Remember: Breastfeeding Takes Practice

When I was pregnant with my first son, I read everything. I really, actually think I read everything that was ever written about pregnancy and breastfeeding. IBCLE logo

Somewhere along the way, I missed the memo that breastfeeding sometimes takes practice. I mean, of course it does. Before you have your first baby, you have never used your breasts to feed a fragile, infant human. I stared at my newborn and couldn’t figure out how to bring him to my breast. Thankfully, my midwife just shoved him on there for me.

Recently, Judy and I had the opportunity to attend a webinar with the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBCLE). (We each got a $20 Starbucks card for attending, which is icing on the cake for people who love to talk and learn about breastfeeding anyway!)

The webinar reviewed some very basic information about breastfeeding, but our takeaway was the important reminder that breastfeeding is new to new moms. New moms might not know that snags are normal.

It’s very normal to wonder if you’re doing it right, to worry about this process, and to reach out to the world with ten thousand questions.

One thing the IBLCE wants to make sure moms know is how to tell if the person answering your questions has the right skills to give this sort of feedback.

In the hospital, most postpartum nurses have received some training in supporting breastfeeding…but many are still offering new moms advice that could hinder the breastfeeding process. At the pediatrician, you might be hearing suggestions that could hinder the breastfeeding process.

Some healthcare providers have wonderful skills in supporting other areas of health, but have gaps in their knowledge when it comes to breastfeeding.


When in doubt, you should ask for an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). If you “Ask for 5” and make sure your helper has these 5 letters (IBCLC) after his or her name, you can be sure this person has had evidenced-based training in supporting lactation.

So, if you’re worried about a medication you’ve been prescribed, whether it’s normal for a newborn to nurse for 3 straight hours overnight, or not sure what to do about your uncomfortable engorgement, you can Ask for 5 and speak with an IBCLC to reassure you and help you meet your personal breastfeeding goals.

All of us have questions in the beginning. We also want to make sure you receive the best possible answers to those questions!

Did you meet with an IBCLC when you were nursing your newborn? Leave us a comment to share how she (or he!) helped.

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