As new Moms, we are told that nursing our babies is the best for them nutritionally and helps to develop a closeness and bond with our newborn. But what if you or your baby are having difficulty with breast feeding? Who can you turn to for advice and help besides friends or relatives that may have nursed their own children? There is nothing worse than that inner feeling of failing your baby because of his inability to latch on, difficulty coordinating a suck/swallow/breathe pattern, or difficulty with producing enough milk. There is help out there!
That’s where the services of a lactation consultant come in. A trained lactation consultant can assist with both the skills and emotional support you need to breastfeed your baby and meet your breast feeding goals, all the while helping to get your baby off to the best possible start in life.
What to Expect
While services and appointments may vary depending on your area, generally you and your baby will attend an initial appointment where the lactation consultant will want to see you breast feed your baby. So make sure your baby comes hungry! Wear comfortable clothing and bring a light blanket for your baby. Your consultant will most likely ask you many questions such as how many wet and dirty diapers your baby has per day, how often per day your baby nurses, how often you pump and if your baby receives any supplemental formula. It may help to think about all these questions ahead of time and write it down.
Typically if you use a nipple shield or any other devices for feeding (aside from your breast pump), they will want you to bring these materials with you. Also bring any additional formula or supplements your baby uses.
Most lactation consultants address many different nursing topics, including education for a new breastfeeding mom, to infants who are having challenges with nursing due to a variety of issues (including tongue tie), weight gain issues, or even pain for Mom while breastfeeding. Some consultants also help with adoptive breast feeding. And just because you successfully breast fed one or more of your other children, does not mean you might not have a challenge with a subsequent child, so a lactation consultant is NOT exclusively for first time nursing mothers. Many cities offer prenatal breast feeding classes in order to prepare new mom’s for breast feeding.
Find a Lactation Consultant
Need help finding a lactation consultant in the USA? You can find one in your area via the United States Lactation Consultant Association: http://uslca.org/resources/find-a-lactation-consultant
Need help finding a lactation consultant outside the USA? You can find one in your area via the International Lactation Consultant Association: http://www.ilca.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3337
Helpful link to drug interactions while breast feeding: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/newtoxnet/lactmed.htm
Reference & Pittsburgh, PA Resource: http://breastfeedingcenterofpittsburgh.com