What is a lactation consultation?
A postpartum lactation consultation is a thorough examination of the feeding parent, the infant, and how they feed together. All lactation consultations at Breastfeeding Success (BFS) are performed by Internationally Boards Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). IBCLCs are the only healthcare professionals trained in the clinical management of lactation. For that reason IBCLCs considered the gold-standard in lactation care. The main goal of the consultation is to empower the family and their healthcare provider(s) with the information and tools to find their breastfeeding success while ensuring that baby is receiving the best nutrition possible at the time. A postpartum visit is usually 1-1.5 hours and includes the following:
- Incorporating parent and baby’s medical history
The BFS team asks that each family fill out a online health history intake form prior to the first visit. The intake form asks basic demographic and health questions about the parent and baby(s). If you are not able to fill out the intake form prior to arrival please arrive 15 minutes early. BFS lactation consultants may not start appointments without a medical history. We appreciate your participation in helping the team to be prepared and focused during the consult.
- prepare for your visit
- Prepare to have baby hungry when you arrive for your consult. Feed your baby 2-3 hours before the start of the consult and then use soothing techniques as needed until you arrive.
- Bring in all equipment that you are currently using such as: pumps and parts, bottles, and supplementation devices. If baby is currently being supplemented your with breast milk or formula, please bring enough for one feed to the appointment as well.
- Take a minute to make a quick note about your feeding times and methods over the last 24 hours. This will help your LC to get a good picture of your unique routine. Filling out the intake form before your visit will also greatly improve your experience.
- Bring a partner
Anyone who is a part of your breastfeeding support team is encouraged to attend appointments. Another set of eyes and ears can help to remember and use the skills gained during the sessions. A few key photos of best positions, proper equipment use and even successful latches can be enormously helpful to review together at home. ( though most likely not for share on instagram 😉
- Assistance with latch
The lactation consultant may help you with shaping the breast and offer tips to help ensure a wide latch. Breastfeeding should not be painful. Often comfort and milk transfer are greatly improved with training on latch and positioning techniques.
- Proper positioning techniques
Assistance will be provided to properly align baby to breast and make sure that there is enough support given to both baby and the feeding parent. The BFS approach is to work on several breastfeeding positions during your visit(s). Some favorites are: cross-cradle, football, laid-back, and side-lying holds although, there are many ways to effectively breastfeed directly.
- Weighed feeding (pre/post feed weights)
A weighted feeds simply means weighing baby with a very accurate scale prior to and after the feed to assess milk intake. BFS uses baby weighing scales that are sensitive to .1oz. This is a great way to assess intake and offers parents and healthcare providers a quantitative means of measuring milk transfer. If transfer is above or below normal limits a corrective feeding plan will be initiated sent to PCP for final approval.
- Breast Examination
Your LC may request to look at your breasts as part of your assessment. This is a good time to point out damage to your nipples, areas of the breast causing discomfort, or any other breast concerns.
- Oral assessment
With parent consent a gloved finger will be placed in infant’s mouth to assess for tongue movement, palate abnormalities, and coordination of suck. If an abnormality is suspected the LC will make notes on chart and report to PCP and another medical provider for diagnosis confirmation and possible treatment.
- Support and education on newborn and baby care
Lactation consultants are happy to provide information on soothing, infant development, and other common topics. Often new parents perceive behaviors that are not related to feeding as hunger. The goal at BFS is to help parents differentiate between the various behaviors exhibited by infants so that parents are better prepared when caring for baby at home.
- Our relationship with your healthcare provider
Everyone at Breastfeeding Success is committed to providing evidence-based care that is collaborative. Your lactation consultant is a specialist in infant feeding and a resource for both the family and their healthcare providers. At each visit families receive detailed chart notes as well as a written feeding plan. The same chart notes and feeding plan are also sent to the appropriate primary care provider. In any situation where it is determined that verbal communication with either the baby’s pediatrician or the OB/Midwife is warranted your lactation consultant will also call that provider to give verbal report and ensure agreement.
- After the consultation
Each consultation ends with a customized feeding plan geared to get breastfeeding back/stay on track while maintaining breast focus and protecting breastmilk supply. Phone and email support is also included with each consultation, and an appointment is set up for a follow up visit until breastfeeding issues are resolved. Breastfeeding Success Company works with each family to ensure that they reach their infant feeding goals. Our breastfeeding success is helping you meet yours!