The first few weeks postpartum are filled with huge changes. Perhaps the biggest change of all is learning to effectively breastfeed your little one. While babies are born with the instinct to nurse, they won't necessarily be great at it right off the bat. At the same time, mothers sometimes need a little help getting started themselves, and this can lead to some serious frustrations.
Fortunately, there is help available out there, and finding the right help could turn your nursing relationship around in no time.
Knowing When You Need Help
So how do you know when to find this help? How do you know your situation is dire enough to warrant it? Honestly, you'll likely know if things aren't going right. However, just in case you don't recognize it right off the bat, it is good to go in knowing what red flags to look for.
Any of the following could be cause for concern:
- Prolonged separation of mother and baby
- Nipple pain that cannot be easily remedied at home
- Flat or inverted nipples
- Trouble finding a comfortable position
- Shallow, painful, or incorrect latch
- Baby losing a significant amount of weight
Of course, this is not an exclusive list of reasons to find a breastfeeding professional. Therefore, if your gut tells you something isn't right, it's best to find the help you need, if only to put your mind at ease.
Who to Call On
The next step is finding a person who can offer sufficient help. Finding the right individual may seem like a daunting task, but once you dive into the world of breastfeeding you'll discover that it's not as complicated as it seems.
If you had a doula attend your birth, or if a postpartum doula is helping you around the house, she may be able to offer the support you need. These individuals are not always trained lactation consultants, but even those who aren't have plenty of experience with nursing mothers and may be able to offer some pointers.
When a doula isn't available or when her help isn't enough to solve the problem, it's time to turn to a lactation consultant. Many hospitals keep lactation consultants on staff, and these individuals can be a great option if you're still in the hospital when problems arise or if your insurance company will only cover the services of an in-hospital consultant. However, out-of-hospital lactation consultants often offer more personalized attention and assistance. These lovely helpers can be found through such organizations as Thrive Mama Collective.
Of course, there is nothing like peer-to-peer support. While breastfeeding support meetings aren't the solution to serious problems, they can be helpful if you're just needing emotional support, tips and tricks, or help finding better positions. If these are the kinds of things you need, I recommend checking out the breastfeeding support group at Thrive Mama Collective, or one of the other local support groups.
The Importance of Finding Support
Why is finding breastfeeding support so important? Well, there are a couple of things to consider.
Finding help could make or break your nursing relationship with your baby. Breastfeeding is a super important part of human development. It is an excellent source of nutrition for your little one and can even help boost their immune system. Additionally, the bond you will create with your little one through nursing is absolutely priceless and will set the stage for many healthy, strong relationships in the years to come.
Not only that, but finding help could also pinpoint any medical issues with you or baby that may have gone unnoticed otherwise. Therefore, seeking out help as soon as you feel it is necessary is always ideal.
As you can see, finding breastfeeding support is easy enough and also incredibly important. After all, two sets of eyes and hands are always better than one when you're trying to carry out a difficult task, and learning to breastfeed is a difficult yet wonderfully rewarding task, to say the least.
If you've been thinking about finding some help as you establish your nursing relationship, don't hesitate. Hire a postpartum doula for general help and support, or seek out a lactation consultant if you believe there may be an issue. You'll be glad you did when you see baby nursing like a champ and growing leaps and bounds.