A baby is provided with numerous health benefits when it’s breastfed, but this does not always happen easily.
A lactation consultant can help a new mom who feels overwhelmed by the challenges associated with breastfeeding.
According to two breastfeeding experts from Penn State Health, they are there to ensure that new moms can easily get to where they want to be with their babies. They are there to help breastfeed with ease and confidence.
Nancy McDaniel is a self-described cheerleader for moms who breastfeed. She is also a registered nurse and board-certified lactation consultant at the Penn State Health Children’s hospital in Hershey.
Lactation Consultants Can Help Smoothen Breastfeeding Experience
Other lactation consultants along with Nancy are trained to help mothers even if they have medical conditions or trouble establishing and successfully breastfeed.
Tara Schmidt, a nurse educator said that getting the newborn to latch on properly to the nipple is the first obstacle.
She said that breast positioning is one of the aspects that lactation consultants focus on so that the infant can latch on correctly.
New moms, in the first days and hours of breastfeeding, often worry that their baby is not getting enough to eat. Reassurance can be offered when a lactation consultant is approached.
Nancy said that moms who feed their babies through bottles can simply say that they fed their baby two ounces, but this is not the case with breastfeeding moms as they do not have that convenient measurement for reassurance.
She added that they just tell these moms to trust their maternal instincts and remind them that whatever goes in, must come out so the baby’s poop and pee can provide indicators.
She also added that at some hospitals, moms can track that with a booklet that will be provided, or by downloading an app that is generally free.
Nancy said that a lactation consultant’s work can go on even after the mom and infant have exited the hospitals. She added that she usually sees mothers within two weeks of delivery.
She said that it is not always a one-and-done visit and that she has followed up with particular families 5 or 6 times and reassured them over the phone several more times.
Many common concerns like sore, cracked, or bleeding nipples can be addressed by lactation consultants. In addition to this, clogged ducts and mastitis, which is an inflammation of breast tissue that required antibiotics can also be addressed.
Nancy said that women should not hesitate to call their doctor if they experience symptoms such as swelling, pain, redness or warmth in the breast, or even a fever.
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She added that they seem mothers constantly questioning themselves as to whether they are the only ones struggling with these problems and that she keeps reassuring them that if they were the only ones with those problems, she would not have even had this job.
Work with a Lactation consultancy ideally begins even before a baby is delivered.
Schmidt said that she speaks to women who are pregnant, regarding any medical issues that they may have, or things like a previous breast augmentation or reduction, or polycystic ovarian syndrome. These issues could potentially interfere with breastfeeding a baby.
She said that they can hold discussions and plan ahead so that when they have their baby, they are much more prepped than they would have normally been.
It is not rare to hear expectant moms be fearful of breastfeeding. A lot of them would have been exposed to horror stories that describe how much it hurts.