5 Things a Lactation Consultant Can Help With
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There are a few people you should have on speed dial after you give birth—one of the big ones? A lactation consultant. They can be mini miracle workers when it comes to establishing a solid breastfeeding relationship or resolving the nuances that come along with breastfeeding.
After some powerful conversations about lactation consultants in the private Momma Society Facebook group, I am sharing how to find a lactation consultant and 5 big things they can help with. For quite a few moms, a lactation consultant can be the key to a positive breastfeeding relationship with your little one.
How to Find a Lactation Consultant
Finding the perfect fit for a lactation consultant is a lot like dating. You will jive better with some lactation consultants than others. Your first experience may be a quick visit with a lactation consultant in the hospital shortly after birth. Often it is overwhelming right after birth to grasp all of the tips and tricks they show you. When you leave the hospital, having a consultant come to your home can be a game changer.
So where do you look? My favorite resource is the handy Lactation Support Directory that Aeroflow Breastpumps just launched. It is the most comprehensive resource I have come across. You search by zip code and by different credentials. An IBCLC lactation consultant has the highest amount of training---they are board certified and have to pass an extensive test to earn the designation. You can also use the directory to search for local breastfeeding support groups.
Your next question will likely be what can a lactation consultant help with?
Here are 5 common breastfeeding struggles where a lactation consultant can make all of the difference.
1. Finding Lip and/or Tongue Ties
Most lactation consultants are well versed in lip ties and tongue ties, both of which can often interfere with breastfeeding. If you suspect your little one may have a lip tie or a tongue tie, a lactation consultant can usually identify the severity of it right away. They can then provide suggestions on breastfeeding with the lip tie or tongue tie or referrals if a frenotomy is needed.
2. Latching Issues
One of the most common issues you think of to see a lactation consultant for is probably latching problems and for good reason—lactation consultants are pros at helping infants latch. With Brody, we initially struggled to get a solid latch because his lip loved to curl under. A lactation consultant was so helpful in showing me tricks to train his lip to latch.
3. Healing Nipples
It is often said that breastfeeding should not be painful, but for some moms it is. Some moms struggle with things like raw, cracked, or bleeding nipples—particularly in the first few weeks of breastfeeding. Lactation consultants can be a big help resolving nipple pain.
4. Help With Pumping when Returning to Work
So you ordered your pump and now the dreaded day of returning to work post maternity leave is looming. How do you figure out a pumping schedule? How often should you be pumping? How do you even use the pump? This is often a great time to bring in a lactation consultant. Not only will they help you with the mechanics of prepping your supply to return to work, they can help you feel more confident and calm knowing you are ready and prepared and your baby will be well nourished.
5. Breastfeeding Positions
There are over half a dozen common breastfeeding positions and until you find the right one for you and your little one, breastfeeding can often feel uncomfortable. Having a lactation consultant help you with different positions will get your into your groove quicker. It is one thing to learn about the positions in a breastfeeding class, but it is a whole new ball game when there is a real live infant involved.
Whether you are expecting your first baby or your fifth baby, I highly recommend bookmarking the Lactation Support Directory. Lactation consultants are an incredible resource for new moms. I know countless moms who credit a good lactation consultant as the key to their breastfeeding success—do not be ashamed or embarrassed to use one. A lactation consultant can really make a difference.
Have you used a lactation consultant? What were your experiences with one?