How Can a Lactation Consultant Help?

Our Collective Experience with Lactation Consultants

If you’re struggling with nursing, pumping, latching, milk production, nipple irritation, breast infection—pretty much anything related to or interfering with getting your baby your breast milk—it is wise to speak with a lactation consultant.

Even if you aren’t struggling necessarily, a lactation consultation helps many mothers to feel more confident with this whole breastfeeding thing. A lactation consultant is a wealth of knowledge and experience and can assist us pumping moms on a professional level.

Know This: You Are Not Alone

It’s common to feel sad, depressed, or anxious if you’re struggling and it’s natural to place the blame on yourself—that there’s something wrong with you.

Nonsense!

There is nothing wrong with you. Nursing and pumping is incredibly hard work.

And you’re not alone.

Seek comfort in your friends by sharing your struggles, but find support and guidance by meeting with a lactation consultant. If possible, bring your partner or spouse to ensure that you’ll have ongoing support and guidance after the lactation consultation is complete.

Here’s what you can expect from a meeting with a lactation consultant:

History

Likely, you will give a brief summary of your challenges, along with health history for both you and your baby.

Mom Examination

This is not a time to be modest. Lactation consultants are very familiar with female breasts and will need to take a look at your nipples, etc. Don’t be alarmed.

Baby Examination

Likely, a lactation consultant will not only want to look at your baby thoroughly, but hold him or her and interact a bit. It’s important to see how he or she supports the body and if there’s any abnormal alignment.

The lactation consultant will want to examine your baby’s mouth. They are looking for signs of tongue tie, lip tie, or other mouth/jaw restrictions, which could result in low milk supply, sore nipples, repeated plugged ducts, or poor weight gain.

Weight

Some—but not all—lactation consultants like to take a pre- and post-feed weight to aid in their assessment.

Observation

The lactation consultant will need to observe your baby at your breast, preferably taking a full feeding. Keep this in mind when scheduling the appointment and try to plan the timing so your baby will be hungry about 30-45 minutes after the lactation consultation begins.

If the timing doesn’t work, don’t stress. Your lactation consultant will likely know how to read the hungry cues and can juggle the normal flow of events accordingly. During the feeding you can expect the lactation specialist to adjust positioning and latch, as well as ask lots of questions. The consultant may also suggest or introduce various devices during this time.

Plan of Action

The lactation consultation should wrap up with a written care plan, follow-up plans, and an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have. Don’t be shy. If you are still not confident in something or something isn’t clear, ask. A certified lactation consultant has likely been asked every conceivable question you can throw their way. Take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

In Conclusion

Remember, you are not alone. There is support, advice, guidance, and further consultation, if you seek it.

It’s okay to accept help. Many times we feel asking for help is a sign of weakness; that we should be able to accomplish the task at hand on our own. It is precisely during these times when asking for help is actually a display of great strength. Knowing when to ask for help and then asking for it will ease any difficulties. A problem shared is a problem halved.

So basically, yes, a lactation consultant can and will help.

Take advantage of online resources, such as the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners or the United States Lactation Consultant Association.

And don’t forget to order your no-cost breast pump today

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