9 Things You Will Learn in a Lactation Class
We often just see someone's breastfeeding highlight reel on the gram, but the path to confidently feeding your baby can be filled with obstacles. Let me set the scene for you: you get your baby latched in the hospital, it feels a little off but everyone is telling you it looks good-completely dismissing your concerns. Once you are home, you text your doula/private lactation counselor that your nipples are sore and your baby's feeding habits just aren't quite right. A few days later, your doula/lactation counselor comes over and goes over your baby's feeding patterns again and discusses any additional symptoms that may be popping up. After reviewing the feeding history up until this point, observing a feed, and looking in your baby's mouth and checking out your anatomy it's recommended you seek additional consult from a pediatric dentist or myofunctional/orafacial therapist for possible oral restrictions. It's discovered your baby has a tongue and a lip tie.
In our current climate, it can feel like tongue and lip ties are a fad and everyone's baby seems to have some restriction in their mouth BUT it's a real thing that can affect not just feeding but facial development, speech, sleep, etc. as your child gets older. Your pediatrician isn't well versed in this facet of the mouth and in the hospital it's rare that they even check let alone provide further resources and exercises to help you forge your feeding relationship forward.
If this client wouldn't have had the resources and knowledge base she had she may have ended up just exclusively pumping because no one was looking at the full picture. What if she didn't even know that oral restrictions could affect the feeding relationship? Exclusively pumping isn't a bad thing, but it does require a lot of time and usually an outlet. Sometimes, more than just positioning needs to be fixed, and that's where lactation education comes in!
Resources and support are the two biggest indicators of success in lactation and a solid lactation course should be providing you not only with a well rounded knowledge base but should include resources you may need after baby has arrived and ways to get support through your instructor or other local professionals.