If you are planning to breastfeed, it’s important to have good, solid resources available to you both before and after the baby is born.
Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally and support is essential if you want to achieve your goals, no matter what those goals are.
I’ve listed several go-to resources below; check them out before you go into labor so you know what to expect in breastfeeding from the moment your baby is born.
*Links to purchase are below*
At a time when I didn’t know about La Leche League or other local support groups, and internet searches just led me down the wrong path into anxiety, I checked breastfeeding books out of the local library and found the following to be extremely helpful.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, put out by La Leche League is hands down my favorite, go-to print resource. It is full of evidence-based information from before birth through the toddler years. Not only does it take you through whats “normal” the book presents problem solving ideas when breastfeeding challenges arise. (Spoiler alert, almost everything is “normal!”) The most recent edition has been drastically updated and changed to reflect a more modern breastfeeding culture including pumping & working.
While not specifically a breastfeeding book, Sweet Sleep, also put out by La Leche League, combines two of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of early parenting: sleep and breastfeeding. Like The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Sweet Sleep is a well-researched, evidenced-based resource outlining how breastfeeding and sleep go hand in hand. It discusses whats normal, when to consult a medical professional for your child’s sleep problems, presents ways to identify when your baby might be ready to sleep for longer stretches, and how to gradually help your baby sleep for longer stretches WITHOUT crying.
When I was having trouble with breastfeeding the only book that was initially available in the library was Martha & William Sears, The Breastfeeding Book. I think its a solid resource, especially for those who are big fans of Dr. Sears.
Kim Hawley (BBS’s resident Sleep and Breastfeeding Specialist) highly recommends Breastfeeding Made Simple, and recommends it to her students. I have not personally explored this resource but I would trust any source that Kim recommends.
Doing an internet search on anything relating to breastfeeding can send you down a rabbit hole and does not always result in empowering, evidence based information. I suggest bookmarking the following websites so that they are available to you when you need them- maybe even in the middle of the night! All of these are well respected breastfeeding resources and you can be confident that you are getting solid, evidence based information.
Le Leche League is a large international organization dedicated to supporting breastfeeding and providing the most up to date breastfeeding information on all topics from birth to weaning. Their mission is stated as follows: “To help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.”Click here to find a local La Leche League Group and/or contact a leader if you have questions or concerns.
Breastfeeding USA provides evidence-based information to promote breastfeeding as the biological norm through an association with lactation counselors and presentation of research and comprehensive resources.
The Breastfeeding Reporter Blog run by Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, breastfeeding educator, author, and mother of three. This site is geared towards those who breastfeed and those who support breastfeeding. Her website is chock full of breastfeeding resources and her searchable blog addresses everything from pacifiers to mastitis.
Local in-person Breastfeeding Support
The birth workers at Balanced Birth Support are a diverse group of women, several of whom have additional training in lactation support. Follow the links below to get to know Balanced Birth Supports lacation consultants.
Local Lactation Businesses
The Breastfeeding Center of Washington. This is a wonderful local resource providing in-person breastfeeding help & support, classes, and pump rental, accessories. Plus, they offer information on donor milk programs, women’s health initiatives, and workplace support for both employees and employers. Additionally, they provide tons of community outreach including the acceptance of donations of diapers and women’s hygiene products to distribute within the local community.
Metropolitan Breastfeeding. Another wonderful local DC resource that provides many diverse services to help you achieve your goals with feeding. They do home visits all over the DMV and also have in office visits in Bethesda and Columbia. They also accept many different types of insurance.
The DC Breastfeeding Coalition is a grass-roots organization with the goal of increasing the breastfeeding rates in the District of Columbia. They provide information on pregnant and breastfeeding rights, legislation to protect and promote breastfeeding, community support and much more! They have also partnered with Children’s National Medical Center and WIC (Women, Infant, and Child) to provide free breastfeeding support services at The Children’s Health Center in Anacostia.
While there are many, many breastfeeding videos on YouTube, I have chosen only to include two videos in this post because they come from reputable sources, and are clear, concise, actually helpful, and address the early days of breastfeeding as well as common concerns.
The first video is from well-known Canadian physician Dr. Jack Newman and at nearly 30 minutes provides breastfeeding instruction, focusing on early breastfeeding, including getting a good latch, how to tell if your baby is getting enough milk, and identifying & solving common problems.
This video from the Global Health Media Project addresses nipple pain and several ways to resolve nipple pain, as well as cracked and bleeding nipples. The video emphasizes that nipple pain is common, but not normal. If you are getting a good latch but still having pain or damaged nipples, contact a location consultant for additional help.
Find A Local IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant)
An IBCLC is a medical professional with advanced training in breastfeeding support and is board certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, Inc. under the direction of the US National Commission for Certifying Agencies. There are various agencies that support IBCLC’s- follow the links below to learn more about these organizations and to use their directories to find a consultant near you.
Click here to search their directory.
Click here to search their directory.
La League League
La Leche League meetings center on mother-to-mother support, and the leaders have additional training in breastfeeding support. Meetings are held in an open format where mothers and other caregivers can ask any and all questions pertaining to breastfeeding, and find support and tips from “mothers who’ve been there.” There is at least one La Leche League meeting every single day in the DC area. Click here to find a local La Leche League Group and/or contact a leader if you have questions or concerns.
Take A Class!
Before your baby is born, be sure to attend a breastfeeding class! Your doula, midwife, or OB should be able to recommend one, or else the hospital or birth center where you plan to deliver should have a class. Most hospitals and birth centers also offer postpartum classes & support groups. Be sure to check them out before you head home.
Follow Your Instincts!
While there are many breastfeeding resources available, don’t rely solely on them to get you through. Follow your instincts if you feel that something isn’t right and talk to a lactation consultant or your child’s pediatrician. While it may not feel like it all the time, YOU are the expert on your child and whats normal and what might be challenging or out of the ordinary.
Do you have another resource that helped you achieve your breastfeeding goals? Tell the community about it in the comments section!
Author: Renee Corbino
Renee keeps Balanced Birth Support organized and amazing as the Administrative Manager. She lives in Northern Virginia with her awesome fire fighting husband and two cute little boys. She is a breech birthing mama and supporter of empowering births.