Breastfeeding struggles are the same across the modern world.
Last week, I visited the Dr. Jack Newman International Breastfeeding Centre in Toronto, Canada. Making beds up in the clinic rooms, talking to moms about their struggles (even the ones who had absolutely no clue just how famous this tiny little clinic was), holding flashlights for multiple tongue tie releases, and chatting with IBCLC's while experiencing a similar culture surrounding breastfeeding. Not on the other side of the world, but out of the Mid-Ohio Valley in an area otherwise known to be quite progressive.
Progressive in some areas of the culture, though, doesn't always mean much for breastfeeding support. Sometimes, in fact, it can mean quite the opposite. Furthermore, with breastfeeding, progressiveness isn't quite the perspective we need. We need a back-to-basics approach.
The International Breastfeeding Centre sees the same struggles from births, providers, and other lactation consultants as we do here in the MOV, and with Dr. Jack Newman's speaking schedule - this experience is similar world-wide.
Surprisingly, the Dr. Jack Newman International Breastfeeding Centre is a small clinic in Toronto that sees most of the "I've exhausted all other resources and now I'm coming to you" clients. This is quite similar to many of the clients I see in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Being outside of the medical system and utilizing a more holistic and back to basics approach, means Esali Birth Breastfeeding Support & the MOV Breastfeeding Clinic isn't the first place mothers receive care. Unfortunately, this also means many moms are given poor, albeit well-meaning, advice from hospital staff, friends, family, mom groups, and even some of the certified lactation specialists throughout the region.
Like the International Breastfeeding Centre, I see many families that could have easily prevented many breastfeeding struggles with about 15 minutes from quality guidance right after the birth. While my doula clients have few struggles with breastfeeding, aside from physiological influences from pregnancy and genetics that osteopathic or tie revision can support, the clients I see for breastfeeding support only are a different story.
It is very common for mothers to come to me after a pediatrician or hospital stay that resulted in weight checks encouraging supplementation, when an experienced breastfeeding counselor could have provided much better insight into the breastfeeding dynamic. I see many families that have little to no milk supply due to nipple shields being handed out like candy for every latch problem as well as scheduled feeds and pacifier use. Why are these providers that are well aware of lactation aids and supplemental nursing systems not using this approach? All of the babies I see could use osteopathic and other bodywork, and most of them have some degree of tongue and lip tightness (is this from folic acid supplementation... I don't know). I see many mothers on the verge of quitting, who are already supplementing, or have already decided to use formula because of poor advice from multiple levels in the community.
I see many mothers with their second, third, fourth babies that have received perinatal mentoring, doula care, or attended the monthly Breastfeeding Clinic now experience joyful breastfeeding relationships, or simply knowing there is someone available to provide them with holistic support through the entire breastfeeding relationship, pregnancy through weaning (and tandem nursing).
Mom, the system is failing you.
YOU are not supposed to know everything about breastfeeding.
YOU are not supposed to stress about what kind of knowledge you're receiving.
YOU are not supposed to know that nipple shields cause more damage, don't support proper musculofascial development, and reduce your milk supply.
YOU are not supposed to have to "get used to" breastfeeding discomfort.
You do not fail at breastfeeding when the system is not setup to see you succeed, and the people that work within the system have poor training, refuse to change the way they advise people, or aren't even sharing the resources they know to be available because of greed and competitive perspectives.
You should be GUIDED on exactly what to look for to know baby IS getting milk.
You should be GUIDED to all the local resources you have available to you.
You should be GUIDED to understand that pregnancy, birth, postpartum, tongue ties & routines and procedures do affect breastfeeding.
You should be GUIDED holistically through your pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding experience.
What can I do to receive the best Breastfeeding Support?
Every journey is different. We can't guarantee there won't be struggles, different breastfeeding journeys, or life situations that reduce some of the choices you may be comfortable with making.
The key is asking for help from quality well-known resources until you receive helpful information, and can make the choice, that makes breastfeeding comfortable and enjoyable for you. Find multiple providers available in your area, be sure your birth team knows their contact information, and use them.
- Schedule Mentoring with #MOVdoula during pregnancy so you can learn the basics of breastfeeding, learn how choices for birth influence breastfeeding, and prevent many complications before they happen
- Attend the monthly Breastfeeding Clinic, Birth & Parenting Social in the Mid-Ohio Valley
- Message Esali Birth on Facebook to see if an in-person session is right for you
- Schedule a Virtual Breastfeeding Support Session via the web, no matter where you live
- Schedule a Home Breastfeeding Support Visit around the Mid-Ohio Valley
- Use internet resources that are known for their quality such as KellyMom.com, BestForBabes.org, and La Leche League
- Remember that many insurance plans cover breastfeeding counseling (prior to and after birth), including some Medicaid plans. You can also use FSA & HSA accounts to cover breastfeeding-related and doula-care costs. Likewise, the monthly Breastfeeding Clinic is free and a lot of support can occur through free messaging chats. When you weigh possible costs of a few breastfeeding sessions against the alternatives to a long exclusively breastfeeding relationship, they are quite minimal, so get in touch!