When clients sometimes ask me “how long should I breastfeed? I say, “for as long as it brings you joy.
My philosophy is that feeding your baby is a moving and powerful event and should not cause undue heartache or stress. It helps to know oneself. Understanding your goals and what allows you to enjoy your baby is important on this journey.
For some, this is turning over every stone to make breastfeeding work. For others, like myself, I persisted as long as I could mentally and physically which was less time than my original goal. But I do not regret this. I feel proud that I made those decisions for myself.
When I meet a client, I want to know “their” goal. Breastfeed exclusively? Breast and bottle feed? Breastfeed initially and add bottles at a certain interval? Exclusively pump or formula feed? Yes Lactation Consultants help with bottle skills and I don’t care what is in the bottle. I am here to support you.
One very important element that is integral to this discussion is maternal mental health. I am passionate about recognizing the signs of perinatal mood disorders and providing resources when appropriate. I also tailor my care plan to reflect the need to take care of mental health.
Self care and sleep is also important for mental health, physical health and milk supply. I will prescribe sleep instead of frequent pumping overnight with a balance to prevent plugged ducts & mastitis & not diminish milk supply as much as possible.
Sometimes parents know what they want out of breastfeeding. Sometimes parents explore their goals over time. I can help facilitate a realistic discussion and provide steps to reach each family's feeding goals.
Breastfeeding should not sacrifice our mental or physical health. It should enhance it. It should bring us joy. It takes a village to be successful at breastfeeding and raising children. An IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) can be a part of that essential process.
Enjoy Your Breastfeeding Relationship!