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 Company (BFS) are performed by Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants® (IBCLCs). IBCLCs are the only healthcare professionals trained in the clinical management of lactation. For that reason IBCLCs are 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 each baby is receiving the best nutrition possible at the time. A postpartum visit is usually 1-1.5 hours.
Prepare for your visit
- The BFS team asks that each family fill out an 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.
- Bring a hungry baby 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 your baby is currently being supplemented with 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 lactation consultant 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 you remember and use the skills gained during the sessions. A few key photos taken by your partner of best positions, proper equipment use and even successful latches can be enormously helpful to review together at home.
Your lactation consultation includes:
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 your baby to breast and make sure that there is enough support given to both you and your baby. 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 weighed feed simply means weighing baby with a very accurate scale prior to and after the feed to assess how much your baby has consumed. BFS uses baby weighing scales that are sensitive to .1oz. This is a great way to assess intake and offers parents and healthcare providers an accurate way to measure milk transfer. If transfer is above or below normal limits, a corrective feeding plan will be initiated and sent to your Primary Care Physician (PCP) for final approval.
Your lactation consultant may request to look at your breasts as part of your assessment. This is a good time to notice any damage to your nipples, areas of the breast causing discomfort or any other breast concerns.
With parent consent, a gloved finger will be placed in your infant’s mouth to assess for tongue movement, palate abnormalities and coordination of suck. If an abnormality is suspected the lactation consultant will make notes on chart and report to your Primary Care Physician (PCP) and another medical provider for diagnosis confirmation and possible treatment.
Support and education on newborn and baby care
Lactation consultants provide information on soothing, infant development and other common topics. Often new parents perceive behaviors that are not related to feeding as hunger. BFS lactation consultants help parents differentiate between common infant behaviors so that parents are better prepared when caring for their baby at home.
Communication with your baby’s pediatrician or your OBGYN
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.
Our relationship with your healthcare provider
Everyone at Breastfeeding Success Company 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. If a situation requires coordination with your pediatrician, OBGYN or midwife, your lactation consultant will also contact that provider to give a verbal report and ensure agreement.
After the consultation
Our support continues when you are at home. Parents are encouraged to call for any follow up questions that you might have and typically follow up consultations will be scheduled each week until you reach your personal goals. Our breastfeeding success is helping you meet yours!