Do You Need a Lactation Consultant?

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By now, most of us know that breastfeeding is best for our babies. On the off chance your doctor hasn’t already told you, it’s ideal to breastfeed your baby exclusively for the first six months, and to continue breastfeeding for a year or more after that. Unfortunately, some moms and babies have problems breastfeeding.

If you are having trouble breastfeeding, consider seeing a lactation consultant. Lactation consultants are health care professionals who specialize in helping mothers overcome breastfeeding problems. Common problems addressed by lactation consultants include:

  • Problems latching on
  • Milk supply problems
  • Engorged breasts
  • Nipple soreness
  • Breastfeeding sick babies
  • Determining which medications are safe for mom to take while breastfeeding
  • Babies not gaining weight while breastfeeding

A lactation consultant is more than just a health care professional. Think of a lactation consultant as a sort of mentor or coach who comes alongside you to encourage and teach. Even though most of us know that breastfeeding our babies is best, the choice to breastfeed isn’t always easy. Sticking to that choice can be even tougher.

Lactation consultants differ from support group leaders or peer counselors such as you might find through La Leche League (LLL) and other organizations which promote breastfeeding. While there’s nothing wrong with LLL or their leaders, a lactation consultant is an actual health care professional who is licensed and carries malpractice insurance. Lactation consultants do charge for their services. Most of the time, these charges are covered by major insurance companies.

If breastfeeding is going well for you, you won’t need a lactation consultant. It’s still a good idea to involve yourself with support groups like La Leche League, but you will only need to consider calling a lactation consultant if you are having problems breastfeeding which your LLL leader or peer counselor can’t help you with.

Mothers with minor breastfeeding problems may or may not need to see a lactation consultant. If you’re not sure, ask your doctor. Keep in mind that it’s best to get help with breastfeeding sooner rather than later. Most breastfeeding problems will not just take care of themselves.

Breastfeeding is important, both to your baby and to you. If you’re having problems breastfeeding, seek help, either through a breastfeeding support group or a lactation consultant.


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This entry was posted in Breastfeeding.


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