We’re going to tell it like it is—breastfeeding is hard. Don’t let movies, pop culture, or, honestly, your own baby boomer mother fool you into thinking that breastfeeding always comes naturally. The experts at The Nesting Place—and real moms who’ve been through it, of course—know that for many women, that is not at all the case.
As moms, we're all made aware of the benefits of breastfeeding; it is the ideal form of nutrition for your growing baby, promotes bonding with your child, and can even reduce a woman's risk of certain cancers. But you know what? If it's proving difficult for you, you don't need to struggle alone or stress yourself out as you Google in an attempt to figure out what you’re doing wrong. Instead, make it easier on your postpartum self and call The Nesting Place 7 days a week where one of their extremely warm and knowledgeable birth professionals can connect you with their IBCLC-certified lactation consultant. An IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) has completed hands-on, extensive clinical training with moms and their babies—and her job is to help you try to breastfeed, no matter your individual struggle.
“Typically, newborns can have issues latching, and there’s potential for tongue ties and lip ties which restrict the baby’s mouth so they can’t get a proper feel of mom's nipple,” says Rachel McHale, an IBCLC and the director of lactation consulting at The Nesting Place. “Many moms also suffer from low supply, severe engorgement, mastitis and/or have babies who have trouble transferring the milk, are jaundice, or slow weight gain.” A lactation consultant works one-on-one with each mom and her baby (and her partner, if applicable) to solve any of these issues or concerns they may be having.
Although many lactation consultants work with moms in all stages, whether newly postpartum, returning to work, or getting her period back after birth (which can affect milk supply), the critical time to initially call a lactation consultant is if you notice your newborn isn’t peeing, pooping or gaining weight. “Those are the three major things I look for,” Rachel says. “While nipples get sore, breastfeeding should never be painful. So if you’re having severe pain, call us and we will tackle it from there.”
A typical initial consult booked through The Nesting Place is two hours long, and can take place at your home (for an additional travel fee if you're not in the immediate area), at TNP headquarters in Ridgewood, New Jersey (with all parties wearing masks) or, if you’re more comfortable given the pandemic, virtually. First, the baby is weighed in a diaper, then mom feeds the baby, and then the baby is weighed again. “It’s the only way to tell [how much milk] the baby is getting at the breast,” Rachel says. Then, you’ll go over a plan and a schedule with your consultant, i.e. what you will be doing moving forward based on which issues need to be addressed, whether it’s exclusively breastfeeding, pumping, supplementing or some combination of the three.
A lactation consult—and any variation of postpartum support, really—is truly a necessity for new moms, but even more so during this time of isolation. “Even if I’m doing consults virtually, I can still see clients’ faces and help them figure things out with somebody they care so much about during this stressful time...I like to be there to support mom and baby.”
New mamas should also keep in mind that there is zero shame in needing assistance in nursing—or in not being able to nurse at all. "Ultimately, a fed baby is the best baby,” Rachel says. “You have to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally ,so if breastfeeding isn’t going to work out, you’re still a wonderful parent with a wonderful baby.”
If you want to book a lactation consult, learn the basics of breastfeeding, or join a support group with other breastfeeding mamas—”support groups are tremendously helpful, especially now,” Rachel adds—reach out to The Nesting Place! Send them a DM (and give them a follow) @thenestingplacenjny on Facebook or Instagram, give them a call at 201.623.3629, or fill out the form on the website.