Latching on is learned when breastfeeding
Published at: 09 Aug 2019
DESPITE BREASTFEEDING TWICE PREVIOUSLY, CRYSTAL VALENTINE SOUGHT THE SUPPORT OF GOULBURN VALLEY HEALTH’S LACTATION CLINIC RECENTLY.
After giving birth to her third baby, Jonty, Ms Valentine joined lactation consultants Di James and Linda Gladman for support when feeding.
“The first time I was having some issues but it was also about confidence; the next couple of times has been to help with pain,” she said.
The consultants had equipped Ms Valentine with the tools she needed to ease Jonty into breastfeeding.
“This is Crystal’s third baby but because every baby is different she has come to the clinic once again,” Ms James said.
“It’s not easy; breastfeeding is natural but you have to learn it.”
Ms Valentine said some people might think her breastfeeding journey had been easy.
She said she experienced challenges with all three of her children, but persisted due to the benefits and convenience of breastfeeding.
“People look at me and think it must be so easy but I have had challenges all the way through my breastfeeding journey, but you just keep going because it’s so worth it,” Ms Valentine said.
“It’s convenient; there’s no bottles to wash, it’s just there.”
“The mother’s milk is tailored for that baby,” Ms Gladman added.
Ms Gladman and Ms James encouraged women who needed support with breastfeeding to book an appointment at GV Health’s Lactation Clinic which operates three days each week.
They said their clients came from self-referrals, visiting new mothers on the maternity ward at GV Health and referrals from doctors and GPs.
Usually seeing around three clients each day, Ms James said the time each mother spent at the clinic depended on the support needed.
“It’s up to them but we usually encourage them to come in the morning,” she said.
The consultants then get mothers to stay for an entire feed.
“That might be an hour or it could be three hours; they might stay for their next feed or go out shopping and come back for their next feed,” Ms James said.
Ms James said mothers who used the services experienced a range of issues.
These could range from attachment issues, to sore nipples, mastitis and milk levels right through to mothers simply lacking confidence and needing reassurance.
“Most of the time mums just need reassurance; they doubt themselves all the time but they’re often doing fine,” Ms James said.
The support from the consultants does not stop at the clinic, with several mothers following up appointments with phone questions.
Ms James said having difficulty breastfeeding was common.
“Most ladies have a bit of difficulty,” she said.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION TIPS:
What dads can do:
• Help around the house, reduce stress for your partner and make sure she gets enough rest
• Burp the baby after a feed – dad’s chest is great for this!
• Care for the baby in ways other than feeding, such as baths, changing nappies and taking the baby for a walk.
What mums can do:
• Before your baby arrives, get the facts on breastfeeding
• When your baby is born, try to give the first breastfeed within an hour
• You’ll need help with learning to breastfeed and so will your baby. Do not be afraid to ask for it!
• Make sure you get plenty of healthy food, water and rest.
What family and friends can do:
• Provide emotional support and practical help – deliver groceries, cook meals, clean the house
• Take care of the baby’s big brothers and sisters
• Listen and be supportive – boost the mum’s confidence in breastfeeding.
What can be done in the workplace:
• Give enough maternity leave for mums to get breastfeeding established
• Make it easier for mums to return to work by providing time and a place to breastfeed or express and store milk
• Support your colleagues while they’re breastfeeding – it’s not always easy to balance work and being a new mum!