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Everyone wants to be a great parent. No doubt you’ve thought about breastfeeding and know about the documented health benefits for the mom and baby. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least 12 months). Usually, breastfeeding is an enjoyable experience. Sometimes though, obstacles occur, requiring you to seek the help of an experienced professional lactation consultant. An Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) works extensively with new families facing breastfeeding obstacles such as moms with cracked and bleeding nipples, babies who aren’t gaining enough weight, twins and triplets, and premature babies. Just as important, they work with moms who aren’t having breastfeeding problems, but who want reassurance that they are doing things “right.”

Some women fear trying to breastfeed because of stories they’ve heard. When women expect breastfeeding to be “natural and easy,” it may be especially difficult if it’s not. If you find yourself wondering whether your breastfeeding experience is more difficult than you expected, it probably is. Don’t wait to call for professional help. Most of the time the problem can be fixed very easily, but if you wait, thinking you can just “tough it out,” you may give up prematurely.

An expert coming to your home for one to three visits within a few days after birth can help you avert breastfeeding problems as well as focus on newborn care and self-care. The breastfeeding experience as a whole then becomes more enjoyable. While a lactation consultant often comes to a mom’s home while she is in a crisis situation, you may want to make contact with a professional while you’re pregnant. That way, the lactation consultant can arrange to come to your home in the first few days after the birth of your baby.

One last thought: if anyone asks you for shower ideas, suggest a home visit from a professional to get you and your baby off to a great start. You both deserve it.

Written by me, published in 2005 in Northwest Baby