She does. Do you?
When I became a doula, my experience with lactation was my own. And I had no breastfeeding problems. None. I put the baby to the breast, latched him deeply, and off we went. After just a few days, I was just lifting my shirt and getting on with life. Here's a quote from me 8 years ago:
"I don't understand why people don't just breastfeed. It's free. It's always the right temperature. You just lift your shirt and it's so much easier than buying and preparing bottles. And it's so much better for the baby."
And here's my response now to my 8-years-ago-self:
"Right, Tanya. You don't understand. So let's just be quiet and listen for a while."
My students and my clients taught me all about lactation issues and why people quit. Here's the conclusion I have drawn.
There is no one who knows how to help them. Doctors, pediatricians, nurses, and doulas have extremely varied amounts of experience and training in helping people with lactation. From a one-hour lecture in nursing school to a three-hour lecture in med school to a 45-hour advanced course in lactation. I'm always amazed when I hear about a healthcare provider giving someone breastfeeding advice when they have never seen the dyad breastfeed. People go through entire pregnancies with no one looking at their breasts or nipples, or even asking them if they plan to breastfeed and explaining how to get started. It's completely ignored.
People are generally ignored for six weeks after having a baby. They don't realize that when they sign up. There is no care in the system. No one there. Dare I say the six weeks "postpartum". I've asked my students what they think of when I say "postpartum". They say it in unison - "depression". And if they don't think they will be depressed, they don't think they will need anything postpartum.
Maybe you'll be at her birth. Or maybe you'll be there after. Do you know how to help her? We, at Manhattan Birth, can help you learn.
Truth is, I was lucky. Plenty of folks are - I was one of them. My baby was good at it. I didn't know any better and it worked. We didn't need any more help than my midwife helping me latch the baby that very first time. So hooray for me! Sticking it out with no challenges whatsoever.
With all I've got!
About the Author:
Tanya Wills is a graduate of the midwifery program at Yale School of Nursing, where she received her Master of Science in Nursing and also earned her R.N. (Registered Nurse).