Lactation Consultants

Breastfeeding support will improve your nursing experience

For a natural process, it can take a surprising amount of time and effort to get used to breastfeeding. Like parenting in general, the vast majority of women are capable of breastfeeding successfully, but many hit obstacles on the road to comfortable nursing. Are you committed to the idea of breastfeeding but struggling with positioning? Maybe you're in so much pain and discomfort that you're about ready to abandon your breastfeeding plans altogether. Whatever the case, take a cue from thousands of mothers and seek the help and advice of a breastfeeding course before you give up on breastfeeding -- it can make a world of difference for your baby's health and your emotional and physical wellbeing.

What does a Certified Lactation Consultant Do?

You may have learned of lactation consultants through your midwife, prenatal class, friends or family, since more women than ever are taking advantage of this particular expertise. Contrary to common belief, a certified lactation consultant can help every new breastfeeding mom, not just those who are having trouble nursing. From good advice on accessories to creating a healthy breastfeeding diet, a consultant can make your life easier in a variety of little ways; if your breastfeeding struggles are interfering with your routine and the health of your baby, a lactation consultant may be the answer to your prayers.

Breastfeeding doesn't come easily to everyone, so don't be upset with yourself if you can't seem to get your baby to latch, position her comfortably or expel your milk easily. This is where a certified lactation consultant comes in: with a wealth of knowledge, a kind and encouraging bedside manner and plenty of experience with common breastfeeding problems, the lactation expert will help you get comfortable with the nursing process and teach you how to feed your newborn efficiently. Look for a consultant that is certified by the USLCA or the International Lactation Consultant Association (the IBCLC) to ensure that you're getting the most informed and reputable service available. Speak to your doctor, hospital or public health association for recommendations and help with your search. You may find a lactation consultant who gives house calls to give one-on-one support, or you may decide to take a class and benefit from meeting other moms like you.

What Breastfeeding Classes can Offer

You can get a lot of useful information from a breastfeeding class, but only if you choose wisely. You'll want to avoid sneaky schemes that are more interested in selling baby gear than improving your nursing experience, and remember that the best teachers will lead by example. Like any educational program, not all breastfeeding courses are created equal, so do yourself a favor and evaluate each candidate with a simple but important set of requirements.

Consider the instructor: does she have both a breastfeeding background and professional classification? Experience and education are the ideal mix for any breastfeeding class leader, and her "curriculum" should focus solely on breastfeeding and the issues surrounding it. Steer clear of all-in-one classes that try to cover every step on the path to motherhood, since you'll leave with a disappointing collection of tips instead of a comprehensive understanding.

As for the class itself, be sure that it will cover the basic principles of breastfeeding help. For instance, you should learn various techniques like how to get your milk flowing, how to help your baby latch and how to determine if he's getting enough milk, but also where to get more help if you need it. Instead of a crash course in feeding, look for a class that is genuinely interested in offering breastfeeding support and ongoing encouragement to new mothers, which will make for a happier and more rewarding experience if you run into trouble down the road.