So much confusion and misinformation still reigns for new mothers when it comes to breastfeeding. In spite of the advances in scientific research regarding breastfeeding; myths, advice from previous generations (old wives tales) and, sadly, from ‘health’ professionals still abounds to confuse and frustrate new mothers.
About 95% of mothers want to breastfeed their babies however, by the time their baby is 3 months of age many are mix feeding or have stopped breastfeeding ….so how can women be more informed, more prepared to give themselves the best chance at success?
In 2014 we have powerful scientific evidence to support the art of breastfeeding to help mothers enjoy a positive breastfeeding relationship with their baby.
Overwhelming evidence recommending skin to skin attachment of the baby to the mother within the first hour of birth probably comes closest to guaranteeing pain free attachment and positioning of the baby at the breast and promotes a longer breastfeeding relationship as a result.
Before delivery the focus is on a birth plan. A breastfeeding plan can also be implemented before birth, with follow through strategies for the early days of breastfeeding to appropriately support the new partnership between mother and baby. Evidenced based information and advice from an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) is invaluable to a mother wanting to breastfeed, or in need of support if she has breastfeeding concerns or issues.
Mothers need to learn what to expect regarding their baby’s physiological, neurological and emotional needs to support their adjustment to the early weeks of breastfeeding and parenting. The breastfeeding relationship needs time to develop between a mother and baby. Evidenced based antenatal education provides women with the information and tools to counter the misleading myths and old wives tales that will interfere with this relationship.
Early days in hospital can be confusing for many new mothers as they relate the common theme of conflicting advice from different staff in hospital. Attending in hospital classes taken by an IBCLC can help guide them in the right direction. Any breastfeeding issue or concern not resolving with the help of the midwives should be directed to the wards IBCLC to implement prompt and appropriate interventions. Review of the interventions is usually provided at drop in breastfeeding clinics at the hospital after discharge.
A valuable resource is a private IBCLC who can come to the home after hospital discharge. One on one consultation with the mother and baby provides the ideal setting to rectify issues or problems unresolved at discharge and to review breastfeeding progress. IBCLC’s are best qualified to provide ongoing support for breastfeeding, breastfeeding issues and problems, expressing, settling and sleep related issues. They also have the information and necessary skills to help those who support and care for the mother and baby.
Breastfeeding is a learnt skill and mothers and their babies need time to develop what can and should be a mutually satisfying relationship for as long as they wish to maintain the breastfeeding relationship. Partners and significant others involved in the care of a new mother and baby have a pivotal role in safeguarding this special relationship and should be encouraged to do so.
Written by Lynne-McKensey Hall (IBCLC) and author of the Breastfeeding and Baby Matters books series on sale now for $49.95 (inc postage) http://www.betterbeginnings.com.au
Lynne-McKensey Hall has over thirty years’ experience in nursing, midwifery, nurse education and lactation management. She now works as an IBCLC in her private practice Better Beginnings in Sydney, Australia. Lynne has just released Breastfeeding & Baby Matters, a series of eight booklets available from Better Beginnings. She is also available for phone 0419 245 966 and Skype consultations. To see all of Lynne’s articles, click here.