Healthcare Providers and Breastfeeding Support
As previously mentioned in a prior blog, many healthcare providers and professionals will state their support of breastfeeding but not have the time nor ability to help support the woman in need. I want to dive into this topic a little further. I have found that many pediatrician's who have expressed their desires to have their patients breastfeed, agree it is the appropriate food necessary for infant humans, yet see a drastic change in counsel when breastfeeding problems surface. Many times pediatrician's are so overwhelmed with their own practice that they are unable to help a mother in need. Unfortunately lactation counselors are seen in the hospital for the first few days of the infants life and afterward the mother is to follow up with a pediatrician that has a very thriving practice. Most pediatricians are too busy to provide the amount of time that is needed to counsel a mother who is struggling with her breastfeeding relationship. This has left generations of mother's seeking advice, counsel, and help from others that may not be able to fully support her needs. The result has become the decline of breastfeeding infants past the age of six months of age. There are some crucial changes that can be made in order to encourage and support breastfeeding women. Some ways to be successful include:
1. Seek out resources in the community.
WIC has implemented a breastfeeding counselor program that has helped to support and
raise breastfeeding rates across the country. Fortunately, this has been helpful for women
who qualify for WIC. There are lactation counselors in about every community, search the
ALPP.org website to find a lactation counselor in your area.
2. Find a pediatrician supportive of breastfeeding.
Many pediatricians will be "breastfeeding friendly". However be cautious of pediatricians
who have formula advertising in their office. Formula companies will provide samples of
formula for doctors willing to give it out, formula is not breastfeeding friendly. Interview a
list of pediatrician before choosing them as a health care provider. Ask questions related
to specific scenarios that may occur and gauge their reaction. Ask how they feel about
weight gain and which growth charts they use. There is a lot to learn from a simple
interview. Lastly, listen to gut feelings. Don't stay with a doctor because they have been
used for a long time. Have a valid reason for choosing a particular health care provider.
3. Double provided information.
Because there is no standard of care with breastfeeding, anyone can give advice and
counsel. At times, this information is correct, solid, good information. At times, the
information becomes a detriment. It is important to either get a second opinion or research
for yourself the correct information. There are great resources for the community with
research based information, the following websites below are great sources of
Be mindful of where information is coming from, do research, and seek out a professional lactation counselor for issues that are complex. With the help of the local community and local lactation professional, most breastfeeding relationships are well supported. The goal is for the mother to find success, feel that she has achieved her goal, and maintain a strong bonding relationship with her infant.