need additional help. After enough practice and confidence, that baby will be walking like a pro. This same mindset should go for breastfeeding! It may not be easy at the very beginning but with patience and support, you will definitely be able to achieve it!
Aside from blowing your mind with all of the exciting facts about breastfeeding, one of my favorite parts of this job is to cheer mamas on! I needed a cheerleader (who knew what I was going through) during my early breastfeeding days. Once I had a LC come to my home, I had the support, education and motivation I needed to instill confidence in myself. Apparently, I was doing everything right and being a first time mom just made me feel that I wasn't on the right path. My LC made sure to set my mind right. When she left, I felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders and the ability to lift my head up high. No matter what your breastfeeding goal is, you can do this mama! I believe you (and you should too).
Or at least the 4 things that I want you to know! At the end of the day, we are here for you and your baby. We want whatever is best for you both and are excited to help you on your journey!
Information provided in blogs should not be used as a substitute for medical care or consultation.
Erica is a former Mother/Baby Registered Nurse and current Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She is also a mother to two sweet little babes and founder of The Milk Manual. For additional breastfeeding tips and expertise, visit her website or check her out on instagram.