“My pediatrician told me to supplement with formula because XYZ” fill in the blank with low weight gain, nipple injury, frequent feedings, fussy baby, colic, reflux, the full moon, you name it.
And often mom’s go to their pediatrician to obtain breastfeeding advice. While most pediatricians do support breastfeeding, they are not breastfeeding experts. And many times they will refer to formula for whatever reason and this practice sabotages breastfeeding.
Yes, there are medical reasons some babies should be supplemented. But in most circumstances the appropriate intervention would be to fix the breastfeeding. And likely the doctor does not address breastfeeding at all, nor do they refer to an expert: a lactation consultant or breastfeeding counselor.
If you need wish to have your hair highlighted, do you go to a barber? They know how to cut hair, and may have years of doing so but would you trust them with your hair color? Likely not.
So when you are having breastfeeding challenges, seek support from a breastfeeding professional.
Who is a lactation professional? There are many different options. You can seek support from a la leche league leader. These women are peer support counselors, women who have gone through special training and have personal experience with breastfeeding. You can find support from a CBE or certified breastfeeding educator or counselor. These women have gone through some certification type training to help support breastfeeding moms.
OR you can find an IBCLC or international board certified lactation consultant. These women come from a wide variety of backgrounds but all meet very strict guidelines, often 1000’s of hours of breastfeeding assistance and hundreds of hours of breastfeeding specific education. Then they must pass an international board exam to assess their readiness to assist moms with even the most complicated breastfeeding challenge.
It is a wise decision to find a local IBCLC or other support person BEFORE your baby gets here. That way, should a problem arise you are not scrambling to find help at a moment’s notice. Often the breastfeeding classes offered at your local hospital will be taught by an IBCLC and is a great opportunity for you to meet her in person before the arrival of your baby. If you are not going to take a prenatal breastfeeding class, you can call your birthing center and ask them for a referral. Be specific with what you are looking for and ask to verify credentials when you speak with someone.