How many hours did you spend perusing books and websites on pregnancy, labor, and finding the right baby name (we hear Hugo is trending)? On Amazon.com there are a cumulative 30,000 books that cover how to help moms adequately prepared to grow and birth a healthy baby. But what about when that beautiful bundle comes home and infant feeding, breastfeeding, and feeding help quickly jumps to the top of your Google queue?
Research shows that infants can suffer lasting behavioral and brain deficits, including slower language development, delayed fine motor development, lower IQ, and poorer school performance if they lack the proper feeding and nutrition in that first year of life
Bringing a baby home invites so much joy, so many firsts, and so little time to second guess. So how do you prepare yourself with the necessary information to meet the nurturing needs of your baby?
We’ve compiled a list of some of the current places that offer infant feeding help:
1. Volunteer and free programs (La Leche League, Baby Cafe, WIC)
Programs such as these are staffed by passionate volunteers who are both experienced in breastfeeding education and in strategies to support moms in their breastfeeding journey. La Leche League and Baby Cafe help sessions are typically held in group settings with other moms who also have breastfeeding questions. While some groups offer one-on-one feeding help, individual support isn’t guaranteed. WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) is available for families that meet income guidelines. WIC has WIC-trained nutritionists and breastfeeding peer counselors that provide one-on-one breastfeeding help and nutrition support. This infant feeding help is free, but sometimes appointments are required, and quality is dependent on the individual program. WIC offers information on formula feeding, while other breastfeeding groups do not.
2. Video Telehealth
Video telehealth is a way to access breastfeeding help from the comfort of home using video-chat. For a fee of $50.00-$100.00+ you can get 45-90 minutes of one-to-one breastfeeding advice from trained International Board Certified Lactation Consultants. Depending on the service, after your paid session is done you may or may not get follow-up care. These telehealth services can be available 24/7. Consultants are not generally trained in formula feeding.
3. Private Lactation Consultants
Private IBCLCs offer one-on-one help either in a clinical office or in your home. These consultations are critical if you are having problems with breastfeeding, if you have special breastfeeding needs, or if your baby is having trouble breastfeeding or gaining weight. These visits are very tailored and hands on. Depending on your health insurance, the visits may be reimbursed (you may have to pay out of pocket first). These visits for breastfeeding help are by appointment and usually during business hours. Visit cost can range between $125.00 to $300.00 per visit. Follow-up care and visits are usually offered on a pay per visit system. These consults generally do not include information on formula feeding.
4. Family and friends advice
We all have someone close to us with young kids, someone who has ‘fed’ babies in the past, or someone who thinks they know how to feed babies (you know, THAT friend or family member). It can be super important to have someone you trust and who understands your feeding goals. After all, it can take a village. However, infant feeding recommendations and science has changed and evolved dramatically over the years. Some things that other moms, grandmoms, or that one aunt, have done in the past, may or may not be right for you and your baby.
5. The internet and that thing called Facebook
Yup. You can google just about anything and get 1,100,999 answers to your questions. And social media is rich with influencers who specialize in infant feeding information. Things like Facebook groups and pages where you can ask for advice are great for helping you feel like you are still connected to the world at 3am; you can get instant gratification interacting with people from around the world. However, much of the time, sources of information are unknown and you can get the all-too-mighty negative Nancy butting her head in (you know there is always one lurking). So, after spending 2 hours on social media pouring over answers, sometimes feeling not so good, you wind up spending another hour on google verifying that information.
One important thing to keep in mind is that google tracks your every move. This means that the sites that populate when you search are based on industries tracking what you like, don’t like, and the things you purchase. What this boils down to is that you are likely not getting the whole, unbiased truth in what you are searching for.