August was National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and up until 4 months ago I could only imagine what mothers go through when trying to breastfeed. Now, I’m part of the crew. And to be honest, it started out hard, like really hard. My nipples hurt and bled, and every time Coen latched it was intensely painful. I could definitely see why Mum’s turn to formula. But it got better. My nipples became hardier, and we learnt together how to work as a team. Everyone’s experience, just like any part of motherhood, is completely their own. Some people will take to breastfeeding like ducks to water, others will be unable to breastfeed at all. Getting the support you need is imperative to having a successful experience, for whatever capacity you want to breastfeed for. These options may seem like no brainers, but I’m going to throw them out anyway.
See a lactation consultant. These women are trained specifically to help you and your baby. They know all the tips and tricks, can check for tongue ties and can literally be the difference between sticking with breastfeeding or not. Consultants who are certified through the International Board of Lactation Consultants are extensively trained to give you all the help you need to successfully breastfeed.
See a Chiropractor. I had a 3 week old come into my practice earlier in August, who was struggling to get enough sucking power and had a weak latch. Her momma was worried that she wouldn’t be able to continue breastfeeding as she was struggling with the pain and a feeling of failure. After an assessment, I did concur that she had a weak sucking reflex but there was no issue with her jaw. She did however, have a subluxation (spinal misalignment) in the upper neck and needed some cranial work done. After her gentle adjustment, she latched right on (with minimal pain to mum) and went to town. This is not an uncommon experience in Chiropractic offices. This article goes into more depth, but the basis of the adjustment is that removing pressure from the nerves allows function to flow and a better connection between the brain and the body.
Listen to your Intuition. Even if you’re a brand new Momma, that voice inside you and your gut feeling is worth listening to. If you feel something is wrong, it probably is, and you should reach out. If you are feeling unheard by the people you are working with, find new people. Never discount your intuition as it may be the first sign you recognize that something is a little off.
Whatever capacity you breastfed for, I commend you. It is such a great thing not only for your baby but for yourself as well. Keep up the great work and if you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Peace, Love and Wellness