Breastfeeding, like giving birth, is totally natural.
And just as it’s normal to have assistance during delivery, it’s normal to need help with breastfeeding, especially at the beginning.
There are many resources for breastfeeding mothers. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find IBCLC lactation consultants (International Board Certified Lactation Consultants) or clinics or doctors that specialize in breastfeeding. You also might discover that your local CLSC or local breastfeeding mentor group has the best-trained breastfeeding resources in your area.
If you encounter problems, it’s important to contact a person trained in breastfeeding. If that person can’t help you, she will be able to suggest other resources that can.
Community breastfeeding support groups can provide a great deal of information and advice. They are run and led by women who have nursed one or more children. They keep their knowledge up-to-date and offer support at no charge. Most of these community groups hold information sessions to help parents and parents-to-be prepare for breastfeeding. A number of them also offer specialized services from IBCLC lactation consultants. Check with organizations in your area to find out what’s available. Ask your CLSC for contact information.
The Info-Santé telephone helpline is staffed by nurses and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, throughout the province. Just call 8‑1‑1.
Various CLSC professionals—like nurses or nutritionists— can also be of help. Nurses offer home visits after your baby arrives. Depending on where you live, these visits are either automatic or based on your needs. Your nurse can start helping you as soon as you return home, or later on. She can weigh your baby, check her overall health and help you with breastfeeding technique.
An IBCLC lactation consultant can help you deal with breastfeeding difficulties that you may experience. The IBCLC credential—for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant—certifies that they have the necessary skills. Some healthcare institutions and community breastfeeding support groups offer the services of IBCLC lactation consultants. Many of them are in private practice from either their homes or offices. To learn more or find the IBCLC consultant nearest you, visit the AQC website (Association québécoise des consultantes en lactation diplômées de l’IBLCE) www.ibclc.qc.ca/en.
Breastfeeding clinics can be found in many areas. They offer more specialized services—from nurses, IBCLC lactation consultants and sometimes doctors—which may or may not be free. Clinics can be very helpful if you are experiencing problems.
Your doctor will examine your baby on a regular basis. If you’re worried about your child’s health, the best person to turn to is your doctor, who can also help if your breasts or nipples become infected.
Midwives provide followup for their patients up to six weeks after delivery.
If you have special problems, all of these individuals should be able to direct you to other sources of help.