Being a new mum these days can be so confusing. It seems as though everyone gives you different and conflicting advice. We don't have wise women to help us learn our new mothering skills, and we haven't had the benefit of watching our mothers, aunts and sisters breastfeeding their babies, so we have no idea what to expect.
There are a lot of popular books and big personalities that target new mums, offering a plethora of advice on everything from baby sleep through to feeding patterns. Unfortunately a lot of the advice is based on old wives tales and is contradictory to current research on breastfeeding babies. We recommend always checking the authors qualifications, and unless they are a current International Certified Lactation Consultant, please take everything you hear with a big pinch of caution. In my role I come across so many women who have been given poor advice that has led to breastfeeding problems, or mothers having to give up breastfeeding before they wanted to due to lack of good quality support.
Finding Good Quality Breastfeeding Friendly Information
The best approach is to reference high quality resources and learn what you can, so that when you are given bad advice, you know to ignore it. Unfortunately for new mums, the our knowledge about how breastfeeding works, and about babies has changed significantly over recent decades, so many health professionals have out of date information. On top of this, many health professionals are only required to spend a couple of hours learning about breastfeeding during their training. This includes doctors, health nurses and midwives. If you have problems with breastfeeding you should always consult a qualified lactation consultant, as they are required to be up to date with the latest information on breastfeeding, and are your best resource.
So, where do you find a lactation consultant? Fortunately there is a database of lactation consultants that you can reference to find someone close to you: www.lcanz.org/find-a-lactation-consultant
The ABA is a great source of relevant information for Mums
If you're not really sure whether or not you need a lactation consultant or you just want to talk to someone, there is a wonderful 24 hour service by the Australian Breastfeeding Association that you can call. You simply ring the helpline and a trained breastfeeding counselor will answer. The number is 1800 686 268. The ABA takes up to 6,000 calls per month from Mums who need help. Every month they have more than 400 trained volunteers that answer the phone in their own homes on a roster. Each of the trained volunteers have breastfed at least one baby.
I personally called the ABA quite a few times with both of my children and found it so helpful to have someone to talk through my experiences with. It's also great to join the association as a member and meet other breastfeeding mums - this can be a great source of support (and new friends!).
Other wonderful websites with evidence-based information for new mums
Australian Breastfeeding Association information - a collection of articles that cover some of the most common breastfeeding questions
KellyMom - a huge resource of evidence-based information and articles that covers just about everything you would ever need!
Pinky McKay - Pinky is an amazing Lactation Consultant and attachment parenting advocate. Her blog is full of down-to-earth wisdom, as is her Facebook page. Pinky is also the author of some fabulous early motherhood books, and has more great resources on her website.
The Milk Meg - Meg is also a fabulous, down-to-earth lactation consultant and attachment parenting advocate. Her blogs are a great source of information and support for new mums.
No-Cry Sleep Solution - this one isn't so much about breastfeeding, but more a great resource on sleep for babies that is totally respectful of attachment parenting practices such as co sleeping and extended breastfeeding.
Possums Clinic - Leading the way in research based, holistic care for new babies and their mothers, the Possums Clinic is a non-profit health service for families. You can consult via Skype or in person if you live in Brisbane. The Possums Clinic also has a Day Stays program to help with unsettled babies. Finally, don't miss the fabulous Sleep Film by the Possums Clinic, which references the latest research in neuroscience, sleep science, and infant attachment to suggest proven strategies for less disrupted sleep, while also supporting your baby’s optimal development.
What other resources have you found useful? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page
About the Author
Corryn is passionate about supporting Breastfeeding mums and finding gorgeous nursing tops and breastfeeding dresses (and more!) to make nursing easier no matter where you are. Milk and Love is her third child and sometimes the most demanding (!!), but she loves sending gorgeous products to Mums across Australia and hopes to brighten people's day with every parcel sent. Find out more about Milk and Love here.