Visit Early and Often

“Growing like weeds, they are!” the neighbors would say. Of course, they meant that my children, like weeds, were beautiful plants. Though the other point was how fast they grew.

And growing fast means various changes over the months. More than one lactation consultation may be helpful for specific guidance. Your insurance company will most likely cover several visits. This is not a luxury. This is necessary.

Over the past years, due to the Affordable Care Act, coverage for lactation visits has improved. So go ahead and schedule another visit. Be assured of the information you discuss, review the progress you’ve made. The support you need is available at any stage.

Sometimes it takes awhile to resolve an issue. For example, parents with babies who are born early have certain concerns. A preterm baby will tend to be sleepier, yet still needs to feed frequently. That sleepiness can make it difficult to get them fed enough. It’s important to assure that feedings are effective. Our first strategies, feed the baby and maintain the milk supply, is time intensive work.

Together we create plans to make feeding manageable for the family. As the baby grows, their abilities improve. We can continue to discuss any concerns. Just as importantly, we celebrate how the family is growing.

Consistency, visits with the same provider, enhances our rapport and helps us notice what is happening. Years ago I provided breastfeeding guidance to a new mother. Like most parents with a newborn, she was a little overwhelmed though breastfeeding was going well. Three months later, though, she asked about weaning her baby. She thought it would be better for him. I wondered why.

We had another visit to discuss her concerns. Her questions about breast milk and babies were answered with facts. And yet… Why did she think she had to wean her baby? Because her family was under siege in another country and she was sick with worry. She felt guilty being in a safe place and was deeply troubled about the future. Would this intense anxiety contaminate her milk and harm her baby? I am thankful we had the time and space to talk. I could, at least, support her in two important things in her life, breastfeeding and being a parent.

I hope providing breast milk will be a calm habit of feeding and comforting your baby. It does take time to develop these new behaviors. Ask as many questions as you need. Let’s keep the conversation going as you and your baby, that unique ‘weed’, blossom so beautifully.