11 Resources for Breastfeeding Help

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If you're having trouble getting breastfeeding off to a good start, or if you develop a breastfeeding problem after you've been breastfeeding for a while, it's important to get help as soon as possible. The faster you can get breastfeeding on track—or back on track—the better it is for you and your baby.

When you wait to get help, what may start out as a small problem can become more complicated and harder to treat and correct. Many breastfeeding issues can quickly turn painful, lead to a low breast milk supply, cause a slow weight gain in your baby, and even have you thinking about giving up on breastfeeding. But, when you recognize and resolve an issue right away, breastfeeding is more likely to continue successfully.

Where Can You Find Breastfeeding Help?

Luckily, there are many people and places that you can turn to for information, advice, and help when you need it. Here are some of the resources available for breastfeeding mothers.

1. Family and Friends

Talking to friends and family members who have breastfeeding experience is always a great place to start when you need breastfeeding help. They can offer reassurance, assistance, tips, advice, and even some good recommendations on the places that they've used for help when they needed it. 

2. Your Doctor

Your OB/GYN is the best resource for any breastfeeding questions, concerns, or issues that develop with your breasts or nipples. Your doctor can examine your breasts and prescribe any medication that you may need if you encounter a common breastfeeding problem such as thrush, mastitis, or sore nipples. Your doctor can also refer you to a lactation consultant or a lactation center for further assistance if you need it. If you don't have an obstetrician, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) can refer you to one in your area.

3. Your Baby's Doctor

Whenever you feel that there's a breastfeeding issue, you should always notify your baby's doctor. Your child's pediatrician can help to diagnose any breastfeeding problems that are related to your baby such as an illness or a tongue-tie. But, more importantly, the doctor can monitor your child closely to be sure he remains healthy and continues to gain weight while you're taking care of your breastfeeding issues.

4. The Hospital or Birthing Center Where Your Baby Was Born

Most hospitals and birthing centers have lactation consultants or staff with advanced breastfeeding education available to help new mothers. If you can, schedule a consult with the lactation professional before you leave the hospital with your baby. And, ask for a phone number so you can call and speak with someone if you have any questions or issues once you get home. 

5. Lactation Professionals

Lactation consultants, physicians who specialize in breastfeeding medicine, advanced nurse lactation consultants, and certified lactation counselors are health care providers with extra training in the area of breastfeeding. They can evaluate and help to resolve breastfeeding issues. You can find a lactation professional near your home by searching on the internet, looking in the phone book, or asking your doctor for a referral.

6. Doulas and Baby Nurses

New moms can hire a postpartum doula or a baby nurse to stay with them in their homes to help with breastfeeding and infant care. These health professionals have experience with breastfeeding and dealing with the common issues that can come up during the first few weeks. Doulas and baby nurses can also be found online, in the phone book, or through a referral from family, friends, your doctor, the hospital, or a birthing center. 

7. Lactation Centers 

Lactation centers are breastfeeding centers, similar to a doctor's office or clinic, that have physicians, lactation consultants, and breastfeeding professionals on-site to help mothers and babies get through breastfeeding issues. Lactation centers are not available in all areas, so ask your doctor if there is a center near you.

8. The WIC Program

In the United States, The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a government program that provides breastfeeding information, education, and resources to lower-income women who qualify. To contact an office where you live, or to see if you're eligible, visit the WIC website.

9. Breastfeeding Organizations 

La Leche League International (LLLI) is a popular support system for breastfeeding women. It offers free mother-to-mother education, support, and advice through online and telephone assistance or regular, local group meetings. LLLI is an international organization, so it's available throughout the world. 

Other breastfeeding organizations such as Nursing Mothers Counsel, Breastfeeding USA, and The Australian Breastfeeding Association also hold group meetings for breastfeeding mothers or offer breastfeeding support through email or telephone helplines. 

10. Breastfeeding Websites and Forums 

The internet is a great resource for nursing mothers. It's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can find breastfeeding articles and information, reviews of breastfeeding products, and personal experiences from other women. If you have a question in the middle of the night or on the weekend, breastfeeding websites and forums can provide quick answers. Going online is also an anonymous way to find answers to those questions you might be embarrassed to ask. 

However, the internet is only a good source for general questions and non-emergencies. You shouldn't use it to replace the advice of your doctor or your baby's doctor. Remember, everyone is different and general information does not apply to everyone. So, it's always best to confirm any advice that you get over the internet with your doctor to be sure that it's accurate, up to date, and applies to you, your baby, and your situation. 

11. Other Organizations 

If you have specific issues or special needs, there are some other organizations that you can reach out to for help. The Cleft Palate Foundation (CPF), the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), and Multiples of American (also known as the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Club) are just a few of the resources available that provide information and support to mothers in special situations. Talk to your doctor and your baby's doctor to find out more about any organizations that may meet your needs. 

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