Breastfeeding in the Modern Age
Find out why choosing to nurse has become such a public issue. Plus surprising breastfeeding tips, tricks, and facts of today.
But while breastfeeding advocates are more outspoken than ever, some modern moms still haven't gotten the memo that there are tons of resources at their fingertips. While some women don't want to nurse and a small percentage aren't able to, many women throw in the burp towel simply because they lack support. Here, common breastfeeding pitfalls—and ways to overcome them:
1. Lack of info. Women aren't getting the message that breast is best. In fact, some hospitals don't even have lactation consultants available for daily rounds. “Research shows that when you don't start breastfeeding in the hospital, you aren't likely to start later,” says Perrine.
What you can do: Learn the breastfeeding basics before the hungry babe arrives. Websites like Kelly Mom (kellymom.com) contain great tips, including positions to try when starting out. Some branches of Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the federal program supporting low-income mothers, offer lactation consultants who pay complimentary visits to new moms in the hospital, too—call yours to see if you're eligible. When shopping hospitals, call around to see which ones have lactation consultants visiting with new moms daily.
2. It's hard work. Some women try to breastfeed and truly can't—this includes the 5 percent of moms who have a low milk supply, often due to glandular problems (prior breast surgery could be a factor). But plenty of moms mistakenly think they can't make enough milk—when in fact their baby just needs help latching more effectively or is going through a growth spurt.
What you can do: Some WIC-affiliated lactation consultants make free house calls for latching problems or pain. If you can, spring for a session with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant—they may charge between $20 and $200 per session, but some insurance plans cover the cost. Find one at ilca.org. (To troubleshoot common problems yourself, see page 78.)