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Breast-feeding doesn’t always get off to the perfect start. But even if the beginning is rocky, there is hope.

In some cases, mothers know in advance that there will be challenges, but that isn’t always the case.

“Sometimes it’s really hard to know ahead of time what to expect until baby gets here,” Mandy Schaub, a Bon Secours St. Francis certified lactation consultant, said.

No matter what is anticipated after delivery, Schaub said parents can benefit from taking a prenatal breast-feeding class. They are often offered through doctors’ offices and hospitals.

“We really focus on what happens in the hospital, getting breast-feeding established and what to expect in the first week or two after they get home,” Schaub said.

The classes should let moms know what is typical, what might be signs that you need extra help and where to get that help if needed.

Schaub said it is not uncommon for babies to have trouble latching on. The reasons vary, but a lactation consultant can help.

“You don’t have to know everything,” Schaub said. “We’re here to help you.

In cases where mom and baby have to be apart because of some health concern, that doesn’t mean breast-feeding won’t happen.

“What moms should think about is that they have some time,” Schaub said. “It doesn’t absolutely have to happen in the first hour or even in the first day — or really even the first week.”

Mothers who have had a Caesarean section may be experiencing pain after surgery.

“The hardest part is getting into a comfortable position,” Schaub said. “Our nurses and lactation consultants are really skilled at getting baby into a good position, even if mom can’t get into a good position.”

Schaub said no matter what the struggle, moms should not be reluctant to ask for help.

“Go into it with some idea of what to expect,” she said. “If that isn’t happening, know that there are people who are knowledgeable and can help you.”

Following a class, moms may have specific questions.

“In that case, if they’ve gone to a class and they still have a lingering concern or something unique to her that can cause a challenge, reach out to a lactation consultant prenatally,” Schaub said. “Armed with some specific information, you can make a game plan. We create a plan prenatally that can help with some of those concerns.”

No matter what, Schaub said moms should not let challenges stand in the way of successful breast-feeding.

“Breast-feeding is something that can sometimes require something more than the mom and the baby,” she said. “Don’t be concerned about reaching out and asking for help. Seek out resources. Ask those questions.”

Find out more

La Leche League groups and other support groups. Call 864-675-4215 to speak with a Bon Secours St. Francis lactation consultant. This line is open to any mother with breast-feeding questions, even if the baby was born elsewhere. Visit http://www.llli.org.

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