Mama, Breastfeeding can be HARD... but there is HELP!
Mama! Breastfeeding can be emotionally, physically and mentally taxing! But there is help available. When my babies were born I did not know about the amazing resources out there. I am so honored that Laci James, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, was so enthusiastic when I asked her if I could feature her on my blog to share some wonderful information. Here is what Laci had to share...
"A lactation consultant is a board certified lactation specialist. This is an individual who is the highest qualified individual to provide lactation support for a mother and infant. Typically referred to as an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). They are not the same as a lactation counselor or even. IBCLC are internationally certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultants Examiners and can practice around the world in many areas such as hospitals, pediatric clinics, public health and even private practice. Knowledge of an IBCLC is up to date with re-certifications every five years. They have a wide variety of unique experiences and situations. They are competent in their skills to assist mothers in establishing and maintaining breastfeeding goals within all levels of situations. How do women find a lactation consultant? Most IBCLC are within multiple healthcare facilities including hospitals and pediatric clinics. There are private practice IBCLC in some areas as well. What are usual insurance benefits if any? Insurance covers some (certain number of appointments) to all Lactation services. For information about what your insurance may cover, contact them directly. There are a lot of free support groups or Milk Bars that offer free IBCLC services around the OKC metro. Also before having your baby please reach out to your insurance company and see what they will provide in relation to breastfeeding supplies and pumps! Most insurances will provide you with a personal pump. You will need this if you will be returning to work, want to increase your breast supply, mother/infant separation (NICU admission and extended stays)) or just want to pump and provide for you baby with a bottle which is normal and completely OKAY!! IBCLC help with healthy supplementation and all feedings!! We want to provide the best resources and education for you and your baby.
When should a mama find a LC? A mom should reach out to a lactation consultant at any time for support and education in relation to breastfeeding or breast changes she may have during pregnancy, at delivery or after. It is important to understand the experience, anatomy, and natural changes that will occur during pregnancy and after delivery. The best place to get basic information is at prenatal classes. Most hospitals offer these free of charge and provide education about everything pregnancy and delivery related. All parents are encouraged to reach out to pediatricians and IBCLC's with questions or concerns. Healthcare providers are the best resources!
Reaching out to an IBCLC before delivery will help you set goals and understand your goals. They also provide education on all safe feedings! Yes, formula!! We want to make sure you are making and feeding your baby correctly. Any suggestions to mamas who want to breastfeed?Take a prenatal class, learn about your body and the process you are experiencing. Understand that everything doesn't happen exactly as planned and breastfeeding takes time, practice and encouragement. IBCLC's are going to be a big support person to help you get through the unknown process or help you when there is a little bump in the road during your journey. IBCLC's are not just for the newborn period, they are able to help during any time of your breastfeeding experience years down the road. If you were not successful the first month but want to try again we will assist in helping relactate, boost your supply and so much more!
Anything else? I always tell my patients: If you really are determined, DON'T GIVE UP! KEEP GOING!! It does get hard. The hardest part is the first 2 weeks of your breastfeeding journey. Once you get past day 14 your life will change and everything will click and get easier and easier. Your body is an amazing thing and can provide for a new baby all on its own naturally!! It will keep your baby well as well as provide so much love and comfort!"
Laci is also a photographer! See here amazing work at: http://lacijamesphotography.com/