It’s easy to idealize breastfeeding as a natural, and therefore easy, undertaking.
But, the reality is that breastfeeding is a learning process for both mom and baby. It takes time and patience to get it just right. A bad habit early on — for example, like a poor latch — is very hard to break, causing pain for mom and frustration for both mom and baby. Breastfeeding success relies on having adequate breastfeeding support from day one.
Tips for breastfeeding success
Get off to a good start by attending breastfeeding classes before your baby arrives. Although it’s hard to really “get” the process without a baby, classes familiarize parents with positions, mechanisms and tools can help facilitate a good nursing session. Before baby arrives is also a good time to check out the number and whereabouts of your local La Leche League breastfeeding support group.
If you give birth in the hospital, ask to see a lactation consultation before you leave — most Puget Sound hospitals offer you a visit automatically, but if they don’t, ask. It is helpful to have a conversation with a private, home-visiting IBCLC-certified lactation consultant before baby arrives. That puts you on their radar as your due date arrives, potentially making it easier to schedule a visit without a long wait. A home visit from a lactation consultant within the first few days of nursing not only boosts breastfeeding confidence, it helps ensure bad habits aren’t developing.
Some pediatric clinics in the area also offer breastfeeding support.
Where to turn
La Leche League Support Groups meet in King County. To find one near you, go to lllofwa.org
Public Health: Seattle & King County offers a useful list of breastfeeding support resources, programs and contacts in King County. Go here to check out their resources.
Washington State Department of Health supports breastfeeding through several programs. For more information, click here.
The hospital where you birth will also have on-site lactation consultants and usually a breastfeeding hotline as well. Be sure to ask to see a lactation consultant before discharge. Ask for the hotline number before you’re discharged.
The Lytle Center for Pregnancy & Newborns: IBCLC support; 206.215.9853; swedish.org
If you birth at home or in a birth center with midwives they will offer breastfeeding support and also referral to IBCLC-certified lactation consultants. Be sure to ask for a list from your provider.
Below is a non-comprehensive list of well-known and highly rated IBCLC consultants and organizations that rent or sell breastfeeding equipment.
- Catherine Fenner / Nurture New Life: IBCLC–certified lactation consultant: 206.920.3084; NurtureNewLife.com
- Betsy Hoffmeister / Betsy’s Baby Services: IBCLC–certified lactation consultant: 206.353.9334; Betsysbabyservices.com
- Beyond Birth Seattle offers clinic, home visit lactation support and drop-in group support; beyondbirthseattle.com/breastfeeding
- Nurturing Expressions: IBCLC consultants; 206.763.2733; NurturingExpressions.com
- Second 9 Months: IBCLC–certified lactation consultant: 206.356.7252; Second9Months.com
- Sound Beginnings: Joy McTavish, IBCLC; soundbeginningsfamily.com; 206.973.033:
- Renew / Seattle Lactation: Michelle Bielicki, IBCLC, LMT, C-CST; seattlelactation.com; 206.412.1776.
Village Maternity: Breastfeeding equipment. 206.523.5167; 2615 NE University Village St, Seattle; villagematernity.com