Choosing to breastfeed your child is a wonderful thing. Even though breastfeeding is so rewarding and convenient, it can be exhausting and hard to get the hang of! This year, when I became pregnant with my second child, I was wiser and thought I knew how to nurse, having nursed my first child for almost 17 months! I never thought I would suffer a painful latch or engorgement like I had with my first baby. Imagine how surprised I was when this experience was proving to be just like my first.
Thankfully this time I was not afraid to ask for help. I knew my support plan was to attend the Baby Café at Southside Hospital as soon as possible; however, I could not wait even a few days to get help. I was only home for 24 hours before reaching out to a local lactation consultant, Jennifer Giordano, who was able to come to my home immediately. She helped my new baby girl and I get the swing of things so I could breastfeed comfortably. Our visit also prevented mastitis since I was already engorged.
The following Tuesday, I packed up my little girl and attended the Baby Café, finding comfort from the support of another lactation consultant as well as other mothers who have committed to nurse or pump expressed breastmilk for their babies.
I can confidently tell anyone that without the support of both the private lactation consultant and the group, I may not be breastfeeding today. I am so grateful that there is a community to support breastfeeding, especially when it gets tough. Breastfeeding has been one of my proudest mommy decisions! My advice to all mothers is to receive prenatal breastfeeding education from a knowledgeable breastfeeding counselor like an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). This way, you will be well prepared to breastfeed when your baby arrives. Also, an IBCLC is an excellent resource for private hands-on support if you have breastfeeding challenges. And of course, I highly recommend continuous weekly support at a breastfeeding support group like the Southside Hospital Baby Café I attended, which is a free mother-to-mother support group with Wendi Andria, the IBCLC, mentoring and supporting us.
With my baby girl turning just one month old this week, I am so happy she is thriving, and we are bonding during our breastfeeding journey together. I sincerely hope this helps other mothers on their breastfeeding journey as well.
Kelly is the Director of Student Development at Fusion Academy and mom of two.