Breastfeeding: Who to Consult for Help

by Maxine
Posted July 27 2011 03:22pm
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If you’re thinking about breastfeeding your baby you might have questions or concerns and need someone to talk to about these. There are many types of supports available for women who want to breastfeed or are trying to breastfeeding.

Our experts have created a list of some of the types of supports available.

Lactation Consultant

Almost anyone can call themselves a “Lactation Consultant.” However, only Lactation Consultants who have taken specialty courses and written the certification examination of the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants can use the initials IBCLC after their names. This certification is considered the “gold standard” of quality breastfeeding consultation. Some Public Health Nurses, nurse practitioners and midwives are Board certified Lactation Consultants, but physicians and non-health professionals rarely have this certification. An IBCLC certified Lactation Consultant in your area, can be located through the International Lactation Consultants Association.


Breastfeeding Counsellor

Individuals who call themselves Breastfeeding Counsellors have usually taken a course in breastfeeding. This course generally covers the practical and theoretical aspects of breastfeeding, on-the-job training and information about consultation. Although this type of course is usually open to anyone, it is mainly taken by Public Health Nurses and midwives. Breastfeeding Counsellors provide support and advice to breastfeeding Mothers through clinics, hospitals or Public Health Units, but may also work through an organization, such as La Leche League, or work as a private business.


Public Health Units

Many Public Health Units provide breastfeeding support, and can visit you at home. These nurses are trained to address breastfeeding issues. For this type of support, contact your local Public Health Unit (the telephone numbers are listed in the government blue pages of your local telephone directory and can be found online).


La Leche League

Formed in the 1950s, this is an international organization providing local, peer support groups for breastfeeding women. They hold monthly meetings and are available for telephone support. The Mothers in this organization can offer you personal and practical experience. Their support materials are written by breastfeeding experts, such as Lactation Consultants, nursing professors and physicians.



General practitioners, family physicians and paediatricians, most often, do not have special training in breastfeeding issues. However, they are trained to refer you to local expert resources in your area to help with any challenges that may come up, and are generally supportive in a team relationship with you and your breastfeeding specialist.


Maternity Ward

You can expect the staff at the hospital where you have your baby to provide support and advice in helping you initiate breastfeeding. Most hospitals will have a certified Lactation Consultant on staff, so if you are struggling with  breastfeeding, ask to speak to the Lactation Consultant.


Breastfeeding Centres/Clinics

Breastfeeding centres or clinics are located in and around urban areas. These clinics may be associated with hospitals or with local Public Health Units. Generally, the staff in these clinics includes certified Lactation Consultants, Breastfeeding Counsellors and physicians trained in breastfeeding issues. These centres provide support, advice and treatment to breastfeeding Mothers. To locate a breastfeeding clinic or centre near you, contact your local Public Health Unit.


What supports did you use when you were breastfeeding? What would you recommend to a friend who had questions? Share your experience with other parents just like you by leaving a comment below.


More information on breastfeeding »

Ask Our Expert!
Do you still have questions about breastfeeding? Our expert, Attie Sandink, is a Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Ask Attie a Question!



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Your Baby's Sleep Patterns

by Guest
Posted August 5 2010 05:18pm
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Babies sleep patterns are unpredictable, but here are some guidelines that might help.

Between birth and 3 months: Your baby will probably sleep between 14 and 18 hours per day. As well, by about 6 weeks, most babies will sleep one long period of about 5-6 hours. While you’d probably prefer something that’s similar to your old schedule, like midnight to 6 a.m., your baby will probably prefer something more like 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Between 3 and 6 months: Your baby’s sleep needs will shrink to 14-16 hours and then to 12 to 14 hours somewhere between 6 months and 2 years of age.

Remember, when it comes to babyies and sleep, “normal” is hard to define. Even the experts sometimes disagree on what parents should expect. As long as your baby is fed and comfortable, don’t worry if they’re below average on the sleep scale.

It might help you to keep a sleep activity log for a 7 day stretch. It may show that your baby does have a clear sleep-wake pattern, which will help you to figure out with to be available for your baby’s ‘best times.” These logs can also be helpful to your health care provider, if you find your baby’s sleep patterns are a problem.

How much did your baby sleep for the first few months? Share your experience and how you cope with other parents by leaving a comment below!

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Bleeding After Birth

by Guest
Posted August 5 2010 05:50pm
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It’s normal for a new mom to have vaginal bleeding called lochia. It can last for several days immediately following the birth. It’s also common for new moms to experience pain in several areas of their bodies. Pain is common with an episiotomy, tears or an incision. Another familiar effect is mild muscle aches related to the birthing positions. If you had a vaginal birth, you may have bruising or tears in your perineum that required stitches. This area will be sore, especially at first. If you’re breastfeeding, you may also have sore nipples because it’s so new.

These and many other symptoms are normal following childbirth. What’s important is—any bleeding and pain should be decreasing each day, not getting worse.

You should have a heavy to moderate flow on days one to three after your baby is born. Flow should decrease some each day. You may notice a slight increase after breastfeeding or physical activity. This is normal.

The normal pattern of bleeding should show bright red to dark red blood on days 1 to 3 after your baby is born. After this, blood should change to pink and then a yellowish white. Some women still have some yellowish-white flow at six weeks postpartum; others have none by day 10.

If you do pass any blood clots, they should be smaller than a loonie in size.

Any odour you notice should be earthy-smelling, like during your period. There should be no foul odour.

Any noteworthy change from these normal patterns should be reported to your healthcare provider, as it may signal infection or some other problem that requires treatment.

If you pass any clot that is the size of a loonie or larger and/or you soak a sanitary pad in an hour or less, you need to go to the nearest hospital emergency department. This could be a postpartum hemorrhage that needs medical attention right away. This is also true for bleeding that returns to a heavy flow and/or to bright red after it has changed to a pink or white, lighter flow.



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Pain After Birth

by Guest
Posted August 5 2010 05:51pm
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You may or may not have pain after a vaginal birth. Bruising in and around the vagina can be uncomfortable. A vaginal tear, with or without stitches, can be painful. An episiotomy is usually painful after birth. However, any pain in your vagina that is not improving, or is getting worse may be a sign of infection or another problem. You need to have this problem treated by your healthcare provider.

Abdominal cramping is experienced by women when the uterus continues to contract after the birth of the baby. These contractions help to seal the blood vessels from the area where the placenta came off. These contractions also help the uterus begin its process of healing and returning to its pre-pregnant state. Women who are breastfeeding may feel the after pains more after the baby breastfeeds.

Urinating after a vaginal birth may feel a little uncomfortable at first. However, pain or burning when you pee usually means that you have an infection. It is very important to tell your healthcare provider about this—so you can get the necessary prescription for treatment.

It is not unusual for new mothers to have some soreness in their lower legs, especially if they had some swelling in their legs and feet following the birth. It is important to watch for pain, tenderness,redness and/or a lump in your leg. This could be a blood clot; in which case, you would need to see your healthcare provider right away for advice and treatment.

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