Conflicting breastfeeding advice…Who should I listen to?

Conflicting breastfeeding advice…Who should I listen to?

There is one thing that happens sometimes during a breastfeeding consultation that makes me CRINGE inside. Yup! I’m making myself cringe! When does this happen? When I’m giving suggestions to a mother that is going DIRECTLY against advice she received from another Lactation Consultant or other health care professional. Because I know it’s SO ANNOYING for the mother, it’s also confusing…and frustrating. It just happened to me this morning when I was doing a consultation with someone and what they had been told just wasn’t making sense to me.

She was told by another IBCLC that her baby was getting “too much milk” when breastfeeding and she had to stop switch nursing.

The volunteer breastfeeding counsellor was telling her she needed to change the way she was breastfeeding to help slow her flow down and start “block feeding”.

I was telling her that actually all of the signs her baby was showing means she’s actually probably NOT getting enough milk. So the exact opposite of what she had been hearing from other health care professionals.

…so this poor woman was left confused and I spent a lot of time explaining why I was saying what I was saying and how moving forward would have to be ruling different possibilities in or out…not just saying, “This is what’s happening so you have to do this. Bye!” Because breastfeeding support just doesn’t work like that.

How to know you’re receiving good advice…

  1. The health care profession (HCP) is asking you a lot of questions, valuing your intuition and LISTENING to your answers.
  2. The HCP is giving you OPTIONS of how you can try to fix the problem.
  3. The HCP is giving you a short term plan and long term plan.
  4. You have an explanation as to WHY these suggestions/advice is being giving to you.
  5. The information from the HCP is evidence based information, not just their professional opinion.
  6. You are asked if the advice being given to you will work for you and your family.
  7. The HCP is suggesting a follow up to re-assess how things are progressing.

What if you’re still confused?! Tell your HCP that you’re confused and ask specific questions to get more information as to WHY they are giving you this advice. How that question is answered will show you #1 If they know what they are talking about. #2 If the information they are giving you is supported by evidence. Because if it doesn’t sound right to you or doesn’t make sense, it could be because the advice is based on “professional opinion” or mis-information…not evidence based research.

Trust your instincts and follow the lead of your baby! I will always say to families, if what I’m suggesting isn’t working for you then give me a call to let me know!

You are the expert of your baby. You know your baby best. It will be clear to you if the advice you were given is working. If it’s not then tell your HCP and see if there is another option for you of something you can try. Being an IBCLC means being a breastfeeding detective. It’s about asking the right questions, putting together all of the pieces of information and coming to what we think is the most likely cause of the symptoms happening. Then it’s a matter of ruling things in…or out to come to get to the bottom of what’s going on. Sometimes this takes time.

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