Here are 5 reasons you must visit a lactation consultant post delivery
Nursing can take time to get used to and that's where a lactation consultant comes into picture. If you're a new mum too, here's why you must talk to them.
The process, albeit taxing, has many benefits and is an emotionally rewarding experience for the mother.
However, the time immediately after childbirth is not easy for a woman and breastfeeding is one of the many areas where new mums face difficulty.
Breastfeeding issues and the need for a lactation consultant
"Some women easily get a hold of how to nurse their baby and others face some issues along the way. This is where a lactation consultant comes in," begins Dr Deepa Kannan, Associate Medical Director, Portea Medical, who spoke exclusively with theindusparent on the need for new mums to consult a lactation specialist.
Who are lactation consultants?
"Lactation consultants are professional breastfeeding specialists trained to teach mothers how to feed their baby. They help with breastfeeding problems, such as latching difficulties, painful nursing, and low milk production. Many a time, if the mother is unable to breastfeed the newborn, she may be discouraged to try further by the family," explains Dr Kannan.
She adds that in nuclear families, a new mother may face difficulty in breastfeeding due to lack of anyone to advice and support on the wherewithal.
"However, it is important to understand the benefits that breastfeeding provides and take the advice of a lactation consultant if problems persist," advises Dr Kannan as she lists some instances where the new mother may need to contact a lactation consultant.
#1 Pain in the nipples
This is one of the most common problems in breastfeeding mothers. "Nipple pain could be a sign that something is not right. One common reason for this pain could be improper latching on to the breast by the baby. Many women stop breastfeeding due to this pain. However, it is better to consult a lactation practitioner and get help in the early stages itself," says Dr Kannan.
#2 Latching problems
"Most first-time mothers experience this problem where the baby is unable to attach to the breast at all or cannot stay on long enough. A lactation consultant can help in determining whether this is due to an improper feeding position or some other issue and advice accordingly," shares Dr Kannan.
She adds that there are also times when this issue stems from a defect in the baby’s mouth, tongue, or palate.
"The consultant can refer the mother to a health care provider in such cases. Additionally, a lactation consultant can also prove helpful to women who give birth a second or third time, given that each baby has different needs and adjusts differently," Dr Kannan adds.
#3 Weight gain issues
Sometimes, the baby gains weight too slowly, does not gain at all, or loses weight.
"In such cases, it is a good idea to take advice from a lactation expert who will then assess the feeding and whether there is a need to supplement it with formula," advises Dr Kannan.
#4 Delivery complications
Breastfeeding can be tough in cases where there is an unplanned cesarean delivery or if the mother has had excessive blood loss after childbirth.
Dr Kannan explains, "For mothers facing such issues, a lactation consultant can be reassuring and provide the right guidance on how to carry forward the process of feeding the baby."
#5 Myths surrounding breastfeeding and breast surgery
There are many myths surrounding breastfeeding. For instance, it is a painful process, certain foods consumed by mother can make the baby gassy, and that there should be a set feeding schedule for the baby. It is important to dispel these myths and a lactation consultant can help with this as well.
"Breastfeeding can become difficult in women who have had certain breast surgeries, particularly for breast reduction. For such women, it is better to take the advice of a lactation consultant before the baby’s birth. Later, the consultant can also help in assessing milk production to ensure that the newborn gets enough nutrition," she adds.
One of the major reasons why women stop nursing the infant is lack of support and advice. It is therefore important to identify the breastfeeding issues they encounter and get them addressed by a lactation consultant on time.
Dr Kannan advises, "This will not only help them in making the process of breastfeeding an enjoyable and satisfying experience but also ensure that adequate nutrition reaches the infant."