It occurred to me awhile back that as much as I advocate breastfeeding, I had never actually been to a breastfeeding support group. I was fortunate to have a fantastic lactation consultant in the hospital, but never sought additional help after that. Big mistake on my part, since I really could have used additional support. Since I now tell every new mom to seek out a breastfeeding support group if they need it, I decided to check one out to make the whole process a little less foreign.
San Diego Breastfeeding Center
My friend Stacey put me in touch with Robin, the owner of San Diego Breastfeeding Center, and Robin happily invited me to check out the center's Breastfeeding Support Clinic. It's a 1-hour small group session intended for those who need a little more individualized attention than is typically provided in a large support group.
To be honest, I'm not sure what I was picturing: some sort of hospital setting? Fluorescent lights? That had been the extent of my breastfeeding support experience. This, fortunately, was the polar opposite. The group was held in a nice, calm setting: Whole Family Wellness in Hillcrest.
I walked in and asked quietly, “Is this the breastfeeding support group?” The 3 or 4 moms sitting shoeless in a circle and breastfeeding uncovered could have been my first clue, I suppose. One dad had come along to help out with his newborn twins, and he respectfully sat outside in the waiting area in case his wife or babies needed him.
The room was dimly lit, with peaceful art on the walls and a floral rug in the center. The group casually chatted about motherhood, asking Robin questions and giving each other advice. While there didn't seem to be an official “format” to the discussion, I was amazed at how many issues were addressed. All of the following were touched on, and more: acupuncture, magnet therapy, Floridax, latch issues and pain, tongue clipping, doctor recommendations, getting back to breast, nipple shields, thrush, foremilk and hindmilk, elimination diets, positioning, kicking and screaming while feeding, reflux, pumping and oversupply. I didn't even know there were that many issues related to breastfeeding! Robin really knew her stuff, in and out. And, of course, there was unabashed talk of poop. “Poop” is definitely up there in the top ten conversation topics of all new parents.
Moving on…I meant to ask Robin where she got these ridiculously comfortable fold-out chairs. We were all gathered around in these the whole time and they were amazing. I want one so I can sit comfortably on the floor next to Some Boy while he plays with his toys.
The only “clinical” thing I saw was a small station where parents could weigh babies before and after feeding to check how much each one was taking in. Robin also had sterile gloves for when she checked a baby's sucking reflex with her finger, and hand sanitizer for when she unobtrusively offered an extra hand in getting one of the babies to latch. She took time to visit each person individually and physically work through any issues, discussing weight and dietary restrictions with each mom. Everyone else quietly continued on with their conversations during these more one-on-one moments and everybody left seeming much more self-assured than when they arrived.
I have to say, I'm glad to know that this resource is here for my next child! If you're a new mom in the San Diego area, San Diego Breastfeeding Center offers a whole host of consultation services and classes, including one-on-one, small group and large group settings. The small group breastfeeding support clinic is normally $35, but you can save $15 when you call and give the San Diego Bargain Mama code “SDBM2012” through the end of February.
If you haven't received any breastfeeding support yet, my recommendation would be to first have a personal consultation and then join a breastfeeding support group or breastfeeding clinic for ongoing assistance. Ultimately, though, the most important thing is to get help in whatever manner you're most comfortable with. As someone who has been there, trust me. The very best thing you can do for your baby is to call a lactation consultant. Or heck, have a spouse or friend call a lactation consultant for you…perhaps while you take a nap!
This post is sponsored by San Diego Breastfeeding Center. All opinions are my own.