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Will I breastfeed my child? This is a question that has been thought in every mom’s head. Often, the answer is “I will try and see how it goes,” but breastfeeding isn’t always a walk in the park. Each mom’s experience with breastfeeding is different and sometimes a mom’s experience can differ between children. This is where a Lactation Consultant/Specialist can help. They are certified in all things breastfeeding and qualified to help you with all of your questions and problems you may be having. 

1) They’re qualified and professional

A Lactation Consultant is trained to help you with everything breastfeeding, they specialize in offering nursing assistance and education for families. They will do a one-on-one assessment with you on what you are needing, on you and your baby’s health, and will give you hands on, personalized breastfeeding instructions. There is no need to be nervous or embarrassed about any problems or questions you may have because this is what they do, and they have most likely seen a case similar to yours. There is a distinction between lactation consultants that is important to note. From www.ibcle.org :

The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) credential identifies a knowledgeable and experienced member of the maternal-child health team who has specialized skills in breastfeeding management and care. The IBLCE certification program offers the only credential in lactation consulting and is available globally.

IBCLCs have passed a rigorous examination that demonstrates the ability to provide competent, comprehensive lactation and breastfeeding care. Attainment of the IBCLC credential signifies that the practitioner has demonstrated competence to:
• work together with mothers to prevent and solve breastfeeding problems
• collaborate with other members of the health care team to provide comprehensive care that supports, protects and promotes breastfeeding
• encourage a social environment that supports breastfeeding families
• educate families, health professionals and policy makers about the far-reaching and long-lasting value of breastfeeding as a global public health imperative.

The IBCLC credentials guarantee that they are qualified, experienced, credible, and have passed rigorous guidelines. There are lesser certifications but the IBCLC is the gold standard when it comes to lactation consultants. The credentials are revocable, so you can rest assured that these consultants are the best. However, a lactation consultant that does not have the IBCLC credential can still help and can very well be everything that you need. They may just be missing adequate clinical experience or have yet to take the exam. There is nothing wrong with going to a consultant that is not IBCLC credentialed, there is just no guarantee that they have been through adequate training and have clinical experience. Needless to say, a lactation consultant will be able to help you and answer your questions.

2) You’re a New Mom

If you are a new mom, you probably have a lot of questions and all of this is very new to you. A lot of instances will probably arise where you’re wondering if this is ‘normal,’ is concerning, or you just don’t know what to do. Having a consultant to call can help relieve the stress, frustration and doubts you may be having. They will be able to answer all your questions, give you great advice, and point you in the right direction. They are there to help and their goal is a healthy baby and mom.

3) You’re Having Trouble Producing Breast Milk or Your Breasts or Nipples Hurt

These problems can be serious concerns for you and you may be stumped. An experienced lactation consultant will be able to assess your condition, pinpoint the issue, and recommend a treatment plan to safely help without disrupting your breastfeeding routine. They will even tell you if you need to stop breastfeeding, which can be very beneficial. You may feel like you should keep going and didn’t try hard enough, like you failed, or like you are not good enough but a consultant will be able to ease these concerns and give you reassurance. Sometimes you just need someone to give you encouragement and tell you that everything is okay. 

4) Your Baby Isn’t Gaining Weight

It is fairly normal for your baby to lose a few ounces after birth, but if your pediatrician becomes concerned then it is probably time to get some help. A consultant will be able to identify what is wrong and give you a solution.

5) You’re Having More Than One Baby

The thought of breastfeeding one baby can be daunting and pose a lot of questions, now add one or two more babies and the list grows longer. If you are having more than one baby it is a good idea to contact a lactation consultant before you give birth, so they can prepare you for what to expect. After delivery, they will be able to show you the correct way to feed and support two babies at once and will be able to make sure your supply is keeping up with their nutritional needs.

6) Your Baby is Preterm or Has a Medical Challenge

Having a baby who is preterm or has a medical challenge such as cleft palate or Down Syndrome, can pose additional concerns and challenges to breastfeeding. Your baby can still be fed breast milk, it may just take more effort and a different approach. A lactation consultant will be able to coach you through this process and give you professional, evidence-based advice to successfully breastfeed. There are products out there to assist you in these cases and your consultant will be able to find the perfect one for you and instruct you on how to use them.

7) Its Free  

A big concern for moms and families is if they will be able to afford a lactation consultant. Luckily, the Affordable Care Act now requires most insurance plans to cover breast pumps, IBCLCs, and other lactation-related expenses. You are dealing with insurance and we all know they don’t like to pay, so you may have to go through a process to get the visit covered and it may not be easy. Here are some tips to help get the cost of a lactation consultant covered:

  • Most hospitals have an IBCLC who work for them and this is usually a good way to get the visit covered.
  • Find an IBCLCs who is an RN, insurances seem to favor this credential and are more likely to cover it.
  • Work with a liaison company that will help you get the insurance to cover the cost. Complete Care Medical has a service to get you a free breast pump, but we do not do lactation consultant visits. To qualify and get your free breast pump fill out the form found, here. Or go to https://getcompletecare.com/pages/free-breast-pump-qualification-form

 8) Having a Baby is Hard Enough

Having a baby completely changes your life and can be challenging enough on its own, let alone if you are having problems breastfeeding. There is nothing wrong with getting help, and a lactation consultant can take one less thing off your plate. Having someone you can trust, who is highly trained and has experience in all things breastfeeding is priceless and will save you time, money, and stress.

 

Really, there is no reason why a lactation consultant shouldn’t be contacted. They are here to help you through the process, give you encouragement, and give you valuable advice that works. They have seen it all and they know how to solve the problems you may be having. A lactation consultant will take the guess work out of breastfeeding and will give you personalized solutions, along with advice, support, and encouragement. It can be stressful and difficult to have a baby, so there is no need to add extra stress to the process.

To find your local IBCLC certified Lactation Consultant go to the link below and search by location, name of IBCLC, practice setting, and/or additional certification: 

https://www.ilca.org/why-ibclc/falc