Lactation education

How can a lactation consultant help with breastfeeding struggles? – Doha News

The right support and guidance from a lactation consultant can be a game-changer for new mothers on their breastfeeding journey.

While breastfeeding is a natural way for mothers to provide their infants with the nutrition they need during the first months of life, breastfeeding doesn’t always come naturally or easily.

The health benefits of breastfeeding affect both mother and child and can be experienced in the short and long term.

For the baby, these health benefits include reduced infections, better immunity, reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), healthier body weight and lower risk of diabetes.

For breastfeeding mothers, the health benefits include improved recovery time, as breastfeeding releases a hormone that helps improve uterine contractions and helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size.

Some mothers who exclusively breastfeed may also lose pregnancy weight faster, have a reduced risk of developing postpartum depression, as well as a lower risk of certain cancers and other medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes. and heart disease.

While the associated benefits for mother and baby are many, there are some considerations new mothers should keep in mind as they prepare for their breastfeeding journey.

Pain/discomfort: Sore breasts or nipples are usually the result of improper positioning or latching (baby not latching on properly). Sometimes the pain can occur as a result of breast engorgement, when the breasts become too full of milk and start to feel hard and painful.

Inability to measure milk production: During breastfeeding, it is difficult to know for sure how much milk you produce and how much your baby consumes. You will mainly have to rely on other factors such as the number of wet diapers and your baby’s weight to know if he is getting enough. Many mothers worry that their baby will not get enough milk, especially at first.

Mastitis: This happens when an existing blocked milk duct is not relieved. Mastitis can be very hot and painful and can cause flu-like symptoms. Mothers with mastitis may need antibiotics. Therefore, it is important to contact your doctor if you think you have mastitis.

Breastfeeding and tongue tie: Tongue ties occur in about 1 in 10 babies. A tongue tie occurs when the strip of skin that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth is shorter than usual. While some babies are apparently unaffected or bothered by a tongue tie, for other babies a tongue tie can restrict tongue movement, making breastfeeding more difficult.

Lack of flexibility: New breastfeeding mothers often find that their day revolves around their baby’s feeding schedule. This can be quite difficult considering that in the first weeks of life, babies can breastfeed up to 12 times a day.

Restricted diet/drugs: When breastfeeding, foods and medicines from the mother can pass to the infant through the milk. This means that in some cases the mother may need to avoid consuming certain things during the breastfeeding period.

What is the role of a lactation consultant?

Lactation consultants are certified healthcare professionals who are trained to help mothers learn to breastfeed. Often they will visit a new mother in the hospital during the baby’s first 24 hours of life, but you can also see a lactation consultant during pregnancy in preparation for breastfeeding.

A lactation consultant will observe while you breastfeed and offer instructions, advice and corrections. They are often needed during the first weeks of a baby’s life while mother and baby are still learning to breastfeed.

Lactation consultants can help mothers and infants with different challenges such as milk supply, pain, latch and breastfeeding positions. They can also help with problems related to pumping and withdrawal.

The right support and guidance from a lactation consultant can be a game-changer for new mothers on their breastfeeding journey.

If you are a new mother struggling with breastfeeding, medical professionals strongly recommend seeking the help of a lactation consultant.