A woman’s decision to breastfeed her baby is highly personal. Usually, a variety of factors influence that decision-culture, family norms about breastfeeding, health of infant and mother and societal pressure. A woman’s beliefs about breastfeeding develop both internally and externally. With all of the information available on the web, from other mothers, from doctors and lactation specialists, it can be hard to tease out what is correct information and what applies to each individual mother/baby dyad.
The truth is, breastfeeding is a learned skill. Like any skill to be mastered, there is a learning curve. When a mother goes into the experience expecting a certain outcome, to fail, for example, or to be successful right off the bat, disappointment and frustration develop. In my experience working with breastfeeding mothers experiencing challenges, there are a few common themes. Here are a few I commonly see:
Conflicting information about breastfeeding from multiple sources
Pre-existing beliefs about breastfeeding prior to the birth
Breastfeeding support that is not holistic
“Too many cooks in the kitchen” when a mother is sent to multiple specialists to “solve” a breastfeeding problem that was not there in the first place.
As a lactation counselor, my focus is on preparation and skill building for mothers. When women prepare emotionally and practically for breastfeeding, they are more likely to have realistic expectations and a foundation to build the skills they need.
Here are the services that I offer for breastfeeding management:
Drop-in breastfeeding support circle (offered twice weekly)
Individual consultations (home or office visits)
Breastfeeding 101 workshops for pregnant women