By Janet Jones

A postpartum lactation consultation is a thorough examination of a feeding parent, an infant and how the two feed together. The goal of the consultation is to empower families and their healthcare providers to find success while ensuring babies are receiving the best nutrition possible.

At Breastfeeding Success (BFS), lactation consultations are performed by Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants® (IBCLCs). IBCLCs are the only healthcare professionals trained in the clinical management of lactation, also known as breastfeeding medicine. IBCLCs deliver the gold standard in lactation care.

Lactation consultations are usually 1 to 1.5 hours in length so that a complete feeding session can be observed. Your IBCLC is there to provide information and tools to make breastfeeding as comfortable and effective as possible. It 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.

Pre and post feed weight checks
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. 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.

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 you need a baby weighing scale for home use, you can rent one from us.

Breast examination
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.

Oral assessment
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
Everyone at Breastfeeding Success is committed to providing collaborative evidence-based care. Your lactation consultant is a specialist in infant feeding who becomes a resource for both your family and your 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. 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 your lactation 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 success is helping you find yours!

Need to prepare for a lactation consultation?
Once you schedule a lactation consultation appointment — whether via telemed or in-person — take these steps to get the most from your time with your IBCLC.

  1. Complete your health history. Fill out an online health history intake form as soon as possible prior to your first consult. The intake form asks basic demographic and health questions about your family. We can’t start appointments without a medical history — your participation helps our team best serve you.
  2. Tend to your timing. It’s important to bring a hungry baby when you arrive for your consult. To do it, try feeding your baby 2 to 3 hours before the start of the consult, then use soothing techniques as needed until your appointment time.
  3. Bring your tools. 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 breast milk or formula, please bring enough for one feed to the appointment as well.
  4. Bring a quick feeding log. Take a minute to note down your feeding times and methods over the last 24 hours. This will help your lactation consultant to get a good picture of your unique routines.
  5. 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

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