When to Call a Lactation Consultant

When to Call a Lactation Consultant

Updated 11/17/20

We encourage you to reach out to us or another Lactation Consultant if you experience any of the following situations:

  • Your newborn is feeding less than 8 times in 24 hours, or more than 12 times in 24 hours.
  • Your newborn takes more than 45 minutes to feed and/or does not seem satisfied to you.
  • Your newborn is sleeping more than 4-5 hours more than one time in a 24-hour period.
  • Your newborn has less than 6 wet diapers after day 4.
  • Your newborn has less than 3-4 stools after day 4.
  • You do not see a change in stooling to ‘transitional’ stools by day 3 or 4, or you do not see mature breastfeeding stools (yellowish, mustardy stools).
  • You have been told that your baby isn’t gaining weight as expected and/or your provider is encouraging supplementation.
  • You have breast or nipple pain, hard breasts that do not soften, or you feel uncomfortable.
  • You wonder if your baby is being satisfied.
  • You feel overwhelmed by breastfeeding or anxious about feeding your baby.

Why we don’t reach out for lactation support:  Top reasons why moms don’t get the help they need.

1. “This should come naturally.”

9 out of 10 moms agree that this is terrible advice. Yes, feeding our babies species specific milk is natural.  And yes, babies are organized to get their nourishment at the breast.  We have been feeding babies since, well, the beginning of time, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t need some wise reassurance. If you’re not experiencing any of the above concerns, you, your baby and the universe are working in lovely synchrony. If you are, you’re in good company and it will hopefully just take a little help to get you to a place where feeding your baby does feel like nature has suggested.

2. “I can deal with the pain, as long as she’s getting what she needs.”

If it’s hurting, she’s not removing milk as effectively as she should be.  And we just don’t think suffering is a great way to enjoy motherhood.

3.  “My sister gives me great advice and she worked with a lactation consultant.”

Although your sister’s lactation consultant may have told her to breastfeed on just one side per feeding, it might be a poor intervention for you and your baby. A physical therapist or other expert will assess each client individually and make unique recommendations, and a Lactation Consultant will do the same.

While it’s lovely to hear encouraging words from friends and family and nurses and doctors about breastfeeding management, the professional support from a Board Certified Lactation Consultant is going to be evidence-based, up to date, and appropriate for YOU! She will be able to address the unique needs of you and your baby.

4.  “It’s expensive.”

The cost of a home visit with a lactation consultant will typically cost less than 2 months of feeding formula.  One year of formula is estimated at $1700 and the lifelong benefits have reductions in healthcare costs that can reach thousands of dollars.  Even a couple of ear infections, with copays, prescriptions, lost work… is more than the cost of a visit.

In the U.S. most health insurance companies are required to cover visits with an IBCLC – so be sure to check your plan for more details.

5.  “I worry that a lactation consultant will make me feel guilty for giving formula…”

One of the things I say to moms upon first meeting them in my role as a lactation consultant is “I have no attachment to whether or not you breastfeed, for how long or how much.  I want your baby AND you to get your needs met, however they present themselves.”  I feel that once we get this out of the way, I can do what I can do most effectively… which is to provide information on the best ways to meet the goals this particular mother has.  We make some lovely discoveries along the way… like “what matters most is that he gets the benefit of being held and fed in my arms” or “what matters most is she knows I love her.”  Know that our approach of compassion, nonjudgment and curiosity extends to helping you through feeding your baby in the best way you can in the moment.  If you resolve all your difficulties and still feel that it’s not the right choice for you, that’s fine.  But it’s hard to see moms and babies go through difficulties that can be avoided.

Contact us – you might be covered! We will offer you a guilt-free exploration of what support services might be most impactful for you right now.  We partner with The Lactation Network  who verifies insurance coverage with a growing number of carriers for up 2-3 home or telehealth consultations.

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