It is not easy for new moms to adjust to their new roles and responsibilities. The entire world revolves around you now, and there is no escape from it. If you’re a new mother, then you will know what we are talking about. After giving birth to your child, your hormones and instincts will be in high gear. You will want to spend as much time with your baby as possible, and that’s only natural. However, this desire can often create some unexpected challenges. You might feel like everyone wants access to the little one at any given time – whether they are strangers or family members.
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- These challenges are only going to get worse if you don’t take steps now to address them proactively instead of reactively. If you aren’t properly prepared for the post-partum period, then it can have an adverse effect on your physical, mental, emotional, and financial well-being afterward. Even if you think that everything is fine right now, being better prepared sooner rather than later is always advisable in the long run.
What is Lactation Consultant?
Lactation consultants work with mothers who are breastfeeding and can provide guidance to help them achieve their breastfeeding goals. These goals may include establishing a good latch, increasing milk supply, or weaning off the breast. A lactation consultant can help a person in these and other areas, using a variety of practices.
Lactation consultants may work with women in their own homes, in a hospital setting, or in a health care setting. In hospitals, lactation consultants may be able to help mothers who are giving birth so that they can breastfeed their babies. They also may be able to provide support to mothers who have undergone surgeries that disrupt breastfeeding. Some lactation consultants work in offices that are focused on health care and breastfeeding support.
Why is Lactation Consultation Important?
Breastmilk is nature’s perfect food for your infant. Your infant’s health and survival depend on breastfeeding. Many mothers are unable to produce enough milk to meet the needs of their baby. This is called lactation failure. If a mother is experiencing lactation failure, it can be very upsetting because breastfeeding is an instinctual and biological process. Some health conditions can cause lactation failure. The key to treating and preventing lactation failure is to find the underlying cause. Some of the reasons why a woman might experience lactation failure include:
- Mother’s health problems. If the mother is sick or if she’s going through cancer treatment, it can be difficult for her to produce enough milk.
- Mother’s medications. Drugs that a woman takes, including antibiotics and narcotic painkillers, can interfere with the body’s ability to produce milk.
- Mother’s diet. Certain foods, like alcohol and caffeine, are known to interfere with milk production.
- Mother’s exercise habits. If a mother is not getting enough exercise, it can affect her milk supply.
Types of Lactation Consultants
Registered lactation consultants (RLCs) are specially trained professionals with advanced degrees and years of experience. RLCs are regulated by law. Certified lactation consultants (CLCs) are also specially trained and certified by the Lactation Consultant Board of Standards and Practices. CLCs are not regulated by law. Both RLCs and CLCs are trained to provide the same breastfeeding care. The difference between the two is who they are registered with (i.e., with the state), which is up to the client and her doctor to decide.
Finding a Certified Lactation Professional (CLP)
There are a few things that you can do to help find a certified lactation consultant in your area. First, look for an organization that offers resources for finding a professional, you may start by using the internet and searching for “lactation consultants near me”. If you do not have access to a computer or the internet, look for the local chapter of a professional organization or ask your doctor or nurse for assistance. You can also ask your family, friends, and coworkers. If you are looking for a doctor, you can also ask your pediatrician for help.
Benefits of Having a Lactation Consultant
A breastfeeding relationship with a lactation consultant can help you to:
- Improve your breastfeeding success – By working with a consultant, you can get more help and support than you could find on your own. This can make breastfeeding easier and more comfortable and give you the confidence you need to continue breastfeeding.
- Find the right foods and beverages for your baby – Your doctor or midwife will tell you the right foods to feed your baby, but they may not tell you exactly how much to eat or what to use as a nipple. A lactation consultant can provide information on food and beverage options that can help you meet your baby’s nutritional needs.
- Support your emotional and physical health – A relationship with a consultant can help you to feel more supported, confident, and empowered. In addition, a good relationship with a consultant can cause positive changes in your mental health.
What to Look for in a lactation consultant
- Availability – Try to find a consultant that is available by telephone or in person at least twice a week.
- Cost – Make sure that you are comfortable with the fee that the lactation consultant charges. You may feel more comfortable paying a higher fee if you are able to visit with your consultant in person several times a month.
- Communication – Make sure that your consultant is friendly, approachable, and accessible. Make sure that you feel comfortable calling the consultant with questions or concerns.
- Background – Find a consultant who has done extensive relevant education and training. Ask to see their certificate and licensure.
- Training – Look for a consultant who has a current license and is licensed by a state agency. Make sure that the agency is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations.
- Experience – Look for a consultant with at least five years of experience.
When a new mother comes into the world, she enters a new stage in her life. She may feel confused and even overwhelmed by the prospect of taking care of herself and her new baby. In addition, there may be some social and/or economic challenges that further complicate the situation. One of the most important things that a new mother can do to improve her situation is to seek the help of a lactation consultant. Although the process of breastfeeding may seem straightforward, many women find that they need additional help with the process. A lactation consultant can help a new mother with the many challenges that she may face during the process of breastfeeding. With the help of a lactation consultant, a new mother can learn how to properly feed her baby and understand how to best adapt her lifestyle to meet her needs.