I honestly don’t remember her name (maybe Gail?) but I can recall her blond hair, her peppy demeanor, and her uncanny ability to somehow magically shift my body and my baby so that we finally synced. In those first weeks of parenthood, my lactation consultant was like my best friend, my hero, the Romy to my Michele, the Cher to my Dionne (or my overall-swearing Tai) and the Monica Geller to my Rachel Green. She seriously made a major impact on my breastfeeding experience and without her, I’m not sure I would have managed to make it through the challenges my son and I had faced.
OK so, technically, yes, I would have been able to feed my son without a lactation consultant; I’m just not sure I would have been able to feed my son by way of breastfeeding, which is what mattered to me at the time. There are plenty of reasons why women might be unable to (or choose not to) breastfeed, but in my mind, I had no excuses. It was something I wanted to do, and it was something I felt like I needed to do. Every woman is different and I'm definitely not downplaying the breastfeeding journeys that end because a mother either cannot or chooses not to continue. The complications that arise when you try to feed your kid with your own body are difficult, to say the least. So, is a lactation consultant the end-all-be-all, magical human being that can make those complications go away? Well, I guess it depends.
Because while there were actually a number of people who provided valuable help to my partner and I when we first became parents, the crucial albeit fleeting relationship I had with my lactation consultant was like making friends at summer camp; she was hugely important for a few weeks, I couldn’t imagine life without her and then, rather suddenly, we moved on. Still, the short nature of our relationship doesn't diminish how important it is, which is why she was definitely my BFF during those early days, for the following reasons: