Why the Lactation Consultant Will Be Your Best Friend {Part 1}

Why the Lactation Consultant Will Be Your Best Friend {Part 1} Picture

When my water broke, I had three best friends.  When my contractions began, I had three best friends.  When I arrived at the hospital, when my baby was delivered, and when they stitched up my belly from my c section, I had the same three best friends.  But when it came time to nurse my son for the very first time, I broke up with all of them and gave an entire life’s worth of love and devotion to another woman.

The lactation consultant.

I’d done so much research.  I’d discussed breastfeeding with my girlfriends who’d gone that route to feed their children.  I’d read books, watched YouTube videos, and browsed the web into the wee hours of the morning.  I’d even taken a class.  But nothing truly prepared me for the real thing. 

I was handed an uncoordinated, sleepy, brand spankin’ new baby who was utterly clueless on how he was supposed to eat.  I was confused.  Wasn’t nature supposed to kick in and provide my son with some direction? 

After ten “hour long” minutes filled with screaming and clumsily smearing valuable colostrum on my baby’s face rather than depositing it in his mouth, it became abundantly clear that nature was out to lunch (of course), and I was going to have to somehow grow octopus arms, cow udders, and saint-like patience in order to teach “us” how to feed. 

Pfft. 

I felt as vulnerable as I’d ever been.  Staring into the eyes of my helpless and hungry newborn, I couldn’t help but feel shame for being so unnatural at something so… natural?  I thought I’d prepared, but the variables surrounding each mother’s ability to nurse shot down all that I thought I knew.  Many babies latch on to their mothers right from the start, gaining weight like healthy livestock, and never requiring a stitch of assistance.  My baby was not that baby.  My boobs were not those boobs.

The nurses at the hospital picked up on my desperate ignorance and connected me with a board certified Lactation Consultant right away.  According to the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC), these certified consultants “function and contribute as members of the maternal-child health team. They provide care in a variety of settings, while making appropriate referrals to other health professionals and community support resources.”

Lactation Consultants are experts in the art of breastfeeding.  Their education and experience spans beyond having been breastfeeders themselves.  A board certified consultant must have a health sciences education background and a specific and thorough clinical and hands-on lactation assistance experience.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a child be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life.  Lactation Consultants operate as problem solvers, and strive to circumvent the challenges and frustrations that often lead a mother toward alternate feeding options.

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{Check back for Part 2 to learn more about Lactation Consultants!}

Image via Flickr / David Veksler

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Why the Lactation Consultant Will Be Your Best Friend {Part 1}

Jennifer Bruno is a credentialed trainer by day and a freelance writer and aspiring photographer by night. Raised in rural Kansas, Jen moved to sunny Florida after college where she met her husband, who married her despite hearing her sing Dixie Chicks karaoke. Shortly after saying “I do”, they moved to New York City to fulfill their dream of living amongst the bright lights and skyscrapers. They currently share their cramped apartment with two modelesque miniature dachshunds named Millie an ... More

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1 comment

  1. LIZ says:

    is good when you have guidence about something thats is new for you

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