By BIANCA CARTER
Some women are born with the determination to have kids and some women play it by ear. Some women know exactly what type of mother they want to be, if they will breastfeed or not, and other women take it one day at a time. And both approaches are perfectly fine.
If there is one question I get all the time, it is this: “What is a breastfeeding class/lactation consultation?” And further, “Why the heck do I need to have one?”
Here are the top reasons why taking a breastfeeding class or opting for a private lactation consultation is so important:
• Breastfeeding counsellors and certified lactation counsellors (CLC) are trained professionals in a very small and specific aspect of infant health and nutrition. Unlike nurses, midwives and doctors, who have much broader and diverse training in infant and child healthcare. CLC’s are re-certified every three years to make sure they are up -to-date with the latest and most relevant information in breastfeeding science. Yes, it’s a science and is studied and proven on a constant basis.
• Prevent breastfeeding issues that can affect the outcome of your breastfeeding goals and success. I know what you’re thinking, “Shouldn’t it be a natural and easy process?”
Natural, yes, easy...not all the time! If you’re thinking you would prefer to take the easy way out, you may want to re-think that thought. Think about it this way: Is child-birth easy? No. Is child-birth a natural process? Yes. I’m sure looking back on your labour experience you realise that although it was a hard and painful experience, it was also very worth it. Think about breastfeeding in the same way. It can be a little challenging in the beginning, but the pay-off in the end, once breastfeeding gets off to a good start, is so worth it – for both you and your baby.
• Breastfeeding misconceptions are widespread. For decades we have relied on what other mothers have told us, what we have heard over the years, and what we have seen in our own cultures. Believe it or not, a lot of this perception is inaccurate. It can also be the deciding factor in you choosing to breastfeed or not.
Meeting with a CLC or breastfeeding counsellor can provide you with the most up-to-date breastfeeding techniques and information. For example, did you know that the size of your breasts does not determine how much milk you can produce? Breastfeeding does not make your breasts sag or become lop-sided. And no, you will not give your baby gas. Your CLC will address all of these and so many more very important topics that can affect breastfeeding success.
• Support, support and support is so important during the first few weeks of a new baby’s and mom’s life. Being correctly informed beforehand empowers you and your partner, and prepares you with proven tools and techniques to ensure a positive and beneficial breastfeeding experience.
Breastfeeding is your own decision and it’s up to you to educate yourself on the importance and benefits to both you and your baby. You wouldn’t run a marathon or take an exam without preparing for it, right? Make the decision to prepare for breastfeeding if it’s something that you want to learn about so that you can make a proper, informed and intelligent decision on the health of your baby. Join us for our free breastfeeding open forum with guest speaker Eleanor Hartwick, an International Board certified lactation consultant, today at 5.30pm at Doctors Hospital.
Love and hugs!
• Bianca Carter is a certified lactation counsellor and founder of Bun in the Oven.
For more information, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow BITO on Facebook at babybunintheoven, and check out the BITO Blog every Monday and Thursday at http://babybunintheoven.com.