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Lactation Consultants: A Guide for Expecting Parents

As you prepare to welcome your little one, you may be wondering about all the different professionals you'll encounter in the coming weeks and months. One important member of your postpartum care team is a lactation consultant (LC). In this blog post, we'll explain what a lactation consultant is and how they can help you and your baby.

A new mom getting breastfeeding support from a lactation consultant.

What is a Lactation Consultant?

A lactation consultant is a trained professional who specializes in helping parents chest/breastfeed. They have extensive knowledge of chest/breastfeeding and lactation, as well as the anatomy of the breast and the mechanics of milk production. Lactation consultants are typically certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE).

Why Might I Need a Lactation Consultant?

Chest/Breastfeeding is a natural process, but it doesn't always come easily. Many new parents encounter challenges when trying to chest/breastfeed, such as difficulty with latch, low milk supply, sore nipples, or engorgement. A lactation consultant can help you troubleshoot these issues and provide personalized guidance and support.

Even if chest/breastfeeding is going well, a lactation consultant can still be a valuable resource. They can answer your questions, provide reassurance, and help you optimize your feeding experience. For example, they may be able to suggest different feeding positions, help you establish a pumping routine, or provide tips for increasing your milk supply.

What Does a Lactation Consultant Do?

When you meet with a lactation consultant, they will begin by asking you about your chest/breastfeeding experience so far. They may ask about your baby's birth, any feeding challenges you've encountered, and your goals for chest/breastfeeding. They will also ask you to describe your baby's feeding habits, such as how often they nurse and for how long.

Next, the lactation consultant will observe you feeding your baby. They will assess your baby's latch and positioning, as well as your milk flow and production. They may use special tools, such as a breast pump or nipple shield, to help you chest/breastfeed more effectively.

Based on their observations, the lactation consultant will provide you with personalized advice and recommendations. They may suggest different feeding positions, show you how to properly latch your baby, or recommend strategies for increasing your milk supply. They may also provide you with resources, such as videos or books, to help you continue learning and improving your technique.

How Can I Find a Lactation Consultant?

Lactation consultants can be found in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. Your healthcare provider may be able to refer you to a lactation consultant in your area. You can also search for lactation consultants online using Treehouse to find a provider near you.

It's a good idea to schedule a lactation consultation before your baby is born, especially if you anticipate any feeding challenges. However, lactation consultants can also be helpful after your baby is born, as you adjust to your new role as a chest/breastfeeding parent.

In conclusion, a lactation consultant can be an invaluable resource for new parents who are navigating the challenges of chest/breastfeeding. Whether you're experiencing difficulties or simply want to optimize your feeding experience, a lactation consultant can provide personalized guidance and support. With their help, you can establish a strong chest/breastfeeding relationship with your baby and enjoy the many benefits that come with feeding.

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