It may be hard to believe, but many doctors, including many pediatricians lack adequate training to support you in breastfeeding your newborn. Dr. Vincent Iannelli, in his report Breastfeeding Support, says that, “It usually isn’t necessarily that they (physicians, pediatricians) have anything against breastfeeding, but instead, many Pediatricians and other health professionals just haven’t received enough education or training to be supportive of breastfeeding, especially when problems occur.”
On a positive note, one of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ main objectives is to train all doctors and their staffs in the skills needed to support breastfeeding. Of course, the AAP has long made clear that breastfeeding has been demonstrably proven to be the healthiest way for mothers to feed their babies.
Finding a pediatrician a general practitioner who is supportive of breastfeeding should be one of your top priorities if you are planning on breastfeeding your baby. However, simply asking doctors whether or not they support breastfeeding probably isn’t the best way to find one. Virtually every doctor will claim to support breastfeeding, while in truth many of them do not, at least not when problems arise.
Perhaps a better place to start looking, preferably before you give birth, is with a lactation consultant. Support groups and organizations such as La Leche League can also be great places to find out which doctors are the real deal when it comes to supporting breastfeeding moms. Don’t be afraid to ask around. If any of your friends have breastfed their babies, find out if they received good support from their doctors.
It may sound like a major step to consider changing doctors over breastfeeding, but consider this:
- Breastfeeding is almost universally accepted as the healthiest option for your baby. You pass needed antibodies through your milk.
- Breastfeeding also has significant health benefits for moms, including reduced risk of certain kinds of cancer and osteoporosis.
- Breastfeeding offers you a chance to bond with your baby in a truly wonderful way that nothing else quite replicates.
- Breastfeeding is a lot more economical than formula feeding, saving you significantly on your monthly budgets.
- The overwhelming majority of breastfeeding complications can be overcome with a little support and coaching.
These are but a few of the many benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby, yet they are well worth looking for a new doctor if your current physician does not adequately support nursing mothers. So, ask around. Make sure that your doctors are going to support your decision to breastfeed, even if it becomes difficult.