What is a Lactation Consultant? Do I need one? There are many people that do not know what a Lactation Consultant is, let alone what an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is. I am going to break it down for you and make sure you know that there is help out there for families that are struggling with breastfeeding or would like to take a prenatal breastfeeding class to learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding.
International Board Certified Lactation Consultants function and contribute as members of the maternal-child health team. They provide care in a variety of settings, while making appropriate referrals to other health professionals and community support resources. Working together with mothers, families, policymakers and society, IBCLC certificants provide expert breastfeeding and lactation care, promote changes that support breastfeeding and help reduce the risks of not breastfeeding (http://iblce.org/about-iblce/). Anyone can call themselves a lactation consultant but the IBCLC certification has many requirements. You will need education in specified health science subjects, education in human lactation and breastfeeding, and clinical practice in providing care to breastfeeding families. Once you have finished all of the required education and sometimes up to 1,000 hours of lactation specific clinical practice, you must then pass an international exam in order to get the IBCLC credentials. If you want to find out more information on becoming an IBCLC or more about what we do, please visit www.iblce.org.
Do I need to see a Lactation Consultant – IBCLC? IF you are experiencing difficulties breastfeeding or having a painful latch, then YES! IF you are expecting and are wanting to learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding and what to expect, then YES! Here are a few things I would like you to take away from my Prenatal Breastfeeding Class: some facts on anatomy and physiology, milk production, getting breastfeeding off to the best start – breastfeeding basics, common concerns, where to get support, and returning to work. Taking a prenatal breastfeeding class will teach you a lot of what to expect, especially in the first couple of days and in the delivery room as well (more information here on reasons to take a prenatal breastfeeding class).
There are many instances where you would need to seek the guidance and help of a lactation consultant, check out this blog to know when to seek lactation support. Persistent pain (sore, cracked, bleeding nipples), baby is fussy after most feedings, extremely engorged and finding it difficult to latch baby, are just a few reasons you would need to call and schedule a visit from a lactation consultant IBCLC. Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t always come easily; it’s a learning process for both mother and baby. Bringing home a new baby can be stressful at times, but breastfeeding doesn’t have to be. There is help out there for you.