For many women, breastfeeding is a nurturing, holistic, and powerful way to connect with their new baby — while simultaneously providing nutrient-rich, balanced sustenance for the child. As research piles up about the benefits of breast milk for babies, more and more women choose to breastfeed. As evidence of that, breastfeeding prevalence in Canada has increased from 25% in 1965 all the way up to 90% currently.
Though breastfeeding is a natural process, it still requires some knowledge, persistence, and skills to create the perfect routine. In fact, many women benefit greatly from the assistance of a breastfeeding specialist— a professional who specializes in helping women breastfeed. Including a breastfeeding specialist on your journey ensures that you start out strong, prevent problems, and nurture an amazing relationship with your little one.
There’s a reason the percentage of breastfeeding mothers has risen so drastically since the 1960s. Since then, scientists and researchers have outlined some compelling evidence that breastfeeding (when possible) is the best way to feed your baby:
- Good for baby. Breast milk is designed to provide the perfect balance of nutrients for a baby: fat, protein, minerals, and vitamins in ratios specifically catered for your child. It’s also optimized to suit your child’s digestive system and sets your child up for healthy cognitive development.
- Cost. Aside from the potential cost of a breast pump, breastfeeding is free. Formula feeding, by contrast, can cost thousands of dollars a year.
- Good for you. Babies aren’t the only ones who benefit from breastfeeding. In fact, studies have shown that breastfeeding can help decrease a mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer, prevent severe postpartum bleeding and decrease the chance of developing osteoporosis.
- Bonding. When you breastfeed, your body releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps you develop feelings of closeness with your child.
Some Basics of Breastfeeding
If you’re planning on breastfeeding your baby, it’s helpful to have a basic knowledge of what to expect. Though it may seem complicated, a breastfeeding specialist can help you learn best practices in providing your baby with breast milk. They might talk about some lactation basics with you:
- Skin to Skin. One of the most important (and lovely) aspects of early motherhood is enjoying skin to skin contact with your baby. This primes them for breastfeeding and is especially important in the first few hours after birth.
- Frequency. At first, it’s best to feed a newborn on demand — that is, whenever your baby indicates they’re hungry. While your baby is establishing their rhythm in the first few weeks, this could be every hour and a half to three hours.
- Positioning. Set yourself up with pillows and armrests that will make you more comfortable while breastfeeding. Your baby should be positioned with her hips flexed, so she doesn’t have to turn her head to reach your breast. A breastfeeding specialist can help coach you through the best way to position baby so that he or she latches comfortably.
Preventing Common Breastfeeding Challenges
Just because breastfeeding is a natural process, doesn’t mean it always goes smoothly right away. For many women, breastfeeding requires adjustments along the journey. Some women experience mastitis, which is inflammation of the breast tissue that can lead to infection. Others will have sore or cracked nipples, or experience a painful clogged duct. It’s important to stay on top of these issues to prevent further discomfort or infections from developing Here are some quick tips on preventing common issues:
- Ensure you have the proper latch established with baby
- Expose nipples to air as much as possible
- Use a breastfeeding-approved ointment
- Don’t wash your nipples too frequently
- Avoid tight or constrictive clothing over the breasts
How a Breastfeeding Specialist Can Help
For some mothers, it takes six weeks or longer to get into the swing of things with breastfeeding. If you’re having trouble breastfeeding, it’s important to seek caring, compassionate, professional help. Here’s a look at how a breastfeeding specialist can help you:
Getting You Ready
If you see a breastfeeding specialist before having your baby, they can help guide you through the entire journey. By starting early, you’ll gain peace of mind and feel more prepared for what’s to come. Not only will they help break down the basics of breastfeeding, but they can offer guidance on preparing your home. For example, they can advise you on any special equipment, like nursing pillows, nipple ointment, or a breast pump, that you might need.
Explaining the Perfect Latch
When it comes to successful breastfeeding, establishing a latch between the baby and the mother’s nipple is important for so many reasons. It protects your nipples from injury, ensures baby is getting enough milk, and establishes a perfect routine. Your breastfeeding specialist will describe and demonstrate how to position the baby to get the perfect latch. After you’ve had the baby, they can watch as you breastfeed and recommend tips for positioning to make sure you have the best outcome.
Answering Common questions
Some new mothers might have pressing concerns about breastfeeding. What’s the best position to use? How do I know my baby’s getting enough milk each time he nurses? If you have any pain or discomfort, a breastfeeding specialist can help you sort through the challenges and get back on track.
Mastitis and clogged ducts are a reality of breastfeeding, as is some initial difficulty with latching. With a breastfeeding specialist by your side, you’ll be led through these issues by a calm and compassionate helper who understands how to help mediate your discomfort. Despite early issues, many women go on to have success with breastfeeding.
Although you probably have a kind and supportive network in place already, a breastfeeding specialist provides invaluable guidance. They’re trained to understand the mechanics of breastfeeding, respond to your worries and concerns, and support you as you complete your breastfeeding journey.
Talk to a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist
Breastfeeding is an empowering way to nurture a connection between you and your baby. Fortunately, the majority of women can successfully breastfeed with the right guidance, skills, and knowledge. At Ageless Living Cold Lake, we offer caring and compassionate breastfeeding specialist services in Cold Lake, Alberta. If you’re ready to get started on your breastfeeding journey with Cold Lake Breastfeeding Consultations, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.