Exclusive PumpingLearn the BasicsThe Breastfeeding Partner

Navigating the Breastfeeding Interweb

We live in an age when answers are right at our fingertips every moment of every day.  But how do you know if that information is even any good?
APOS

Applicable:

Is it applicable to you?  By that I mean, was this written for a breastfeeding mama like you with a normal milk supply or was it written for someone with a low milk supply?  Don’t make the mistake of thinking it was written for you and then and embodying it (Do I have a low milk supply??).

Professional:

Who wrote this?  Because the last time I checked, any schmo can post on the interweb.  Was it written by a Registered Nurse? An IBCLC?  A mother of three? A physician? A physician employed by Enfamil?

Opinion:

Is this evidence-based fact or is it opinion?  If it is opinion, do you trust this person’s opinion? Why?

Here’s an eye opener: most of breastfeeding info is loosely based on fact and heavily focused on opinion.  That is because there is only so much breastfeeding research out there due to limited funding and lack of ability to quantify something so individualized.  This heavy emphasis on opinion isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most of what I tell you is my opinion, right? The important thing to ask yourself is whether you trust this person’s opinion. Do they have credibility?  What are their opinions based on?

My opinions are based upon a foundation of my medical knowledge base as a Registered Nurse; my credential as an IBCLC; ten years of hands-on breastfeeding assistance; five years of private consulting; 5,000+ hours of hands-on breastfeeding assistance; 500+ hours of time leading support groups; 500+ hours of teaching classes about breastfeeding, pumping, starting solids, and newborn care; and 33 months of personal breastfeeding experience.

Have I earned your trust?  Well, before you swallow what I have to say hook, line, and sinker, first make your own judgment—is it sensible?

Sensible:

An internet article can be applicable to you, professional, and opinion-based from a credible source, but the most important thing to ask yourself is, “Can I realistically do this?” Does it even make sense?

For instance,  if you have been diagnosed with Candidiasis of the nipple (a.k.a. thrush or yeast), you will find a large number of websites that give you advice about what you should or should not do to combat this problem.

Remove sugar from your diet! Wash everything in vinegar! Eat more yogurt! Take a probiotic! Apply grapefruit seed extract to your nipples! Wash all your clothes with grapefruit seed extract! Use Gentian Violet on your nipple and on your baby’s mouth! Sterilize everything after each use!

Seriously? Remove sugar from your diet? Have you ever met a new mom? She is lucky to eat at all, let alone do the work it takes to figure out how to get sugar out of her diet.

All of these techniques have merit, but I use few to none of them when I am working with a mom with yeast. Why? Because they are ridiculous, time consuming, stressful, and probably unnecessary.

If it doesn’t make sense or seems like way too much work, don’t follow Dr. Google’s orders.

So, here are some websites that I will endorse. Head here first for answers, but don’t follow them blindly. These websites weren’t written for you and your baby alone.

Kellymom.com–www.kellymom.com 

Authored by Kelly Bonata, IBCLC. Her content is evidence-based, clear and, information- rather than advice-based.

International Breastfeeding Centre–www.nbci.ca 

Founded and run by Dr. Jack Newman, a well known Canadian physician specializing in breastfeeding, this site is full of great videos and information sheets.  He is, however, very opinionated, so don’t be surprised if you find a few things that rub you the wrong way. Just move on and don’t let it phase you.

La Leche League–www.llli.org 

The oldest international breastfeeding resource, La Leche League helps you find support groups in your area and provides a wealth of breastfeeding info.