A lactation consultant can be your greatest ally in establishing a successful nursing routine with your baby.
While many new mothers believe that because breastfeeding is “natural” it therefore should come easily, in reality, it can be a difficult adjustment for both mother and baby. Some mothers report sore, cracked or even bleeding nipples and a baby who refuses the breast and begins losing weight.
Before you get frustrated, call a lactation consultant. These professionals are trained to help mothers overcome nursing difficulties.
What Does a Lactation Consultant Do?
A lactation consultant is someone who is professionally trained to help mothers who are having difficulty with nursing issues such as getting their babies to latch on successfully, producing enough milk or having pain during nursing. They can also help when babies aren’t meeting their target weight goals.
Consultants may work in their own private medical practices, for another medical practice or for a hospital.
They are experienced in teaching women how to prepare for breastfeeding, addressing problems after delivery and counseling women who would like advice on going back to work or school when still breastfeeding.
Lactation consultants are especially useful to women whose babies are born prematurely and must stay in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Before You Deliver
You may be able to attend an educational session — a helpful introduction to breastfeeding — taught by a lactation consultant before you give birth.
How will you be able to tell if your baby wants to nurse? How can you tell if your baby is getting enough breast milk?
The lactation consultant will review all of these topics, and you will have a chance to talk to her about any concerns you have before your little one arrives.
In the Hospital
Many hospital staffs retain the services of lactation consultants to help you during the recovery stage directly following your delivery. They may automatically check in with you, or you may be required to ask the nursing staff for assistance.
At this point, the lactation consultant can give you hands-on tips and pointers as to how to train your baby to use a sucking method that causes you as little discomfort as possible while still receiving the nourishment they need.
During Your Visit
Don’t hesitate to call the lactation consultant with any questions or problems after you’ve taken your baby home. You may be able to schedule a visit if you’re concerned about your baby’s progress.
They will ask you about your breastfeeding schedule, the number of soiled or wet diapers your baby produces each day and any changes in the baby’s weight. They may check the baby’s sucking ability and their weight before and after a feeding. They will give you suggestions on how to position the baby, and they’ll guide you through the latching process.
When you want to breastfeed your baby, understand that you have a major support system at Rocky Mountain Women’s Health Center, including lactation consultants who are dedicated to helping mothers succeed at breastfeeding.
Call today to learn more or to set up an appointment.