Like most things in life, mastering breastfeeding may require some guidance, and a lactation consultation serves this very purpose.

Six weeks.

This is how long it takes for women to try out and give up on breastfeeding should it not feel effortless. Unfortunately, breastfeeding is not as instinctive as one would think. New moms usually do not know how to get it right the first time. Usually, a new mom could see a lactation consultant in the hospital to help them with getting the right latch or navigating some of the physical challenges of breastfeeding. These include:

  • Too much breastmilk and leakage
  • Engorgement
  • Cracked and bleeding nipples
  • Blocked ducts/mastitis

South African lactation consultant Carey Haupt has been unable to see new moms in the hospital for a year due to lockdown restrictions. This lack of access sees moms not seeking out external breastfeeding guidance.

There are some amazing benefits for consulting a lactation expert. This includes:

Not doing it alone

Carey has taken all her sessions online, either through Whatsapp or Zoom sessions with both mom and dad. She can also see both mom and dad after their hospital visit. “I think it is absolutely important that dads take an active role and be knowledgeable about breastfeeding and be there to support moms.”

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The few days after childbirth are the hardest for new moms, and having a supportive and knowledgeable partner that can give a new mom confidence is imperative.

Why am I in pain?

Breastfeeding can be a painful experience, and when you do not understand why you are in pain, you can easily throw in the towel. A lactation consultant is qualified enough to diagnose the source of your pain and help with relief. There are easy home remedies that mom can use to resolve some typical breastfeeding challenges. Emptying the breast often, for instance, helps clear engorged boobs. However, moms may not be aware of these remedies.

“The first three/four days are seeing moms having a lot of engorgement which does not clear on its own” Carey says. When it does not clear on its own, moms give up.

A lactation consultant can be the knowledgeable best friend to quickly text should you have any questions or doubts about the pain.

Quick resolutions to challenges

When you have an expert, you can resolve issues before they become extreme. Blocked ducts can lead to mastitis which is an infection moms can get. Without the awareness of the issue, small problems can lead to bigger ones. “The sooner I can help a mom, the better the chances of them continuing with breastfeeding,” Carey says.

This is why moms need to have someone to consult should they encounter problems that inhibit them from establishing a healthy breastfeeding relationship with their babies.

Should you stop breastfeeding?

Some external challenges can contribute to the mounting issues moms experience when breastfeeding. Without the right kind of support, moms can guilt themselves into continuing breastfeeding even when their circumstances do not allow it. Moms without a solid support structure and who are overwhelmed about breastfeeding can choose to stop.

Having lactation support can give you the confidence you need to stop without guilting yourself about it.

How much does it cost?

Costs for lactation experts vary, and some charge about R1000 for a session. For a 30-59 minutes session, Carey charges R595 and R975 for up to two hours. The package also includes two weeks of Whatsapp support.

Medical aid users can charge this on their account as well, dependent on the plan they use.

 

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