Generations ago, new mothers turned to their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers for breastfeeding advice. The norm in our society has become formula feeding, and within a few generations, the collective knowledge of breastfeeding has been almost wiped out. Most information that women receive from pediatricians and hospitals pertains more to formula feeding than breastfeeding, and many common parenting practices inhibit a successful breastfeeding relationship. This is why women need to know about breastfeeding advice that is available to them.
La Leche League
The first, least expensive, and perhaps most effective place to find help with breastfeeding is the local La Leche League group. It is a volunteer organization that is run by mothers who have or are exclusively breastfeeding babies. It is kind of like visiting an aunt of generations ago. At a meeting, new mothers meet experienced moms who can help with breastfeeding advice and other baby advice. Each group has monthly or bi-weekly meetings that cover all topics related to breastfeeding from having a new baby to weaning a toddler.
Another common expert to turn to is a lactation consultant. Usually, they have either been a volunteer consultant or a nurse before becoming a lactation consultant. As a volunteer, they may have been a La Leche League leader. As a nurse, they may have specifically been a labor and delivery nurse, or a postpartum recovery nurse. Either way, they are certified and go through a training and examination process. As in any profession, though, there are good ones and bad ones. Personally, I would only seek out a lactation consultant who has long term and exclusively breastfed at least one child. Often there may be issues that only another mother would recognize.
Another place to seek advice is a pediatrician. It may be difficult to find a pediatrician who exclusively breastfed a baby, and this piece is crucial. If you are having trouble nursing, but are committed, then the last thing you want is someone who is brushing off your concerns by suggesting formula. When interviewing pediatricians before the baby is born, it is important to know how the pediatrician feels about breastfeeding and what their experience is with it. The best pediatrician would be able to refer a new mother to a lactation consultant or a La Leche League meeting.