Schedule a consultation with our in-house lactation expert for answers to all of your questions, and valuable guidance that can greatly improve both you and your babies experience and well-being.
When should you see a Lactation Consultant?
Lactation Consultants (LCs) are trained professionals who support breastfeeding moms and babies. They are educated in the art and science of breastfeeding and have taken an exam to earn the title of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). Getting help EARLY and OFTEN from an LC can prevent a small problem from becoming a big one. Women who have used the services of an LC are able to continue breastfeeding longer and are less likely to use formula due to a breastfeeding issue.
So, when should you see a lactation consultant? You might be interested in talking with an LC while still pregnant for any of the following reason:
- You had a negative breastfeeding experience in the past. If you weren’t able to breastfeed your previous baby, an LC can help you avoid similar pitfalls and work with you to have a plan for when you breastfeed your next baby. Depending on the issues, you may continue to see your lactation consultant after the baby is born to ensure that breastfeeding is successful.
- You know that you will have more than one baby, or your baby will be born early. Having multiples or a preterm baby, or a baby with a physical/genetic issue does not mean you can’t breastfeed. However, nursing these babies can be a challenge and having the knowledge and support of a lactation consultant can make things easier.
- You had breast surgery in the past. You may wonder if your previous breast surgery will affect your ability to breastfeed your baby. Maybe or maybe not. A lactation consultant will help you to overcome any obstacles your past surgery (i.e. implants or reductions) may cause.
- You have inverted nipples (nipples that go inward, rather than point out). An LC can help you figure out how to get your nipple to protrude, making breastfeeding easier. Babies can learn to breastfeed from inverted nipples.
- You are planning to exclusively pump. LCs are here to support every facet of the breastfeeding experience, even the mom who cannot or does not want to latch her baby directly to the breast. Providing breastmilk can be a challenge and we are here to support you and all your individual needs.
It can be very frustrating and shocking for moms when breastfeeding proves to be difficult, which is often the case. Contact us for a lactation consultation after your baby is born if you have any of these issues:
- Your nipples or breasts are painful. Breastfeeding may be uncomfortable, even painful, for many women at first. However, if the pain is unbearable (think toe curling!), lasts longer than a few days, or if your nipples are cracked or bleeding (which is NEVER normal), a lactation consultant can help get your baby to achieve a better latch.
- Your baby isn’t gaining weight. All babies lose some weight after birth, but if your baby has lost too much weight (more than 10% of their birth weight or any weight loss after the first 2 weeks), or isn’t gaining weight as expected (at least 5 to 7 oz per week), a lactation consultant can help mom increase your milk supply, while working with the baby to breastfeed more effectively.
- Your baby doesn’t act satisfied after nursing. Babies will act content after feedings, either by falling asleep or acting calm, but alert. If your baby is fussy or discontent after feedings, there may be a breastfeeding issue and a lactation consultant can help.
- You are using a nipple shield. Nipple shields are designed to be a TEMPORARY tool while baby learns to latch and eat. Although breastfeeding with a nipple shield is better than no breastfeeding at all, it is not ideal. Nipple shields can interfere with breastfeeding by reducing supply and interfering with milk transfer.
- You have concerns about your milk supply being insufficient. Many parents are worried that they are not making enough milk, especially after they go back to work and baby begins taking bottles while separated. An appointment with a lactation consultant can alleviate and/or minimize these fears, evaluating the expected intake of your baby and easing your mind about whether your supply is enough.
- Your baby is gassy, fussy, spits up, or is constipated. Babies with these problems often have a less-than-ideal latch. Meaning, although they are able to breastfeed, they may be sucking in air while they eat or taking too many breaks to readjust their latch. This leads to spitting up often, infrequent stooling, and/or lots of crying. Making it difficult for both of you to enjoy the breastfeeding relationship.
- Your baby is needing formula. Some babies require early supplementation before your milk comes in (before day 2 to 3) for medical reasons (i.e. low blood sugar or jaundice). This does not mean that supplementation must continue. Many times, baby can be weaned from supplementation after your milk comes in. Meet with our LC to make an educated and SAFE plan to eliminate the formula from baby’s diet.
- You are exclusively pumping. Pumping is time consuming and often difficult for many parents. In most cases, pumping is not as ideal as an infant breastfeeding at the breast. Therefore, those who exclusively pump (EP) are at high risk for breastmilk production failure before 6 months. An appointment with an LC can maximize your production and alleviate fears about lack of supply.
- Your baby dislikes tummy time or prefers to look to one side over the other. All babies are born with a bit of kink in their neck from being curled up inside before birth. Some babies have more trouble working out these tight muscles, leading to difficulty feeding. You may see this difficulty in certain feeding positions or from one particular breast. This also may manifest as reflux or a strong dislike for tummy time.
Breastfeeding is such a wonderful part of your relationship with your baby, providing the best nutrition and the gold standard . Getting the support you need to overcome breastfeeding obstacles will allow you to enjoy that relationship fully.