In my birthing stories, I told you all about Vivien, my hero and breastfeeding coach. Thanks to her, I managed to be less of a hot mess mom, at least in those tender newborn days.
Wondering what a breastfeeding coach or lactation consultant does? They are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) and are ideal for any new moms to have around when it comes to overcoming difficulties with breastfeeding.
As you know, I had both of my children in China. That experience in and of itself was surreal, but finding Vivien was a great blessing because she took what is already a tough experience that was made even tougher by being in a foreign land and made it much more comfortable.
Why You Should Look for a Breastfeeding Coach
I always mention the La Leche League because it is a non-profit and free resource for pregnant women and new moms. It helps you find out information in your area so you can meet other new moms, join informative meetings, and even find a breastfeeding coach in your area who can help you wherever you are. I can’t say enough good things about it.
In my story, I mentioned meeting other expat moms who recommended going to the monthly La Leche League meeting where I was introduced to Vivien. You can read about all that over there, but here, I’m going to tell you why you need your version of Vivien.
Benefits of Having a Breastfeeding Coach
A breastfeeding coach is a wonderful person to have in your corner. Like any other coach, they will help motivate you to excel and be your best self. It comes out in other areas too aside from helping with breastfeeding. I always recommend finding one to help with my newly pregnant friends. This is why!
No question or concern is stupid in their eyes
Your breastfeeding coach has been fully trained in answering all sorts of questions and believe me; she’s heard it all. There is nothing you could ask her that is too stupid. I can attest to this because I probably asked Vivien the most stupid questions on the planet. She never once laughed at me or made me feel like an idiot. She encouraged me to call her any time I had issues. While I did try not to bug her all the time, there were times when I needed her, and she was there to reassure me everything was fine.
They help you perfect the technique
In today’s day and age, most of us never really held babies before having our own. So it stands to reason that while entirely natural, breastfeeding seems so foreign. You can read all the books in the world and everything here on my blog about getting that perfect latch, but a breastfeeding coach can help you put it in action and make sure you’re doing it right.
Getting that perfect latch means breastmilk flows. And that means that your body keeps making more of that precious milk. Additionally, breastfeeding should never hurt. With your lactation consultant at your side, she can help you discover the causes of any pain and help resolve these kinds of problems.
They solve breastfeeding problems
Breastfeeding coaches like Vivien know what’s normal and what’s not. That makes them the best at helping you get your technique down and solving problems that arise in those early days after birth. Even weeks after, you may call your breastfeeding coach because you have pain in your breasts or mastitis.
I called Vivien one day in a world of pain. My glands were clogged, and it hurt like crazy. She asked if we had cabbage in our house and we did. She told me to put it in my bra. If anyone else had said this to me, I’d have thought they were utterly insane. But I trusted Vivien completely. It sounds strange, but it’s scientifically-backed! Needless to say, I felt so much better later that evening.
They help you be your best for your baby
With my eldest, I desperately wanted to quit breastfeeding. I felt like that was all that I was doing. She nursed for so long, and so often, I began referring to myself as her “boob slave.” Vivien adored my creative name for it, but she begged me to keep at it. She promised that my daughter would soon start eating much more quickly and that each feeding would be much shorter.
She asked me to give it a couple more weeks. “She needs you now more than she ever will,” she’d told me. I’m so thankful that I listened to her. She was absolutely right. Breastfeeding can be so demanding in the beginning, but it does get more comfortable. Having someone that can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel is one of the best blessings with breastfeeding coaches.
They become a real friend
We’re all one big tribe, all of us moms. And when you have a breastfeeding coach, you feel like you have a personal invite into the tribe of motherhood. This bond you share grows over the years, long after your kids are past breastfeeding. Instead, you share photos of how your wee ones have grown and keep in touch.
Vivien lives on the opposite coast, and we’ve both been back from our adventures abroad for years. We always take the time to contact each other and marvel at how far we’ve come in motherhood. It never hurts to have another trusted person in your corner, cheering you on in life.
Find your own Vivien, and you seriously won’t regret it, I promise!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.