Expressing the desire to breastfeed your baby is something all new mothers say. But as they are aware of their little knowledge, they look for prenatal classes that are quite useless when the time to breastfeed arrives.
Nowadays, breastfeeding is becoming a norm and as such, breastfeeding require some education and most importantly requires SUPPORT. Yes, support from your husband, from your family and most importantly from the health professionals. Yes, our health system is evolving, yet not fast ENOUGH! Most Drs are getting familiar with breastfeeding, but they are not the specialists. Lately, everyone is focusing on labor and there is little knowledge about breastfeeding. This is the common mistake, a prenatal education class should focus on labor and breastfeeding, this was the basic knowledge you gather will help you to initiate breastfeeding faster and possibly to identify a problem sooner.
It is well known that breastfeeding is the most natural and safe thing to do, but when a problem presents, the mother begins to doubt herself and she tries to compensate this problem at the cost of her sanity. She begins to breastfeed for hours during day and night leaving her sleep deprived. When I walk into a house call, I see a parent at their last stretch, I am their last hope. No pressure!
It is quite difficult to tell a parent that a problem was developing under their watch. So, as the consultation evolves and the problem(s) is identified, mothers express the feeling of failure and when I mention “the need to supplement” some mothers begin to tear, and others express a feeling of “incompetence” for not been able to “fix the problem” themselves. To them, I say that “how can you fix the problem if you did not know what the problem was to begin with?” I always reminded them that the best thing they could have done was to call the specialist and I can hear a sight to relief.
For a parent, the struggle to understand that a problem was developing under their careful watch is almost impossible. This is why, part of my session is to active listening to them, a skill that I developed as a Registered Nurse. Also, at times, to console the mother I must understand their point of view, this is a skill that I have learned as a Midwife and along with the expertise of my IBCLC knowledge, I have the certainty to identify the problem and correct it.
Most parents are skeptical of my care plan and they try to negotiate other alternatives, which is very understanding, but it only stretches the current situation. Breastfeeding is like a domino effect, once a piece does not move, other pieces will not move and eventually the problem becomes bigger and more complex. This is the scenario that I see when I take a house call.
In conclusion, breastfeeding is the most wonderful thing and taking a prenatal breastfeeding class will help you initiate breastfeeding faster. But, when a problem present itself, it is best to call the specialist to avoid complexity of the problem. Assuming your Dr or your Nurse should help you with these problems is a common mistake. You need to see an IBCLC with enough expertise on these situations. A problem solved at the right time can make a difference on your breastfeeding experience.
Rosa Zamudio Inf, Sf, IBCLC
Lactation Maman Cigogne