Lactation Consultant & Breastfeeding Support
Since breasts are made for nourishing your child, breastfeeding must be the easiest and most natural thing in the world, right? Not always.
Breastfeeding can be easy and painless, for some. However, many of us find out the hard way that breastfeeding isn’t always as easy as simply bringing the child to the breast and letting nature take care of the rest. Breastfeeding can be painful: cracked nipples, thrush, blocked ducts and mastitis aren’t any fun. It can be difficult: what if baby doesn’t latch properly? It can be anxiety-provoking: is my baby getting enough? Is my milk supply ok? It can be confusing: What about foremilk vs. hindmilk? How often do I feed?
This is where a lactation consultant comes in.
If you are having any difficulty at all with breastfeeding, make sure to call for help. Trust us: latch issues don’t usually just go away by themselves! If breastfeeding is difficult or painful in any way, call one of our Lactation Consultants. They will get you sorted straight away. Even if you aren’t having any trouble, it’s worth having a Lactation Consultant assess your baby’s latch and your technique to make sure that things stay great for a long time. Best of all, our Lactation Consultants come to you. Don’t worry about showering or changing out of your pjs. Just stay right at home and let them sort you and your breasts out so that you and your baby can get on with things.
What Is A Lactation Consultant?
Our lactation consultants are referred to as IBCLCs. IBCLC stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
This isn’t just a weekend course! Our lactation consultants have extensive training in health studies, completed supervised clinical hours and had to pass a rigorous exam in order to become a board certified Lactation Consultant. They are different from uncertified consultants who do “breastfeeding support”. While our lactation consultants most certainly provide breastfeeding support, they are also up to date on the best practices and current research.
When Do I Need A Lactation Consultant?
At West End Mamas, we think that if you are planning to breastfeed your child, you need a Lactation Consultant.In fact, perhaps you would like to get prepared before your baby is even born! Join us for a prenatal breastfeeding workshop!Here are the 10 most common reasons that people will call a lactation consultant:
- If you have nipple pain.
- This is one of the most common reasons that moms will discontinue nursing. While nursing a newborn isn’t always painless no matter your latch, it shouldn’t be wince-worthy or result in nipple damage. If your nipples are sore, cracked, or bleeding, you need a lactation consultant.
- If you have blocked ducts.
- Blocked ducts can feel like pebbles, rocks, or ropes under the surface of your skin. They are often painful to touch, and left untreated, can progress to mastitis. Often, they are a sign of an underlying latch issue. If you think you have blocked ducts or mastitis, you need an lactation consultant. At West End Mamas, we also use therapeutic ultrasound, with remarkable results, for the treatment of blocked ducts.
- If you are worried about milk supply issues.
- If you are concerned that you aren’t producing enough milk for your baby, a lactation consultant can help determine if that’s actually the case, and also leave you with solid strategies to help increase your supply.
- If you want to wean.
- Knowing how to wean your little one can be a little tricky. If you need help sorting this out, call one of our lactation consultants.
- If your baby has lost weight or has had insufficient weight gain.
- If your baby loses more than 10% of their birth weight, you may have a supply or latch issue. It’s worth having an lactation consultant assess both you and your baby to help with appropriate weight gain.
- If your baby isn’t latching properly or isn’t able to take a full feed.
- If your baby doesn’t stay on the breast long enough to get full, a lactation consultant can help. Sometimes it’s as easy as a quick technique tweak!
- If you’ve had a breast reduction or augmentation.
- You may well still be able to breastfeed quite successfully if you’ve had either of these procedures, but they might come along with a few extra bumps in the road. Our lactation consultants can help point you in the right direction and prepare you to have the nursing relationship you are hoping for.
- If you’ve had a complicated delivery.
- Sometimes having a traumatic birth or a caesarean section can complicate breastfeeding. A lactation consultant can help ensure that your breastfeeding experience isn’t complicated and get you off to the best start.
- If you want to pump.
- Pumping looks straightforward enough, but isn’t always super easy. If you’re not sure how often to pump, or how much to pump, or whether to pump at all, ask a lactation consultant. We can also answer questions such as how to set up the pump and make sure that you are using the correct flange size for optimal milk removal, and make sure that you know how to properly store pumped milk.
- If you have any questions at all.
- Your OB is not a lactation consultant. Neither is your midwife. Most certainly Dr. Google is not. While they are all very well-meaning, nothing can replace the education and experience of your IBCLC. They’re here to help.
Commonly asked questions
What if I want to formula feed and breastfeed? Will a lactation consultant judge me?Our lactation consultants are here to help you achieve your goals, no matter what those goals are. If you want to learn how to effectively supplement your baby with formula, we can do that.
What’s the deal with tongue ties?Tongue and lip ties happen when there is a tightness either underneath the lip or under the tongue. This can result in the baby not fully emptying the breast with each feed, which can lead to blocked ducts and mastitis. It can also lead to nipple or breast damage. Or, it can do neither of the above, but the baby might not take a full feed, and might just appear to snack or nibble at the breast instead of having a good long feed.
Our lactation consultants can’t do anything about the tongue tie, but they can identify it and get you pointed in the direction of someone who can help resolve it quickly for you.
I want to give up night feeds and sleep train my baby. Is this ok?Again, no judgement here. Your lactation consultant will educate you on what is developmentally normal, feeding-wise for your baby’s age, and help you with strategies to achieve your goal.
Do I have to come to the clinic for my appointment?
Nope. Simply call one of our lactation consultants and they will come to you. We don’t expect you to get out of bed or even get changed for us. Just stay at home and we’ll be there as soon as we can.
Complementary Services & Treatments
We provide a holistic approach to treatment, and have a wide variety of services that compliment each other. Click on the links below for more information about how our other services can help you on your path to motherhood.