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The challenges of breast feeding

Why new mothers don’t consult lactation experts to address breastfeeding challenges

The Medela breastfeeding Survey 2017 pointed out that only 13 percent of new lactating mothers from Maharashtra consulted a lactation consultant

Breastfeeding is quite challenging, ask any new mother and you will know. Most people think that breastfeeding comes naturally to all mothers, but little do they know that it isn’t all that easy. There are issues like improper latching, the positioning of the baby, mother’s milk supply, engorgement all of which affect breastfeeding. These problems are thought to be so trivial that if a mother complains about them to the doctor or even the elderly women of the family, they are brushed off instantly. Instead of helping the mothers deal with the problems, the caregivers and doctors believe that they will overcome them with time, on their own. Precisely, these are the challenges that make new mothers quit even before completing the first six months of exclusive breastfeeding recommended by the WHO. Here are nine things you should n to say to a breastfeeding mother.

Often, when mothers need help regarding breastfeeding, they typically turn to their mothers, mother-in-laws, gynaecologists or even paediatricians. ‘Hardly do we hear mothers opting for lactation experts for breastfeeding help. Lactation consultants should be the first point of contact for all post-natal problems as they not only advice but also debunk the myths associated with breastfeeding. They are specialised breastfeeding helpers for new mommies who face difficulties while breastfeeding their kids,’ says Dr Preeti Gangan, Lactation consultant Mumbai, a member of Medela LC Club & International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

The recent Medela breastfeeding Survey 2017 showed that 13 percent of new lactating mothers from Maharashtra consulted a lactation consultant for advice on breastfeeding issues while 27 percent sought help from their mothers and 19 percent went to the paediatrician. While 16 percent of them turned to gynaecologists for help another 19 percent women looked for help on the internet.

Why don’t new mothers consult lactation experts for help?

First, there is a lack of awareness among mothers and then comes lack of support. Not many mothers are encouraged to seek help from lactation experts. Most breastfeeding problems are dealt at home. One is asked to quit breastfeeding if they aren’t resolved with minimal help at hand. But we can’t ignore the benefits of breastfeeding and how it helps both the mother and baby. This is why it is necessary for new mothers to seek help from lactation experts.

What should mothers do?

A message for all mothers should be to empower themselves with the right knowledge and ask for help from the right place. Talking to a lactation expert will not only help a mother overcome breastfeeding challenges but will also contribute to fighting postpartum depression to an extent, which could set in due to lack of proper breastfeeding support.

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