Lactation consultants have seen it all!
When you’re in the hospital after having your baby, lactation consultants come and help you, so what do you do when you need help at home? Breastfeeding can come easy to some, but often there are issues that we may not know how to fix ourselves. While we might be feeling lost during this time, when you hire a lactation consultant they have most likely seen your issue many times over.
Want to learn more about breastfeeding? Read Kristine’s other blog post!
Most problems are fixable!
When you’re sleep deprived and getting advice from EVERYWHERE, a real-time, unbiased coach can often unravel your breastfeeding issues and get you back on track. Moreover, what worked for your friend or sister-in-law may not work for you and your baby! Because of that, you don’t need to feel bad about not taking your friend’s advice. A lactation consultant will help you and your baby with your specific needs.
Pumping into bottles (as some moms quickly begin doing) isn’t a long-term solution in the early months—it’s double the work.
Not only that, your body needs the unique stimulation of the infant to “wake up” that intricate system, ESPECIALLY with your first child. Most women can’t get up to a full speed supply for a full-term baby without directly nursing. As I often teach: a four lb. pump doesn’t ask for what a seven lb. baby does (and the pump is easier to ignore at night).
Building a relationship with a supportive lactation consultant can be useful in the long run.
I find myself doing short follow-up visits/correspondences during teething issues and to help build “return-to-work” pumping plans. It’s nice if we already have a rapport because I can SEE you and your infant in my mind. We build a relationship.
After more than two decades of working with nursing families, I get a real sense of what parents want out of their breastfeeding experience and tailor my advice to that. Tips for nursing during colds, congestion, allergies, adding a new sibling, diets and workout plans for mom, sleep concerns, travel and weaning are just a few of the issues that come up.
Having someone come to your home to view your challenges and set up a comfortable nursing “station” or two is beneficial.
Many women are still in bed trying to feed, which is one of the hardest places to get a good initial latch for most. Probably 70% of what I do is make nursing work in each person’s specific environment. In my pre-natal breastfeeding classes I point out that most people don’t have a Craftmatic adjustable “hospital style” bed in their home. A big tenant of my practice is to strongly encourage every mom to feed in a stable, non-rocking (those put the baby in snooze mode at first) chair a few times BEFORE being discharged from the hospital and frequently AFTER they get home.
A typical, flat bed doesn’t offer enough good support in the first days of nursing ESPECIALLY during engorgement when every millimeter of good latch matters. Eventually the bed may become a great haven for nursing, but making the small effort to practice good alignment is well worth it while you’re learning. Having a few small “stations” around your home ready to receive you, your tired body and your hungry little bundle makes it all a little easier.
It’s incredibly cost effective!
Yes… we know breastfeeding is super healthy, but one of the more unspoken benefits is how much money it saves. One visit in the early weeks with an LC equals the cost of about 6 cans of formula, which is less than a month supply! Right there the cost of the visit has already paid for itself! Put that $6,000-$10,000 in a college fund at the end of the first year!
Additionally, most insurance companies cover home visits as well as some supplies—they believe in breastfeeding because it saves them money, too. A fully breastfed baby needs to see a doctor less and requires fewer medications, ear tubes and other medical interventions.
Before a small issue becomes a big frustration, interview a few Lactation Consultants (better yet, take a good pre-natal class taught by an I.B.C.L.C. -Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant), and if you like her approach, ask about home visits and after-care options.
In a big, young city, where many people are far from family, or maybe have relatives who couldn’t or didn’t breastfeed, getting help quickly in your own home makes a lot of sense.