Is good post-natal care the key to breastfeeding success?

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As I mentioned in a previous article, for the EBF mother, breast milk is worth its weight in gold.

Post Natal Care Breast Feeding

When we think about the differences between the pre and post-natal care that I(we) received here in Bangkok versus what is the norm back in the UK, my husband and I often comment on how amazing the pre-natal care here was and the complete lack of aftercare that a new mom in Thailand receives. We were shown how to wash the baby before we checked out of hospital but that was about it. There are no followup phone calls from a midwife. She’s not coming by for a weekly wellness check because midwifery essentially doesn’t exist in this country.

Luckily for me, when it came to breastfeeding there were few issues to contend with. My boys were eager latchers and I had more than enough milk. Unfortunately, I’ve known far too many women, women who desperately wanted to breastfeed, who were unsuccessful when it came to breastfeeding their infants.

Looking for a doctor for your breastfeeding questions? We recommend:
Yaowaluk-RapeepattanaDr. Yaowaluk Rapeepattana, M.D.
OB/GYN, Samitivej Hospital
Questions about your pregnancy, child birth or life with an infant? Ask the Doctor!

While researching an upcoming article on doulas, I came across several sites and studies that reported a higher level of success with breastfeeding for mothers who were attended to by a doula. I asked Kate Besleme (Bangkok based doula), why this was the case. She pointed to the relationship of trust that builds up between a mother and a doula. You can always call your doula up at four in the morning when you’re truly struggling. And like the midwives in the UK, a doula is going to follow up with phone calls and visits in those first few days and weeks postpartum when establishing breastfeeding is so crucial.

And while there are lactation consultants available at most major hospitals, they weren’t there with you throughout your pregnancy. You don’t know them. And I think that a lot of women struggle for far too long alone before going to see one. I know myself, I almost gave up on breastfeeding with my second child because the cracked and bleeding nipples were just too much. Not only was it excruciatingly painful to breastfeed from the one nipple that wasn’t constantly bleeding, I was very concerned that because my baby wasn’t getting two breasts that I was underfeeding him. Thankfully, my husband convinced me to go see the lactation specialist at Samitivej hospital. I wish I could tell you that she has a magic wand hidden behind her desk that makes everything all better. She doesn’t. But what she does have is a lot of knowledge, caring and empathy. And, as it turns out, that’s what I really needed that day. I needed another woman to tell me that she understood.

It’s this ability to empathise, and not judge, that kept coming up over and over again in my conversation with doula Kate Belesme as perhaps the greatest benefit of having a doula.

Useful sites for breastfeeding mothers:

ThaiBreastfeeding.org. For the moment, the website is in Thai only.

La Leche League is another great source of information – and their website is available in 12 languages!

Finally, if you find yourself in the position of wanting to breastfeed your child but you are experiencing difficulties, don’t wait to ask for help like I did. Help is out there!

Image courtesy of Flickr, Caitlinator

My name is Jodie. I'm a 38 year old Canadian working and living in Bangkok, Thailand. My husband and I are both international teachers - though I'm taking this year off to be a full-time mom.

When we're not busy with other people's kids, we try our hand at raising our own very curious nearly four year old son and his 9 and half month old brother. When it comes to parenting, like most of us, I’m making a lot of it up as I go along .

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