My first blog post.
As I am in the beginning stages of developing a lactation consulting business, my biggest dream is that I touch the lives of many individuals and families -- offering them hope and fulfillment. It seems that breastfeeding has been turned into a controversial topic. For those that exclusively breastfed their children, they are considered the successful ones. So what of the parent who was unable to feed their child without supplementation? What of the parent who chose not to breastfeed because of the negative outcomes that had been witnessed in regards to breastfeeding?
The benefits of breastmilk are undeniable, and the list is continuously growing. The terms "microbiome" and "immunity" are circulating all over social media with images of women breastfeeding infants. According to the latest released Breastfeeding Report Card, 81.1% of new mother's initiated breastfeeding in the hospital. We know that breastmilk is best for our children. So what's the problem? Without the right education, families are being discharged from their obstetrical services with insufficient milk supply and/or infants with feeding problems. Latch assessments are being performed by untrained personnel whom the parents rely on for guidance and reassurance. Health care professionals are unknowingly giving information that is harmful to the parent-child dyad, and then they are sent home. Follow-up generally includes recommendations for a supplement that is not human milk, and then this supplement that is not breast milk is considered to be life-saving.
How can I help? Prenatal education (even pre-pregnancy if possible) can help parents understand the physiological mechanisms behind lactation and infant latch/suck so that they are not relying on possibly incorrect teachings when they are in a sleep-deprived shock. Once the child is born, instead of the parent being discharged from services only to follow up weeks later, I am following the dyad closely. General observations of feedings can give me great insight. If there are challenges, referrals are made to be addressed quickly. For the well baby, I can reassure parents of normal feeding patterns so that they may feel more aware of what to expect. For the parent with insufficient supply, I can customize a feeding plan that suits the dyad's needs, including instruction on the introduction of supplementation as needed.
All this to say... Give your child the opportunities that come with human milk, and let me help make it a positive experience for everyone. Feed your baby, but be informed. #informedisbest #dontwriteblogpostsatmidnightoryoumayramble
Sarah P. Willis
The author is a Registered Nurse, Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and mother of three children.