Hey there, fellow parents and soon-to-be parents! Today, I want to shine a spotlight on what a lactation consultant actually does! When I tell people I am a lactation consultant I often hear "Oh, I've never heard of that. What is it?". Well, I am glad you asked!
Whether you're a new mom struggling with nursing or a dad trying to support your partner, lactation consultants are here to provide the guidance and expertise needed for a successful #breastfeeding journey. However, what many people do not realize is, lactation consultants are skilled in many aspects of infant feeding that support the breastfeeding relationship. Let's dive in and discover what makes lactation consultants so valuable.
What is a lactation consultant?
A lactation consultant is a skilled professional who specializes in breastfeeding and lactation management. Lactation consultants (IBCLC's) undergo rigorous training and education to provide evidence-based care and support to new mothers. They can work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices, to help breastfeeding parents achieve their breastfeeding goals.
Understanding the role
Lactation consultants are trained to assess and evaluate breastfeeding techniques and address any challenges or concerns a breastfeeding parent may face. They observe breastfeeding sessions, ensuring that the baby is latching properly, getting enough milk, and the mother is comfortable. Even if you are exclusively pumping, bottle feeding or combination feeding, you may still benefit from the knowledge of a lactation consultant. By analyzing the situation, they offer personalized guidance and strategies to enhance the breastfeeding experience.
Education and planning
One of the essential (and best!) aspects of a lactation consultant's role is educating new parents and their support partners about breastfeeding. They provide valuable information about the benefits of breastfeeding, positioning and attachment techniques, maintaining milk supply, and managing common breastfeeding problems like sore nipples or low milk production. The goal is to empower families with knowledge and skills that can help them overcome difficulties and have a successful breastfeeding journey.
Lactations consultants can also provide support for:
1. bottle introduction/refusal
2. using a breast pump
3. milk supply concerns (over supply/low supply)
4. introduction of complementary foods
5. breast health related to lactation
6. infant oral dysfunction (oral restrictions, disorganized suck)
7. special circumstances (i.e., NICU admission, jaundice, cleft lip/palate)
The postpartum period is a time of immense emotional and psychological adjustment. Feelings of stress, anxiety, and self-doubt can significantly impact a parent's breastfeeding journey. Lactation consultants are not just knowledgeable about breastfeeding; they also possess deep understanding and empathy for the emotional challenges that new parents may face. They serve as a pillar of support, offering reassurance, active listening, and a safe space to express concerns. Their empathetic approach can make a world of difference, transforming a potentially overwhelming experience into one filled with confidence and joy.
The journey of breastfeeding is unique to each parent and child. While it may be a natural process, it often requires guidance, support, and expertise to navigate successfully. Lactation consultants play a vital role in empowering new parents, offering individualized assistance, troubleshooting challenges, and providing emotional support.
Did you have #lactation support or if you are pregnant, are you planning on hiring a lactation consultant?