common_questions_webAs National Breastfeeding Awareness Month wraps up with Black Breastfeeding Week, we wanted to share some Internet-based resources on breastfeeding for doulas and the families we serve. We know that breastfeeding provides important bonding for mother and baby, key nutritional needs for baby and provides health benefits to nursing mothers. While not all of our clients choose to breastfeed and some who wish to may find they cannot, doulas often provide information and support to mothers on breastfeeding. We hope you find these resources helpful as you provide informational, emotional and physical support to your client families. As always, it is important to remain within your scope of practice as a doula allowing families to make their own informed decisions and refer to lactation consultants or care providers when appropriate.

Resources to Share with Families:
Breastfeeding USA – With a stated mission “to provide evidence-based breastfeeding information and support, and to promote breastfeeding as the biological and cultural norm,” Breastfeeding USA’s website offers an extensive selection of articles, each with detailed references. Topics include breastfeeding aids such as “Nipple Shields: Friend or Foe?”; special circumstances like cleft palate and nursing with a cold or the flu; and support resources such as breastfeeding in public and gaining support from partners. The articles are written for families, which make them a good resource for doulas to share evidence-based information with our clients.

Giving Birth With Confidence is a blog and resource center for new and expectant parents from Lamaze International. Like DONA International, Lamaze is committed to evidence based information and practices for the childbearing year. In honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month, a new series of articles on preparing for breastfeeding before birth, common challenges and resources have been added.

International Breastfeeding Center – The website for this Toronto based educational resource and clinic (formerly known as The Newman Breastfeeding Clinic & Institute) offers evidence-based information sheets and video clips in over a dozen languages.

Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services includes breastfeeding in its A -Z Health Topics section. Families can find information on the importance of breastfeeding and information on pumping. The national breastfeeding helpline is available to nursing mothers, their family members, support people (including doulas!) and health care providers to answer questions and provide support on breastfeeding from latching to storing pumped milk. The helpline is staffed by peer to peer counselors trained by La Leche League International.

The OWH also dedicated a section of their website with resources to African-American mothers. It’s Only Natural provides articles on getting support, breastfeeding myths and common challenges.

Your doula resource list is also an invaluable source of local resources including classes, support groups and lactation consultants for your clients. Be sure to keep it updated to provide the most recent and relevant information for the families you support.

Additional Education for Doulas:
Healthy Children’s Center for Breastfeeding is the largest provider of continuing education on lactation for health care providers. For doulas interested in deepening their knowledge of breastfeeding, their in-person, Learn at Home and DVD education programs are a great option. Continuing education credits for nurses and lactation consultants are available, which means these trainings also count toward DONA International recertification contact hours. The Healthy Children’s bookstore includes both books and DVDs for your library (and with a write-up, they too count toward your DONA International continuing education requirement).

— Adrianne Gordon, CD(DONA), MBA, Blog Editor, DONA International