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  • Writer's pictureThe Knapp Clinic

When Should I Get Help With Breastfeeding?

Some people know they are going to breastfeed before they find out they are pregnant. For others the thought of breastfeeding has never crossed their mind until their OB or Midwife asks them if they have considered it. Some moms have thought about it, but weren't concerned because they figure they will just be able to do it when their baby arrives. Others consume every piece of information they can possibly find to learn about breastfeeding.

Mother breastfeeding baby in side lying on a bed

So, when is the best time to get help with breastfeeding? In a perfect world there would rarely be a time you would need expert help. This is because breastfeeding is a social behavior. Which is a fancy way of saying: we learn to breastfeed by watching everyone else around us breastfeed. Just like we learn to talk by hearing and seeing everyone else around us talk. If we never see or hear anyone else talk then it is really hard for us to learn how to do it! If you have grown up watching your family members and close friends breastfeed then you probably know more than you think! If you have only seen a few people breastfeed or only watched it in movies or on TV then you may want to dive in a little deeper before your little one arrives.

There isn't a perfect time to get help, but taking a prenatal breastfeeding class and going to some breastfeeding support group meetings before having your baby are both great ways to get help before you need it! Once your baby arrives make sure you see a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Le Leche League Leader, Breastfeeding Counselor (CLC, CBS, CLE), or someone trained in Peer Support.

Sometimes the smallest thing, like positioning the baby with their tummy to your tummy,

Neon sign that reads "This is the sign you've been looking for"

can make a HUGE difference. If you do not feel like things are going well (even if everyone tells you everything is "fine") make an appointment with an IBCLC! Getting help before or as soon as you need it will help to prevent long term problems and will save your breasts, milk supply, and your sanity! See the red flags list.

🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩Red Flags* 🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩

PAIN - Breastfeeding should NOT hurt! I cannot stomp my foot hard enough about this

Noisey Nursing - Babies should not make all kinds of slurping, clicking, squeaking noises

Breast or Bottle refusal - Babies who refuse to latch can't. It is not a "choice" they are making

Living off the Letdown- These babies stop nursing as soon as the milk stops flowing, and are usually really "fast" nursers

Hungry Baby- Your baby never has open hands and relaxed arms for at least 30 min after feeding

Cluster Feedings- Once in a while this is fine but almost continuous nursing for days on end is not cluster feeding,

Sleepy Baby- Babies who start sleeping 8+ hours straight early on and who already were not nursing like champions

Mastitis- development of red, swollen, painful breasts, with out without fever should be evaluated by a healthcare provider, Ideally one with lactation training

Engorgement- breasts so full that you or your baby cannot get any milk out

*This list is not all inclusive. If you have any concerns about breastfeeding or pumping you and your should be evaluated by a lactation professional.

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