If there is one piece of advice that I could give any mom is that nothing ever goes as planned, ever. If it did, I would’ve already had B2, I fully anticipated she would be a June baby based on my conversations with my OB, but June came and went and she is still in utero. With B1 the plan was always to breastfeed, but with some medical complications post birth and the fact that after 2 weeks of trying my milk still hadn’t come in, I ended up not breastfeeding. It was such a hard decision, mixed with the post-partum hormones, and the guilt that I felt for not feeling good enough to provide for my baby, I hibernated. The only lactation consultant I saw basically told me to give up, it was an extremely difficult decision for me but at the end of the day, I needed to provide nutrients for my baby and if I couldn’t do that then I was going to find an alternate solution.
More than ready for baby girl :)
With B2 I plan on trying the breastfeeding route again, I will be more willing to see a (different) lactation consultant immediately for help and pray that my milk comes in this time. Fortunately for me I was contacted by the team at Acelleron in North Andover, MA. Not only can you order medical products (like breast pumps, etc…) through them, they also offer many pre and post-partum services for moms. Things like fitness classes, doula services, new mom support groups, and lactation support groups. Since I didn’t go to one when B1 was born, I sent Megan at Acelleron a list of questions that I had about lactation support groups. I know I personally am very intimidated to go to any type of new class whether it be fitness, education, or something like lactation, my type A personality doesn’t like the unknown.
For the benefit of you and I, I posted our Q&A session below, and at the bottom is the info to enter the giveaway that Acelleron and I are having!
1. What is the benefit from attending a lactation support group?
There are so many great benefits! First, it is a great time to connect with other new moms! You get to see that your relationship and struggles are very common and you are not the only one going through them at 3 am. Second, you get professional advice and opinions by someone who is trained and educated in the field of lactation support. There are so many myths and bad advice out there surrounding breastfeeding. This is a great time to come in and get your questions answered by someone with professional and personal expertise.
2. When should mom start attending a lactation support group?
As soon as they can get out of the house! They can even come to a group while they are pregnant. I have had moms come with 3 day olds and moms come in with 12 month olds. It’s never too late or too early to join us.
3. How long should I attend the lactation support group for? How long does the average mom stay in the support group?
It totally depends of the kind of support mom is looking for. Moms are welcome to drop in once to get their questions answered, or come every week for their whole maternity leave. It is great when moms come for a few weeks and really build a bond with other moms. We are all about community and supporting each other, so it is great to watch that happen. On average, people stay in the group for 3-4 months.
4. Do moms actively breastfeed during the support group?
Yes. There are moms nursing throughout the meeting. It also gives me a chance to check positioning and latch.
5. When would a mom need a private session instead of being part of the group?
Moms would need a private session for a few different reason. If a baby is not gaining weight appropriately, lots of pain or bleeding on mom’s nipple, mom needs help creating a plan for going back to work. I always suggest starting out with the support group and then deciding from there, unless it is a more emergent situation.
6. What would you say to a mom that could not breast feed her first child but wants to try to breastfeed a second child?
Every pregnancy is different and every child is different! The best thing to do is educate yourself. Learn from what happened the first time around, and find a support system that will help you get breastfeeding started early on.
7. Are there foods or a diet that boosts breast milk supply?
Some moms will report a boost in their supply when they eat things like oatmeal, lactation cookies, coconut water and Gatorade. It is all really anecdotal as there is no research that proves any foods can increase supply.
8. What can a mom do to encourage better milk production or for her milk to come in?
The best advice is to breastfeed the baby early and often! As the baby suckles it tells your body to make more milk. It is all about supply and demand. The more the baby nurses, the more milk your body will make. In those first few days the baby does not need a lot of milk to fill up their tiny tummy. They need to be at the breast at least 8-12 times in 24 hours. This will help encourage your supply.
9. What would you tell a mom who’s milk has not come in more than one week post-partum?
If your milk has not come in after more than one week post-partum mom should be working directly with a lactation professional. Milk usually comes in around day 3 for a vaginal birth and can take up to 5 days to come in for a c-section.
10. For moms that don’t want to exclusively breast feed, when is it best to introduce a bottle?
The best time to introduce a bottle is around 3-4 weeks. If you wait much longer it might be harder. If you do it too soon it could have some negative effects. When deciding to introduce a bottle make sure to do some research on Paced Bottle Feeding. You can find some great video’s on YouTube. This method helps simulate a breastfeeding type experience and will help the baby easily transition between bottle and breast.
Megan O’Neill is the Director of Lactation Support at Acelleron Maternal Health & Wellness in North Andover, MA, which provides the resources and supportive community parents need to become empowered in the process of growing their family. Megan has over three years of breastfeeding experience with her two little boys and holds her Certification in Lactation Counseling and is also certified by the Academy of Lactation Policy and Procedure. She holds a weekly free drop-in breastfeeding support group on Wednesdays from 11:30-12:30pm: http://acelleron.com/maternal/support/lactation-lounge/ or you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. More info about Acelleron Maternal Health & Wellness can be found at: http://acelleron.com/maternal/, Facebook or Twitter.
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Did you attend a lactation support group? What was the best thing about it?