Why might I contact a lactation consultant?
Whilst breastfeeding and nursing your baby is a natural and fulfilling experience for both of you, it takes time to adjust to your new normal. It is not uncommon to face difficulties along the way. I often liken it to having a new dance partner; at first you’ll spend a lot of time stepping on each other toes! With practice though, you’ll figure out a rhythm.
Understanding that you and your body are doing an amazing thing and that you don’t need to get it right straight away, is the fundamental basis of truly appreciating that there is no such thing as the perfect way. Only your way.
Reasons you might contact a lactation consultant may range from questions and worries during pregnancy, to practical problems from birth onwards. For example:
- To discover more about breastfeeding before your baby is born
- If your baby is premature
- Baby is not latching on within 24 hours
- If you have sore breasts or nipples
- Concerns over milk production
- If you are concerned your baby may be tongue-tied
- Concerns about your baby’s weight gain or loss
- If you experiencing engorgement, thrush, plugged ducts or mastitis
- If your baby is suffering from persistent colic and/or reflux
- You intend to adopt a child in the near future and wish to explore options for inducing lactation.
- If you are finding latching on painful or difficult
There are no right or wrong circumstances under which you should reach out for breastfeeding advice, your peace of mind is crucial in establishing a happy and balanced breastfeeding partnership with your baby.
How do I prepare for meeting with a lactation consultation?
Once you have contacted me, or a referral has been made on your behalf, I will contact you to make an appointment. You will also receive a confirmation email and questionnaire to complete. Feel free to write any notes or questions you might have before the appointment to help you get the most out of your consultation. There is no need to get dressed or prepare for your consultation. Your comfort is my top priority.
During a consultation, I’ll usually:
- Assess your current feeding schedule, breastfeeding position and latch
- Use scales to determine how much milk your baby is taking on
- Identify any practical issues and provide educational tips, techniques and advice to overcome them.
- Formulate a personalised breastfeeding plan
To find out more please visit my Consultations Page.
What happens after I’ve had my consultation?
Gaining the help and advice you need is the beginning of your balanced breastfeeding journey; learning to work together with your baby is an ongoing process. After your visit, you will receive a follow-up telephone call, text or email to discuss your progress and answer any further questions which might arise.
Just as your baby will grow and develop, so will your feeding relationship and needs. Future contact and enquiries are encouraged as part of building your ongoing support network and coping strategies, and should you require further visits they are charged at a lower rate.
For further information please visit my Consultations Page
I’m not sure if breastfeeding is (working) for me?
As a lactation consultant, I strive to offer you an approachable ear and unconditional positive regard. Wanting the best for your baby is a natural instinct, whilst identifying what is best for you both is a process which is entirely individual and personalised.
The act of meeting your baby’s needs should be an enjoyable time in your lives, with this at the centre of your values, I don’t consider my role as one which is restricted to lactation help. Instead, my aim is to support you in your decisions and offer advice which is appropriate to your own goals and wishes. It’s your body, your family and your choice, whatever you want is fine with me!
Can my partner (or another) attend my consultation with me?
Absolutely! Whilst you and your baby are the fundamental partnership throughout breastfeeding, other important people in your life play an active part in supporting you both. Your partner, family or friends often play a key role in encouraging you in your journey and may even influence how you feel about yourself and circumstances. Partners or other significant people in your life are welcome to attend the consultation with you if you wish. It’s always helpful to have a second ear!
What does a Lactation Consultant do?
A Lactation Consultant offers breastfeeding support, trouble-shooting and advice. Sometimes the most valuable input they give is reassurance. In other instances they might give practical help and assistance with technique. Lactation Consultants can identify any physical causes of problems, or help you tackle issues such as needing to manage or increase lactation. IBCLE’s are able to identify and make referrals to other health specialists where necessary.
Lactation support is usually reactive, responding to your individual needs and circumstances at any given time. An understanding of the importance of this relationship and the trust you place in them to help and guide you is a fundamental aspect of their work. As well as self-referrals, I accept private / independent lactation consultant referrals from other healthcare providers on your behalf.
What is the difference between a lactation consultant and other types of breastfeeding specialists?
The IBCLC is the gold standard of training and accreditation in the arena of lactation help and support. In order to gain certification every lactation consultant is required to have undertaken:
- 90 hours or more of clinical education (appropriate courses and study);
- over 500 hours of clinical practice hours;
- 14 university level health and science classes; and
- A 6-hour rigorous exam.
Lactation Consultants are accountable to the IBLCE as a governing body. They must agree to abide by the IBCLC Code of Professional Conduct and are subject to IBCLC Disciplinary Procedures. This governance ensures that our practice is evidence-based (proven to be clinically safe and effective) and delivered to a high standard.
Lactation Consultants are required to re-register every 5 years. This ensures their practice and education is maintained and kept up-to-date within best practice guidelines on an ongoing basis.
It is important for parents to be aware that related titles such as Breastfeeding Consultant, Breastfeeding Expert, Breastfeeding Specialist, Lactation Expert, Infant Feeding Expert can be used freely and do not required the person using them to hold a specific qualification, level of knowledge or quality of experience. You should always research the background of a consultant before booking their services.
For further information, please visit the IBLCE website.
Still not sure about something? Drop me a line via my Contact Page.