I hoped I'd be able to breastfeed once I had my daughter, but of course I had no way of knowing whether or not it would work out. I just figured I'd be optimistic, give it a good shot, and call in help if I needed to. I thought if I could breastfeed for a few months even, great. Then I'd take it from there.
As it turned out, I didn't have a problem with it at all, and I'm happy to say I breastfed my daughter for just over a year (and I loved every minute of it.)
But I definitely don't take the experience for granted -- many new mamas do encounter difficulty when it comes to breastfeeding, and they need to call in some experienced help.
Lactation consultants are professionals, often registered nurses, who will help you learn how to breastfeed your baby. They can help with issues such as pain, the baby not getting a good latch or rejecting the breast, milk supply, learning to use a breast pump, or questions around the idea of supplementing with formula.
They will offer encouragement, too, which is key if you're experiencing problems and you've got a fussy, hungry newborn on your hands.
Breastfeeding may be the most natural thing in the world, but it doesn't always come naturally to new moms and babies. If you're frustrated and experiencing any difficulty, a lactation consultant may be able to help.
How can I find a lactation consultant?
Start with the hospital where you'll be delivering -- most have a LC or two on staff. You can also ask your pediatrician, if you've already selected one, for recommendations. Try to get a name and number before you deliver so that if you do encounter problems, you're not scrambling to find a contact after the birth.
Also -- call your insurance company now, too, to see if they will cover part of the cost. Some will.
How much will a LC cost?
Fees vary, but the average rate is between $65 - $80 an hour. The first visit may include a follow-up meeting or phone call at no additional charge -- be sure to ask.
And speaking of breastfeeding, if you're thinking of buying a breast pump to use at some point, read these FAQs first.
If you've already given birth, did you encounter any difficulty in breastfeeding? Did you hire a lactation consultant? Share here with other moms.