If you’re here, I’m guessing you’ve figured out that breastfeeding is hard work! Props to you though, mama, for not quitting at the first sign of adversity like so many people do! I know you want the best for your baby, and you know that breastfeeding benefits your baby in so many ways. So I’ve compiled this list of resources to help you breastfeed successfully.
Check out breastfeeding resources from your local library.
I have an immense love for the local library. You’ll find me there with my kiddos several times a month, at minimum. The story times, the play areas, the family movie showings, the classes, the book clubs, and most importantly, the books. More importantly than most importantly, it’s all FREE.
If you live anywhere within the United States, you should have access to a library. So if you haven’t yet, get thee to this free establishment filled with tremendous amounts of knowledge and relevant information about all things motherhood. If you don’t know where to find the books about breastfeeding, just ask someone. I’ve never met a librarian who wasn’t pleasantly helpful.
Ask for help in a breastfeeding support Facebook group
There are lots of friendly, experienced moms on Facebook just bursting to share their wisdom with struggling new mothers. Some organizations, like the La Leche League offer some professional advice, too. You can search for groups like these on Facebook, or you can start here, here, or here!
The great thing about these Facebook groups is that they are mostly anonymous. No one really knows who you are and you’ll mostly likely never meet any of these people. So it’s safe to asks questions you’d be too embarrassed to ask a friend in real life.
You also often get the benefit of getting a wide variety of responses. Everyone has their own unique experience with breastfeeding, so no two answers will be exactly the same. You can pick and choose the advice you like, and leave the rest. Even if you don’t post any questions yourself, there’s a lot to be learned just from browsing the conversations of others as a fly on the wall. You might learn about something you never would’ve even thought to ask on your own.
Take a Breastfeeding Course
It’s a great idea to take a breastfeeding class along with any childbirthing classes you take while you’re expecting. Most hospitals offer them for free or for a small fee. A breastfeeding class can help you feel more confident about your ability to breastfeed, as well as give you lots of tools and information to set you up for breastfeeding success.
Knowing the most common problems you’re likely to encounter and how to go about solving those problems when you run into them is the best way to empower yourself to have a great breastfeeding experience.
Trust me, when it’s 2 AM, you’ve only slept for 3 out of the last 36 hours and the baby just can’t seem to get enough to eat, that can of formula that the hospital sent home with you is going to look awfully tempting. Arm yourself with every bit of information you can ahead of time so that you’ll know what to do when problems arise.
Can’t make it to an in-person class? There are plenty of classes you can take online with lots of great info. Just search for online breastfeeding classes and take your pick! You can probably find most of the information in those classes for free elsewhere, but going through an organized class is definitely more convenient and saves you the hassle of trying to do intelligent research in your decidedly sleep-deprived state.
Hire a Lactation Consultant for Breastfeeding Help
A lactation consultant is such a valuable resource to help you succeed at breastfeeding. That’s literally her job! Yes it will cost a little money. But if you’re having significant trouble with breastfeeding, or if you just aren’t feeling confident, just one visit with a professional could totally change the trajectory of your breastfeeding journey. It could make the difference between reaching your breastfeeding goals or making the switch to formula far sooner than you ever hoped.
Contact your OB/GYN for recommendations on where to find a consultant, or log on to the International Lactation Consultants Association’s website for a directory of consultants they have on record. You can also run a quick Google search for ‘lactation consultant near me’ and that should get you well on your way to finding the help you need.
Make sure to check to see if your health insurance will help cover the cost of a consultant!! Breastfeeding has lots of long-term health benefits that save big health insurance companies a lot of money, so if they’re smart, they should be investing everything they can into helping you succeed at breastfeeding!
Find a Postpartum Doula
I didn’t have a postpartum doula for either of my babies, but I wish I had. The first few weeks after giving birth and taking care of a new baby is such a huge adjustment, and there is nowhere near enough support available to new mothers. A postpartum doula can drop in for a few hours several times a week to check on you, help take care of the baby, and to help with light housekeeping that just doesn’t happen when you’ve got a new little one.
Similar to a lactation consultant, a postpartum doula can offer breastfeeding help (many of them are actually lactation consultants in addition to being doulas!), but the fact that a doula will provide a much broader range of support throughout the postpartum period can make everything else seem more manageable. She’ll give you the support you need to be less overwhelmed and able to focus on breastfeeding.
The cost may, once again, be an initial turn-off to you, but I promise that you won’t regret a single penny when your sweet doula arrives at your door.
Friends and Relatives
Chances are you know some other women in your life who have breastfed their babies successfully. If you’re struggling with something, send out a quick text to your mom, sister, or your friend who just had a baby a few months ago.
You might be surprised at the wisdom that they have to offer, and most women are usually delighted if their experience can help someone else. They might even be able to point you to some local resources that you never would’ve known about otherwise.
So go ahead: reach out. Even if they don’t necessarily have any practical help, a listening ear and comforting word might just be all the encouragement you need to make it through a tough day with your new baby.
This wonderful organization deserves a bullet point all to itself. The La Leche League offers a little bit of everything to support you as you breastfeed: books, articles, a Facebook group, local meetups with trained leaders, webinars and more! If you are having trouble breastfeeding, LLL is one of the best places you can turn to for help to find the solution.
But what if you have a breastfeeding question that you need an answer to right now and it just can’t wait? There are a number of breastfeeding helplines available to you free of charge.
The Office on Women’s Health has one here, and the Infant Risk Center has one here to help you figure out if it’s safe to take certain medications while breastfeeding. You might also check your state’s job and family services center’s website to see what they have available. This is a great option if you’re on a limited budget, or if you just have a quick question and don’t want to take the time to meet with someone in person. Check it out!
Contact Unfrazzled Mama: me!
I’m no professional, but I did breastfeed each of my two babies for over a year, which I’d say counts for something! If you have questions, concerns, or just need a little encouragement about whatever you’re going through as you breastfeed your baby, send me a quick email in the form below, or at firstname.lastname@example.org I would LOVE to connect with you and help you however I can!
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