Sunday, August 14, 2011

Breastfeeding Support in Tulsa

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I wanted to share a little of my own story, and offer encouragement to those of you seeking information and support in your own efforts to breastfeed your children. There may be some of you seeking information about nursing so you can better make a decision as to whether you will breastfeed or bottle feed. There is a wealth of information available, as well as personal, face-to-face help available to you, right here in Tulsa.

My Breastfeeding Story

Five years ago, when I gave birth to my first baby, I was already determined to breastfeed. I had read The Attachment Parenting Book (a wonderful book), and had resolved to never give my baby a bottle or pacifier, and to feed on demand. After suffering from two grand mal seizures, and pretty much being unconscious for 36 hours while my son was wetnursed, the Lactation Consultant from the hospital came to visit us in our room to assist me in my first feeding.

Aidan had significant trouble latching on, so the Lactation Consultant suggested a nipple shield. Almost instantly, Aidan was able to latch on and begin nursing without difficulty. The goal with a nipple shield is to allow it to help you train your baby to latch on, and eventually (as quickly as possible) wean the baby from the shield and help him/her to latch on directly to the breast. You don't want the nipple shield to interfere with how much milk your baby receives, and in turn sabotage your milk supply. Days went by, weeks and months went by, and I could not get my baby to latch on without the nipple shield. Though my baby was eating, growing, and filling diapers (the signs he is getting enough milk) I was horrified that I was a bad mom and doing something wrong by "allowing" him to still use the nipple shield. On top of this, if I were ever to leave the house without one and he needed to nurse, I had to frantically speed home or to a store as quickly as possible to retrieve one so I could feed my baby!

Breastfeeding Support, breastfeeding support in tulsa, tulsa doula, honeybee mama

Your way is the right way, whatever it is.

Finally, a friend offered me some comfort by simply asking me what the big deal was that my baby used a nipple shield to nurse if his pediatrician had assured me he was growing fine and doing well developmentally. I felt like I had had an epiphany and was finally able to let go of my guilt and embrace my own journey of breastfeeding. I realized that my little Aidan and I were a unique pair, exclusive from any other mom-baby duo, and we would have our own way of getting through this. I did continue to encourage him to latch on without it from time to time, and he did eventually begin nursing without it. Later on, when I would nurse Alec for the first time, he latched right on without any difficulty at all; and so began my second journey with nursing.

Along with accepting the help of a nipple shield to nurse Aidan, I also came to accept the pacifier, and the bottle to feed him pumped breast milk. I learned slowly with each trial and success that I would need to suspend judgement on methodologies until I found what worked personally for my baby and for our family.

Doulas are not Lactation Consultants, but we can help you find one!

I do want to stop here and remind my readers that though I have training and experience to assist with breastfeeding as a doula I am not a certified Lactation Consultant or Lactation Counselor. If and when you have difficulty with or questions about nursing your baby, you should contact a Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as your health care provider and pediatrician.

Get a support system with friends or family.

I am incredibly thankful for the friends, family, and professionals that helped me learn how to feed my sons (it doesn't always come naturally!) and I know I couldn't have done it without them. Every woman and family needs physical, emotional and informational support to be successful with breastfeeding. It can be very trying emotionally, especially if you encounter any infections or difficulty with milk supply.

With that said, please see the list below that I've gathered of just a few of the resources here in Tulsa that are available to you in your journey of nursing your baby.

Breastfeeding Support in Tulsa

Tulsa Family Doulas - Tulsa Family Doulas offers International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC), and Certified Lactation Counselors (CLC) to help you with any breastfeeding needs you have.

La Leche League of Tulsa - La Leche League is an international, nonprofit, nonsectarian
organization dedicated to providing support, encouragement, information, and education to
women who want to breastfeed.

COBA - Coalition for Oklahoma Breastfeeding Advocates

Know your rights as a breastfeeding mother: Oklahoma Protects Breastfeeding Moms

St. John Breastfeeding Resource Center: “For lactation support, our Breastfeeding Resource
Center provides comprehensive inpatient services, educational programs and outpatient
consultations, designed to help you reach your personal breastfeeding goals. Our lactation
consultants are registered nurses certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultants.”

WIC (Women, Infants & Children) – “WIC is a supplemental nutrition program that serves to
safeguard the health of income-eligible women, infants and children up to age five who are at
nutritional risk. The program provides food vouchers for nutritious foods to supplement diets,
information on healthy eating, and referrals for health care. More than 7.5 million people benefit
from WIC each month.”

Tulsa Health Department Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week

A great article by Tulsa Kids editor Betty Casey about World Breastfeeding Week

My favorite book on breastfeeding is Breastfeeding Made Simple.

Please email me if you have questions or if you just need to talk (or cry) about your questions, concerns, or frustrations about breastfeeding. And if you'd like to share your story, please do (by email or in your comment)!

Written by Missy David, the Honeybee Mama

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