Preparing for a Visit with a Lactation Consultant

preparing for lactation consultant__1457981121_162.206.228.38While a natural experience, many new moms find breastfeeding rather unnatural at first.  It’s sort of like camping out – you’re completely immersed in nature but yet you may not know exactly what to do.  You also may run into some rough terrain or scary challenges every now and then.  That’s where a lactation consultant can help!

If you find yourself in need of a lactation consultant as many moms do, you may be wondering what to expect and how to prepare.  Today we’re sharing ways of preparing for a visit with a lactation consultant.

  • When you call to make your appointment, be prepared to briefly explain the breastfeeding problems you’re having.  While the issues won’t be resolved on the phone, it’s good for the lactation consultant to know what’s going on between you and your baby to best help you during the visit.
  • Call your insurance company in advance of your visit to find out whether or not your consultation will be covered.  It’s better to know in advance because many facilities offer a lower out-of-pocket price if you are paying upfront at the time of your visit.
  • Bring what you need for breastfeeding.  This includes a favorite breastfeeding pillow, nipple shield, breast ointment or snack and water for yourself.  You’ll probably want your diaper bag so you’ll have diapers, a change of clothes for your baby (should you need it) and a burp cloth.  Bring along your pump as well.
  • Feed your baby 1-2 hours prior to your appointment time.  You want your baby to be hungry during the visit so the lactation consultant can work with you during a true feeding.  However, you never want your baby to be starving so don’t withhold milk if your baby needs to eat.
  • Plan on your visit lasting for about 2 hours.  This will give you a chance to talk to the lactation consultant about all of your issues and concerns, feed your baby and pump if necessary.
  • Bring a log of your typical breastfeeding schedule and any problems you’ve been experiencing.  Sometimes lactation consultants can find a pattern causing issues that you may not recognize.
  • At the visit, the lactation consultant will weigh your baby before and after breastfeeding to find out how much he has taken.  This is reassuring to many moms who are uncomfortable not knowing how many ounces their baby is getting.
  • The lactation consultant will also discuss various breastfeeding positions to help you find several that are comfortable for you and your baby.  Sometimes changing positions can resolve breastfeeding problems.
  • Latch is also essential for good breastfeeding.  The lactation consultant will look at your baby’s mouth to make sure there are no concerns with his tongue, gums and swallow reflexes.  Then she will help you ensure a good latch and often show you ways to encourage your baby to latch properly every feeding.
  • Lactation consultants may offer additional recommendations based on your individual needs.  These may include using specific nipple ointments, using a nipple shield, feeding more or less often, pumping more or less often and how to stimulate your milk supply.
  • You may need to see the lactation consultant 3 or 4 times before you and your baby get the hang of it.  Practice makes you better so continue working at it and let the professionals help as much as possible.

Get the most out of your lactation consultation by preparing for a visit with a lactation consultant.  Happy Breastfeeding!