“I don't want to give my baby formula…my friends say I just have to tough it out for two weeks...the nurses in the hospital told me I have to pump…my Pediatrician says I am starving my baby and it's time for formula...I know it's not going well, but everyone is telling me something different!"
How Google and YouTube make things worse
There’s a time and a place for Google, YouTube and books. And it’s not when your baby is crying and you are frustrated.
The biggest reason these don't work is because they only offer tons of information without any filter. They can’t listen to you, discern subtleties and hold a space for you to vent and share your frustrations when you struggle with breastfeeding. When we are frustrated, or suffering, we need another human being to witness and listen to us.
Listening with empathy is the most important part of my job as a lactation consultant.
Breastfeeding is a complex mix of intuition, positioning, timing, hormones, culture and family dynamics all mixed up with overwhelming emotions like desire, joy, sadness, frustration and anger.
A lactation consultant’s skill is to look at the whole breastfeeding process, listen to your experience (including your upset) and separate big problems into smaller pieces so you can solve them step by step.
If you have any of these situations, it's time for help from a Lactation Consultant.
1. You're trying to breastfeed your baby and have hit a speed bump, or two or three;
2. Your nipples are raw, bleeding, cracked, or hurting;
3. You think, or have been told, that you are not making enough milk;
4. You think that your baby hates you and/or breastfeeding;
5. You are crying more than an hour a day and you feel like quitting;
You can be focused on the wrong thing and not realize it.
Usually there is a root cause, and one or two or three things that are problems caused by the root cause. When you focus on the wrong problem, you can make things worse.
An example is when moms "try to get the latch right" over and over again while damaging their nipples in the process. Each time the mother re-latches, the baby clamps down causing more bruising and trauma.