The Lactation Consultant You Need at Your Next Breastfeeding Session

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Knowledgeable, compassionate lactation consultants (LCs) can be a mother’s best friend when it comes to helping resolve breastfeeding challenges. A registered nurse who specializes in working with mothers and infants in their first few days and weeks of breastfeeding, an LC can offer expert insights and support for new moms who are struggling with breastfeeding. 

If you’ve recently given birth and are trying to establish your milk supply or continue feeding your newborn, you might need the services of Nest Collaborative lactation consulting or a board-certified lactation consultant. An LC is not as specialized as an IBCLC but any certified healthcare professional who helps mothers improve their nursing habits qualifies as an LC. 

Here is why having a trusted source like an LC can make all the difference when it comes to improving your breastfeeding experience.

What Does a Lactation Consultant Do?

Before even mentioning the word “assessment,” the first duty of an LC is to listen to you. She will be keenly interested in your breastfeeding goals, your emotional state, the support you receive from your partner and other family members, and your unique situation as a new mother. The LC might ask you to track your breastfeeding sessions in a journal to get a better understanding of your habits. She will ask you a lot of questions, and you can feel free to ask her questions in return. An LC is not just conducting a one-way conversation. She is actively listening to you, hearing the details of your situation, and taking notes.

How to Find a Good LC and Which One to Avoid

Finding a good LC is as important as finding a good OB/GYN. An improperly trained or incompetent LC can do more harm than good. When you start looking for an LC, make sure you are mindful of the following points: 

  • The best LCs are certified, lactation consultants. A certification shows that the individual has completed a specific course of study on breastfeeding, has passed an exam, and has received a license from a recognized organization. Some organizations that certify lactation consultants are IBLCE (International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners), ABM (American Board of Medical Examiners), and the American Midwifery Certification Board. 
  • The best way to find a good LC is word of mouth. Ask other moms you know who have successfully used an LC how they found her and whether they would recommend her to you. If you don’t know other breastfeeding moms, you can check online directories to find an LC in your area. 
  • You can also make a call to your local maternity or pediatric hospital. Ask them if they have a breastfeeding clinic and if they have a list of certified lactation consultants who make regular visits to the hospital.

What to Expect During Your First Meeting With an LC

The best way to start your work with an LC is to make an appointment. This will allow you to go over your expectations and set realistic goals for the session. It will also give you enough time to prepare. The first session starts with an assessment of your situation. The LC will examine your breasts, ask you some questions, and conduct a few tests to check your milk supply

After the assessment, you and your LC will come up with a plan to improve your breastfeeding experience and resolve any issues you might be having. The LC will also provide you with useful breastfeeding information and guidelines you can use to continue feeding your baby as successfully as possible.

3 Essential Steps for Improving your Breastfeeding Experience

There are three steps you can take to improve your breastfeeding experience. 

  1. Positioning: You and your baby should be in a relaxed, comfortable position during breastfeeding. Your LC should help you find the best position for you and your baby. Some moms might find that breastfeeding babies on their back is most comfortable. If the position isn’t comfortable for you, try to find a way to make it work. You can use pillows to get the support you need and help you find a comfortable position.
  2. Stimulation: A breastfeeding session should not be an emergency. Make sure you have enough time to breastfeed your baby. Schedule your day so that you don’t feel rushed and have enough time to feed your baby. A good rule of thumb is to not cut the session short unless you have to.
  3. Practice: It takes time to learn how to feed your baby properly. Don’t expect to know everything the first day. Even if you hire an LC to help you out, follow her instructions and practice as often as you can. Consistency is key.

Conclusion

A lactation consultant can be a mother’s best friend when it comes to helping resolve breastfeeding challenges. A registered nurse who specializes in working with mothers and infants in their first few days and weeks of breastfeeding, an LC can offer expert insights and support for new moms who are struggling with breastfeeding. Before even mentioning the word “assessment,” the first duty of an LC is to listen to you. She will be keenly interested in your breastfeeding goals, your emotional state, the support you receive from your partner and other family members, and your unique situation as a new mother. You can also make a call to your local maternity or pediatric hospital. Ask them if they have a breastfeeding clinic and if they have a list of certified lactation consultants who make regular visits to the hospital.