First-time mothers definitely benefit from the knowledge of those who have gone before them. Their own mothers and aunts can be invaluable resources. Also, friends who have themselves become mothers can help new moms find ways of taking care of their newborn which are perhaps cutting edge, and maybe unique.
That said, the world’s a big place. Even if you’ve had a dozen kids, there are still things which can be learned about breastfeeding from the professionals. As an example of some new information that, perhaps, wasn’t generally known before, there is an epigenetic component to life that affects everyone and has activation cues during the nursing period.
The Epigenetic Angle
Epigenetic processes are changes in DNA that have to do with how a person makes decisions. When you work out regularly, your body becomes more muscular at the genetic level. When you drink or smoke or deceive or overwork yourself or travel, similarly, these activate epigenetic cues.
When you cuddle your newborn close to you, initiating skin-to-skin contact, that actually helps you produce breast milk through the physical and emotional connection that is made. Now this connection is hard to quantify exactly. Brains can be measured, pulses can be taken, and epigenetic theories can be bandied about—but there is a non-quantifiable situation going on.
That is to say: certain aspects of the mother and child relationship don’t have scientifically measurable factors defining them, but that doesn’t mean those aspects of parenthood don’t exist; it just means that learning about them requires working with those who provide consultation from multiple founts of information over some homogenous perspective.
In an epigenetic sense, you train yourself to be a better mother when you nurse your child. They say it takes three weeks to forge a neurological pathway in your brain that can then more easily become habitual. Keeping a habit from there takes time. Well, the WHO recommends nursing your child two years prior weaning.
That’s enough time to develop some neurological pathways. That’s enough time to partially rewrite your brain in an epigenetic way. As you do this, simultaneously, you’re helping your developing baby learn subconscious realities about love, responsibility, life, and nourishment—you’re laying foundational groundwork for their personality in the nursing phase.
So maybe you understand that nursing is good, and you’ve had a number of children before; but that doesn’t mean all aspects of the human condition are known to you. There are multiple situations in regard to breastfeeding where a lactation consultant truly shines in terms of the real help they can give you. Accordingly, you may want to find such a consultant prior to birth.
Using All The Tools Available
Consultants can help new and experienced mothers reduce pain in the nipples from improper latching, they can also help mothers facilitate better latching, and even provide them tips for milk stimulation. Diet and exercise play some small part in milk production, but so do cycles which tend to “sync” with the baby.
There are solutions involving breast pumps for when soreness is too much for a young mother to handle. Alternating breasts between feedings can stimulate milk production and keep breasts even, and there are also solutions for when breasts become engorged or for when ducts in the breast become blocked. Consultants help with all these situations.
So if you’re a mother who is experienced, or you’re a new mother, it’s wise to get consultation from groups in whom you trust. Breastfeeding should be straightforward, but there can be complications.