Being a new parent can be confusing and overwhelming. Even if it's your first or fifth child, every birth is a unique experience.
Some parents prepare months in advance. They read several books and articles, consult with friends and professionals, and have a birth and feeding plan. Some parents don't—and that's okay!
In either scenario, you have envisioned how the birth, delivery, and after delivery would play out. But then it doesn't go as expected. This is your introduction to being parents. Unfortunately, with kids, this probably won't be the last time. You just can't predict and plan for everything.
It can be scary and devastating when it doesn't go as planned.
Good thing you can rely on experts to help you through these tough times. In the hospital, you have a team of doctors, nurses, midwives, and other health care professionals to help during delivery and in the immediate postpartum.
How about when you're at home?
While you still have your experienced friends and family members to give you advice and your pediatricians for any medical concerns, it's also helpful to find support groups that pertain to your particular situation. Usually, you will find these through pediatricians or referrals from friends or family.
What if you need professional breastfeeding help?
You've talked to friends and family and maybe even did your own research, but you still have breastfeeding concerns and you need expert advice. You get a referral or you do your own search and notice the different credentials. What does this mean? Who can help you best?
USLCA came out with a great article that talks about the different lactation professionals. You can find the article here.
Peers are lactation professionals with up to fifty hours of classroom training. You should seek their advice if you need encouragement, personal breastfeeding, and community resources.
Counselor/Educator are lactation professionals who are certified and have up to 120 hours of classroom training. They are qualified to teach, support, and educate on breastfeeding issues and policies. You should seek their advice on basic breastfeeding issues.
IBCLC certified Lactation Consultants are lactation professionals who are certified through an exam by an independent international board of examiners. To qualify for the exam, successful completion of collegiate level health sciences coursework, completion of the Lactation Educator counselor course, and completion of Certified Lactation program. 90 hours of lactation-specific education, 300-1000 clinical practice hours, and 8 college-level health professional courses (14 academic credits) 6 health-related continuing education courses. You should seek their advice if you need clinical lactation management that provides evidence-based practice and education on human lactation.
You can attend in-person lactation support, Virtual/online, or telehealth lactation support, or you can have someone come to your home. Lactation support rates usually vary per location. If you notice a discrepancy in rates in the same location offering the same service, then look closely at their credentials, certification, and years of experience.