Breastfeeding can be a hard, isolating, and emotional journey, which is why it's so important to have support. That's why Romper launched a Facebook breastfeeding community, Breastfeeding TBH — to help make feeding another human being with your own body a little easier. Every day readers ask questions because, let's face it, breastfeeding is complicated, and each week in Rack Facts, Romper speaks with a lactation consultant to answer as many of those questions as possible. After all, everyone can use a little expert help, especially when it comes to feeding your kid.
The emotional ups and downs of breastfeeding are compounded when you're struggling with health issues. Whether you're wondering if you can breastfeed after an MRI, just got home from the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), or have the stomach flu (my sympathies), you probably want to know how your situation affects breastfeeding. It's always great to ask your doctor, but if they're not as helpful as you'd like, know that lactation specialists always show up — as a shoulder to cry on or the world's best cheerleaders. In fact, if you hit any bump on the breastfeeding-brick road, your best bet is to find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) near you. Of course, having a newborn can make it tough to leave the house. The good news is that an increasing number of IBCLCs now offer online services. Don't forget your friendly neighborhood birth center, either — doulas often have lactation training, too.
Romper spoke with four experts who understand that breastfeeding is a relationship of powerful importance to you and your baby. Their message is simple: Take care of yourself, but don't let illness abbreviate this special time if you're not ready to call it quits. Kristin Gourley, IBCLC, who offers online consultations at Lactation Link, tackles nursing in the days after magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Tania Archbold B.Sc, IBCLC, of Mother's Nectar Lactation Services in Guelph, Ontario, addresses bouncing back from a "not-so-supportive" NICU, and Caitlin Novak, Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) of The Doula Circle in Colorado Springs, Colorado, talks safe breast milk storage. Finally, Briana Violand, IBCLC, of NorthCoast Lactation Services in Amherst, Ohio, talks returning to breastfeeding post-surgery. All real questions, asked by you — real breastfeeding moms.