Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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6. Seek out support. If it takes a village to raise a child, then it’s essential to set up a reliable support system when you’re nursing. In fact, it’s best to line up professional help while you’re still pregnant. Here are some options:
> Lactation consultant Certified lactation consultants provide a wealth of support and practical information. Contact La Leche League International (www.lalecheleague.org), the International Lactation Consultant Association (www.ilca.org), Medela’s Breastfeeding National Network (www.medela.com), your pediatrician or a local hospital to locate one near you.
> Pediatrician It’s important to find a pediatrician who is supportive of breastfeeding. When you meet with a potential doctor, ask questions such as: How long should I exclusively breastfeed? If I’m having difficulties, what do you recommend? How long is breastfeeding beneficial? If you get a sense that the pediatrician is not pro-breastfeeding, keep looking.
> Friends and family “It’s important to have someone who can tell you, ‘Yes, I experienced that, too, and you’ll get through it,’ rather than having someone say, ‘Are you sure the baby’s getting enough to eat?’” Janes says.
7. Set small, realistic goals. It’s wonderful to assume that you will breastfeed exclusively for six months, as experts advise. But even the most committed nursing mom can run into problems. And six months may seem like an eternity if you end up with cracked nipples and engorgement (common consequences of not getting the proper latch; see box at left). By breaking up that goal into shorter periods of time, you’re more likely to hang in there even if you do encounter difficulties early on. Six weeks is a good starting goal.