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What is an IBCLC and how are they different from other breastfeeding counselors?

IBCLC stands for “Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant”.  I know it can be quite confusing for the average “Jane” to know the difference between all of the alphabet soup initials (CLC, CLE, CLS, etc.), but what you can be sure of is that the IBCLC is the “Gold Standard” when it comes to lactation consulting; they require the most education and most hands-on training experience.  With that being said, sometimes there are well-trained CLCs/CLS/CLEs out there who can answer the less complicated questions you may have.  I was a CLE (certified lactation educator) before I was an IBCLC, and although I was the best CLE I could be, I see now I had a lot more to learn/experience as I went through my journey to become an IBCLC.  A good CLC/CLS/CLE can answer your questions, provide support, and knows when to refer you to an IBCLC or your physician/care provider when needed.

How do I know if I even need a private lactation consultation?

  • Are you in pain?  Does baby seem uncomfortable or having trouble latching?  Does something just feel “off” or “not right”?  Is baby not gaining weight well?  Has your doctor suggested supplementing with formula?  Having a second set of eyes (that are experienced in just this thing) can put your mind at ease and/or be helpful in offering suggestions to make your breastfeeding experience a satisfying one.
  • Do you or your baby have a complicating medical issue?  A history of breast surgery or injury?  Do you suspect an over-supply or an under-supply?
  • Are you going back to work?  Are you pumping and not getting much milk and/or it is hurting?  There are many things I can do to make pumping “not suck”!

Let’s meet to come up with a plan to get that milk out as efficiently and painlessly as possible.

What do I need to bring to a private lactation consultation?

  • Bring a hungry baby (you can feed them a snack if they can’t wait, but just don’t give a FULL feeding within 1.5-2 hours of your appointment).
  • Your favorite support person (your partner or mom/friend) if desired.
  • Your pump if you are using one and have pain or problems pumping (or if you just want me to check it out and give you a run down on usage/features/etc.).
  • A list of questions you’d like addressed.
  • Bring any breastfeeding aids you’ve been using (nipple shield, nipple everter, supplemental nursing system, name/dosage of herbs or other medications, etc.).
  • A record of your last 1-2 days of feeding record and diaper charting (if too sleep deprived, don’t worry about this one).

How long does a private consultation last? What do we DO there?

Usually lasts an hour, but can be done sooner if you need to be somewhere and we can address all of your questions in a shorter time frame. We start with you telling me a little about your pregnancy and birth and the first days and weeks (or months) of your breastfeeding experience up to that point. Then we usually weigh the baby, latch the baby, then weigh again to see how much milk they consumed. I will watch the way baby gets onto the breast and offer suggestions to latch/positioning if it hurts your nipple or baby doesn’t seem comfortable/happy. After we work on getting things right for both of you, we go over questions and concerns and I send you home with a written Plan of Care (which I fax to your doctors along with my Breastfeeding Assessment) and we stay in touch as much as needed via email/phone. You can also schedule a follow up appointment for a discounted fee if we need to see each other again. We can also save time for pumping questions and a breastshield fitting (to make sure your breastshield fits you well for pumping).

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