When to Call a Lactation Consultant
- October 8, 2015
- by Melissa Lawrence
Hi everyone. Since help with breastfeeding is really at the core of what we do at Cloudmom, I was thrilled when Linsey from Redhead Baby Mama reached out about writing this post for us. Having had my highs and my lows with breastfeeding, I advise enlisting all the help and support you can get. Lactation consultants can be crucial when breastfeeding has become painful and difficult. Read on for great tips on when and why to call a lactation consultant.
Hey y’all! I’m Lindsey from Redhead Baby Mama. I recently had a beautiful little girl in July, and together, we’ve been on quite the breastfeeding journey. I wasn’t able to breastfeed very long with my son due to his infant distress at birth as well as lack of education on my part, so I was determined to exhaust my resources and try to breastfeed longer with my baby girl, Scarlett.
In the hospital, we were able to start breastfeeding less than 15 minutes after my scheduled C-section, but our challenges were just beginning. Scarlett was clamping down so hard that she was bruising me and causing lots of pain by day two. She was eating for at least 40 minutes at a time and I couldn’t figure out what was causing our issues. I made sure to ask the hospital lactation consultant to visit our room. The consultants were very nice, with no pressure, and a gentle manner offering lots of help. They explained what was causing the bruises, and gave solutions to help correct the issue. I felt better about it when we left the hospital and tried to find our routine at home, however, I still had a feeling that something wasn’t right.
As Scarlett approached one-month, her clamping had gotten so bad that I couldn’t breastfeed without a shield and the pain was incredible! My pediatrician offered the breastfeeding consultants in her office, and I jumped at the offer. After a 2 hour consult, Scarlett ate like a champ, and stayed full for three hours; something she had never done before. I was a new woman. Two weeks later, she started fidgeting at the breast, and I called up the breastfeeding hotline to ask questions, and even requested a follow-up appointment.
Why did I visit the consultants yet again? Because I had to be an advocate for not only for my own health, but Scarlett’s, too. I trusted my instincts and wasn’t shy about needing help – that’s what the consultants are there for!
So how do you know when you should call a consultant? Here are some clues that you might need to dial in for an appointment:
You’re having difficulties, such as:
- Any kind of pain (bruising, bleeding, cracked nipples)!
- History of breast surgery
- Prolonged Engorgement
- Anxiety regarding breastfeeding
- Need pumping advice or are returning to work without baby
- Are needing medications that may interfere with breastfeeding
If your Baby is having difficulties, such as:
- Baby eats “all the time”
- Spits up “a lot”
- Persistent difficulty latching
- Infant is fitful at breast
- Poor weight gain (ask your pediatrician!)
What You Might Learn at a Consultation: Professional consultants offer many services, such as teaching a new mom (or a seasoned one!) new positions for her baby, tips to increase milk supply or even how to treat an infection (mastitis, thrush, etc). They can also help with special strategies for infants with special needs or medical conditions. Besides early-on help, you lactation consultants can help you choose a pump when you’re ready to return to work, or help you nurse an older baby experiencing curiosity or distraction.
Most importantly, listen to your instincts. Don’t be afraid to schedule more than one visit, or call up the office for advice.
Lindsey Paris, content creator at RedheadBabyMama, is a native southerner, residing in Atlanta, Georgia. A mom of two, Lindsey Paris writes about parenting and southern life with G.R.I.T.s humor and a warm smile. Be sure to keep up with Lindsey by subscribing to RedheadBabyMama.com and visiting her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Youtube!