I don’t know anyone who has breastfed; how will I get the support I need?
Y-Your family (your husband and mom can be very influential cheerleaders)
M-Medical professionals (find a lactation consultant and a good pediatrician)
C-Community groups for breastfeeding (La Leche League, Breastfeeding USA)
A-Any breastfeeding moms you know (new mom’s groups, church, high school friends, etc)
My breastfeeding story
To illustrate, I’d like to share my breastfeeding journey, and how the Village People and my YMCA saved my breastfeeding relationship. You might have a baby who is an expert nursling, but you might also need all the help you can get!
The Road Block: Lack of Knowledge
The Village People: Birth Class
The Support: My husband and I signed up for a birth class that offered a FULL CLASS of breastfeeding education, and an introduction to the concept of a doula, who was essential to our birth and breastfeeding support.
The Road Block: A broken tailbone and a baby who wouldn’t latch
The Village People: A doula and my husband
The Support: Our doula went above and beyond, stayed for FOUR HOURS after our birth and called her mentor for instructions on how to teach my husband to hand express colostrum while I was out of commission.
The first few days
The Road Block: A refusal to latch, jaundice, weight loss, painful engorgement
The Village People: my mom, 2 IBCLC’s, a lactation counselor, and our pediatrician
The Support: The hospital lactation consultants worked tirelessly to help us out, and my mother supported me through tearful phone calls at all hours of the day. At our first Ped appointment, our pediatrician could have just handed us a can of formula, but instead she rushed us into see a lactation counselor, who taught me how to use a breast pump to relieve engorgement and how to feed my son a bottle until we could get a latch.
The Road Block: Pain, and lots of it
The Village People: My husband, our childbirth educator, an IBCLC, and a cranial-sacral therapist
The Support: Thanks to the pump and bottle, our son was gaining weight, but the latch was still wrong. I thought about giving up, but my husband encouraged me to speak to our childbirth educator, who referred me to an IBCLC. She diagnosed an upper lip tie and taught me how to adjust my son’s latch. It helped a little, and combined with a referral to a cranial-sacral therapist, our son was finally latching pain-free within a month.
The Road Block: Colic and later, projectile vomit after every feeding
The Village People: A lactation consultant, a pediatrician and a mommy friend
The Support: The lactation consultant was able to diagnose an oversupply issue and the pediatrician suggested my son might have a dairy allergy. A mommy friend helped me adjust to the new diet, and within days the hours of endless screaming had stopped.
The Road Block: Teething and biting
The Village People: Nurse and Chat
The support: Within a few minutes at Nurse and Chat, a lactation consultant gave me several tips to help me nurse a teething baby who was using me as a teething ring. It was that easy, but imagine if I had never gone in!
The road block: A lack of sleep from a babe who wanted to nurse all night
The Village People: La Leche League, New Mom’s Group, and our pediatrician
The support: Old friends from my New Mom’s Group suggested I read the No Cry Sleep Solution, and my local La Leche League had it to borrow from their lending library. Our pediatrician gave us words of encouragement at our son’s nine-month appointment, and it really helped to lift our spirits.
I know that as my son approaches toddlerhood, our nursing relationship will change again. Because I have my own personal YMCA, I will know whom to call to get my answers so that I can have true success feeding my child. For all you expectant and nursing mothers out there, I hope that you can also build a network to support you through your breastfeeding years