Lactation Consultants

Lactation ConsultantMost women make the decision during pregnancy whether they are planning to breastfeed or not. “I’ll try it and see what happens” is a common attitude for some women. What most women don’t realize is that many times the breastfeeding relationship between a newborn and a new mom, DOES indeed take some work. But the encouraging thing is that almost all problems that a new mom encounters in the early days of breastfeeding can be remedied with the right support and information. By having quality resources readily available, a mom is already giving her breastfeeding relationship a great start.

What type of Breastfeeding help is available?

In most areas, there are a variety of breastfeeding resources. Breastfeeding help may come from a neighbor who successfully breastfed her own children or can be a certified lactation consultant who is qualified to work with moms with the most complicated breastfeeding issues.

Just a few of the breastfeeding resources you may utilize or contact include:

Postpartum Doulas- Postpartum doulas are women who assist new families in the days and weeks after a new baby arrives. They often have training in general breastfeeding support and often will have a list of other breastfeeding resources if a problem is beyond their expertise.

LaLeche League (LLL)- LLL is an organization that supports and promotes breastfeeding through support groups lead by other moms. LLL “leaders” are moms who have successfully breastfed their own children and want to offer support and encouragement to other moms. They offer help over the phone and through their community support groups that usually meet monthly.

Lactation Consultants/Breastfeeding Counselors- Your local hospital, pregnancy center or health department may have people on staff that are called “Lactation Consultants” or Breastfeeding Counselors. Often these are support people who work frequently with new moms and are trained to help with initial breastfeeding support and issues.

Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)- The lactation consultant who is board certified had gone through comprehensive training and board testing to qualify as someone who can offer extensive support in the most complicated breastfeeding problems. Hospitals sometimes will have IBCLC’s as part of their staff on the postpartum floor or may offer a breastfeeding support center staffed with these types of lactation consultants.

What type of Breastfeeding support do I need?

Breastfeeding help is something individual for each woman. Sometimes all a new mom needs is someone to come along beside her and believe in her ability to breastfeed her baby. In this case, a postpartum doula, a LaLeche League leader, a breastfeeding counselor or even a close friend may be all she needs.

If the issue seems more serious or if a mom is feeling totally overwhelmed by breastfeeding, she should contact someone who can help her come up with solutions to the problems she is encountering. This may be someone like a breastfeeding counselor or a LaLeche League leader—but the contact number for a board certified lactation consultant should also be handy in case problems persist.

If you are pregnant and interested in breastfeeding your baby, it is a great idea to gather these numbers beforehand so that you may contact them from the hospital or as soon as you get home. The key to overcoming most breastfeeding problems is early support and early detection of any issues.

Breastfeeding Resources:

  • LaLeche League
  • Contact your Local WIC office
  • Contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline: 1-800-994-9662 (English
  • and Spanish)
  • Read through some articles on http://www.kellymom.com, a comprehensive website created by an IBCLC
Last Updated: 01/2013

Compiled using information from the following sources:

LaLeche League International, http://www.llli.org/

International Lactation Consultant Association, http://www.ilca.org/

Breastfeeding.com, http://www.breastfeeding.com