Life sometimes (okay, lots of times) throws us curve balls. Breastfeeding may go really well for some mothers, but for many, there are bumps along the way and help is needed. Maybe the baby has jaundice and won't wake often enough to nurse. Perhaps there is excessive weight loss and the doctor says it's time to supplement. Regardless of the breastfeeding issue, it's important not to wait too long before seeking help.
A mother's body decides how much milk to make long term during the first few weeks postpartum. This means if a baby isn't removing milk effectively because of latching difficulty or other medical challenges, the mother's milk supply may be compromised. Although not impossible, it is definitely more challenging to increase milk production when the problem is addressed too late.
Supplementation is often (but not always) needed when breastfeeding challenges arise. Bottles sometimes come into the picture even if you weren't planning to bottle feed. It's important to work with a lactation consultant when supplementation and bottles are needed. Babies may develop a flow preference to the bottle if not used correctly. There are many ways to reinforce breastfeeding with bottle feeding, and your lactation consultant can help show you how to use the bottle in a helpful way so that it isn't a hindrance to your breastfeeding relationship. If you are on the fence about reaching out for support, don't wait. When you see an IBCLC, she can help you come up with a plan to protect your supply and ensure you and your baby breastfeed for as long as you'd hoped.