The simple act of breastfeeding is, in itself, somewhat of an act of bravery. Although there is a lot of information and resources designed to help nursing moms, it is a different experience for everyone and some moms have a much more difficult time with it than others. Many breastfeeding mothers are able to enlist the help of a "breastfeeding professional," or a lactation consultant who is trained to aid nursing moms. But they come with a price and knowing what to do if you can't afford a lactation consultant is important, because, for many women, it's a reality.
Luckily, if you can't afford to pay a lactation consultant to help you with your breastfeeding woes, you don't need to throw in the proverbial towel and stop breastfeeding altogether. It turns out that there are many other options available for new moms who need help breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding, like most aspects of parenting, is a learned art. It requires time and research, and often doesn't come naturally. Many new moms struggle with getting the proper latch, worrying about their milk supply, and other issues that they weren't anticipating. If you, like so many moms out there, are struggling but can't afford to pay someone for help, you're not out of options just yet.
1. Contact Your Local La Leche League Group
Many lactation consultants begin their journey as members of La Leche League International (LLLI). As one of the largest, most breastfeeding-friendly organizations in the world, LLLI is a great place to start if you need help with anything nursing related. You can search their website for local chapters, email representatives, or browse their website for many helpful articles addressing common issues new moms face. Other similar organizations like Breastfeeding USA are designed to offer mom to mom support.
2. Look Into Qualifying For WIC
WIC or Women, Infants, and Children, is a government funded program designed to help low income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding women. It provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education. Visit your local office or call their number to see if you qualify for the benefits of the WIC program.
3. Ask Your Hospital For Help
In an interview with Romper, Laura Hart, IBCLC suggested that new moms try asking their hospital who oftentimes "have support groups that are free of charge." If you're not immediately postpartum, don't feel like you can't call the doctor who delivered your baby or the number on the hospital's website to ask if they have support groups or resources for breastfeeding moms.
4. Utilize Mommy Chat Forums
The internet is a minefield when it comes to finding useful (and not-so-useful) information. Look online for forums and see what worked for them. Looking on Facebook for local mommy groups can also be a great place to start and make some helpful connections.
5. Barter With Your IBCLC
IBCLC Rachel O'Brian tells Romper that, many times, lactation consultants are willing to barter for their services. They're passionate about breastfeeding and generally want to see moms succeed at it. Being honest about your lack of funds is a good policy to begin with and chances are, they'll be willing to help you in some way.