By Ali Weatherford

Not everyone needs to make an appointment with a lactation consultant, but if you do, it’s smart to do a little planning before you go. There may be some important preparations to make that will make the appointment go more smoothly, and you need to plan some time for that.

How to Prepare for Your Lactation Visit

Depending on your reasons for going, your lactation consultant may give you some instructions when you schedule your appointment. There shouldn’t be a long list of to-do’s to worry about, but there are some basics.

  • Most importantly, a lactation consultant will probably want to see you feed your baby. It’s best to plan for that ahead of time and make sure your baby will be hungry at your appointment time. This can be tricky, because you also don’t want to have an overly hungry and angry baby when you get there! That can often make the appointment more difficult for everyone. So if you possibly can, try to arrive with a baby that will need to eat sometime during the first half of your appointment time.
  • It’s likely that your lactation consultant will want to do a weighted feed. This means they will weigh your baby before and after the feeding. This is usually done with the baby wearing just a clean diaper, so you may want to make sure the baby’s outfit is not really difficult to get in and out of. It’s also a great idea to bring a couple of extra diapers in case they need a change.
  • Make sure that you are comfortable in what you’re wearing. You may benefit from having a breast exam, and also you may be doing some breastfeeding in different positions while you’re there. A lot of people feel comfortable in a nursing top that makes it easy to expose a breast without having to completely undress. But don’t think you need to dress to impress! Your lactation consultant knows it can be hard to get out of the house with a newborn, so come as you are. They’ve seen it all.
  • If you have some questions about using your pump, you can bring it along with you.
  • If you have questions about bottle feeding, you can bring your bottles and nipples.
  • If you are using formula and have questions about using it, you can also bring that with you.
  • If you’re able to bring some expressed breastmilk, that could come in handy in case the baby is not able to feed at the breast during the visit.
  • You can bring any special pillows or props that you like to use when you are feeding your baby at home.
  • Check your insurance benefits. Most insurance companies cover the cost of lactation support, but it’s a good idea to find out exactly how much. If you’ve previously taken breastfeeding classes or gotten support in the hospital, those are often counted against your maximum number of allowable visits. If you know that your insurance company covers 6 visits, it can help you plan ahead for future scheduling.

Questions for your Lactation Visit

It’s also great to prepare a list of questions to ask while you’re there. It’s generally true that breastfeeding gets easier as you and your baby get more practice and time passes. Your baby will get stronger and develop more endurance, your nipples will get less sensitive, your milk supply will stabilize, and you’ll both figure out your favorite ways to latch and position for more comfort. But sometimes things can come up later. It can be helpful to have a list of questions prepared for your lactation consultant so you can anticipate some potential obstacles and maybe even learn some prevention strategies. Here are some questions you might ask:

  • How can I continue to breastfeed if I plan to go back to work soon?
  • When will my baby start to eat less often?
  • How long should my baby stay on the breast?
  • When do babies stop breastfeeding overnight?
  • What will happen when my baby starts to get teeth?
  • How can I tell that my baby is getting enough milk?
  • Why does my baby sometimes want to eat ALL DAY LONG? What should I do?
  • How do I choose a bottle?
  • Is there anything I should know about bottle feeding?
  • Will I ever stop leaking in between feedings?
  • Is it normal to leak from the other breast while I’m feeding my baby?
  • Am I using this pump correctly?
  • Does this pump flange fit right?
  • Is it OK to breastfeed in public? Any tips?
  • Should I still breastfeed when my baby starts eating solid food?

A lot of people don’t need to see a lactation consultant more than once, so it’s good to make the most of your visit. Share all of your thoughts and feelings and ask all of the questions, but don’t worry if you forget something! Most lactation consultants would be happy to get a follow up call or email if you need it.

Breastfeeding for the first time or with a different baby can feel really strange and complicated at first. It’s very normal to wonder if things are going well and feel insecure. A visit to the lactation consultant might be mostly about getting some reassurance that you are doing a great job and that having a few difficulties is normal. This can make ALL the difference in your anxiety levels and in how confident you feel moving forward.

My Breastfeeding Experience

I remember feeling SO overwhelmed after my first baby was born. She did not breastfeed “normally”, and I was getting so many messages that there might be something wrong with her, or with how I was feeding her. This was devastating to me as a brand new mom and as someone in early recovery from pregnancy and birth.

It’s normal to have BIG feelings when things aren’t going well during this time. I was a complete mess, and then a lactation consultant came to visit with me at my house. She stayed and watched and listened. She told me a story about one of her own children that was similar to my story. She reassured me that my daughter seemed very healthy and that I would be able to breastfeed. She gave me a few simple pointers that could help with some discomfort, but mainly gave me permission to just keep doing what I was doing and be patient.

This lifted a HUGE burden from my shoulders. Instead of staying awake and being hyper-vigilant and worried that my daughter was not getting enough to eat, I was able to relax and let her tell me what she needed. It worked just like she said it would, but I also knew what to watch for and that I could call my Lactation Consultant at any time if it wasn’t working.

If you need somewhere to call, Breastfeeding Success can help. 512-808-0237

Our articles are not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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