Although breastfeeding can make life a lot easier once you and baby have both adjusted (6-8 weeks), there can be a learning curve involved in getting the process right. The most important thing is your baby’s health and it can be scary being told that your breastmilk may not be giving baby everything they need. Unfortunately, many mothers stop breastfeeding when they may not have to.
Are Pediatricians & Doctors Qualified To Give Breastfeeding Advice?
No, not for troubleshooting breastfeeding issues. Doctors have very little lactation training and although they are aware of the general physiology of the breast and digestion of breastmilk, they do not receive enough training to qualify them to find or fix problems.
The only person who is fully medically qualified to give you correct breastfeeding advice is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). An IBCLC has a medical degree (such as nursing) as well as in depth training in breast and breastmilk physiology and hundreds of hours of practical work with breastfeeding mothers.
You can ask your local hospital if they have an IBCLC you can visit with, or if there is one in the local area. Alternatively, you can seek out a breastfeeding counsellor, a trained lay person who does not have the same medical training as an IBCLC but has an indepth knowledge and background in general breastfeeding issues and support.
Common Reasons Doctors Say You Need To Stop Breastfeeding
- Baby is losing weight or not gaining weight fast enough (breastfed babies gain weight at a different rate – weight problems can also be caused by tongue tie and other easily fixed issues).
- Baby throws up a lot (babies with reflux experience less issues because the milk digests faster and easier).
- Your breasts are red and sore (you may have ductal thrush, bad latch or other easily fixed issues).
- Baby falls asleep at the breast before finishing a feed.
- Baby feeds very often.
- Your baby has jaundice.
- The mother is taking medication.
- Your baby has reached a certain age (the World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding till age 2 or older.)
- Baby is thought to have a lactose intolerance (in most cases, it’s simply infant dairy intolerance).
None of these are a reason that you absolutely must stop breastfeeding and start formula feeding or supplementing. Before making the switch, make sure you speak to a qualified IBCLC who can give you information about how you can find a solution to your issues and in many cases, continue breastfeeding.