Have you typed that question into Google yet? If you haven’t, I’m going to guess you fall into one of these three categories:
You think working with a lactation consultant will be awkward.
I get it. I won’t lie to you. Almost ten years ago I had my first baby, and the lactation consultant I worked with in the hospital did not give me the warm fuzzies. I was 23 years old, the LC (let’s call her Sally) and her nursing students walked into my postpartum room to “help” me. It was VERY awkward. But, after having almost a decade to reflect (and having gone onto have 2 more babies and getting my nursing degree), I realized my mindset (my 23 year old first time mom self) was mostly what made the situation “awkward”.
Now don’t get me wrong, the LC had some “issues” too. But, I could have asked to see another Lactation consultant and/or said, “No, I don’t want any nursing students in my room”. I could have been more assertive. Because I wasn’t willing to voice my needs (and wishes), I was put in a situation that made me feel awkward. I didn’t ask the questions I wanted (and needed) to ask. I didn’t ask for help latching my baby. I wanted them out of my postpartum room NOW. And so I left the hospital not fully understanding what cluster feeding was. I thought my cracked, bleeding nipples were just part of breastfeeding (something I needed to “deal with”).In the end, me (and my baby) were the ones who suffered.
I want to encourage you. Working with a lactation consultant shouldn’t be “awkward”. If a lactation consultant makes you feel awkward, run (don’t walk) the other way! And ask your pediatric provider if they have an LC they like! If you’re working with a private practice Lactation consultant (not a hospital or breastfeeding center) you most likely don’t need an order from them to work with an LC. However, many times your pediatric provider will have an LC they like!
You’ve had an encounter with a lactation consultant who rubbed you the wrong way. And you think they’re all the same.
Let’s talk more about Sally (my first encounter with an LC). She absolutely rubbed me the wrong way. On So. Many. Levels. She was loud and abrasive. She was transmit only (in nursing school we are taught therapeutic communication includes active listening- she obviously missed that part of the lesson). She was to “hands on” for me. Side note: while there are scenarios when it’s helpful to assist a mom (be hands on) with latching, an LC (or anyone) should first ASK you, “is it okay if I touch your breast?” But the most important thing that she SHOULD have asked, but didn’t, was: “What’s your ideal feeding plan?” While you can’t fault a lactation consultant for wanting to share information about the benefits of breastfeeding and breastmilk, you CAN fault them for pushing their subjective feelings on you. You have the right to decide what is best for you (and your baby).
All lactation consultants are NOT the same. To be honest, I often see “people” (lactation consultants, nurses, formula companies, influencers who are “pro” breastfeeding and very clearly NOT “pro” breastfeeding) post things on social media that make me cringe. Maybe I’m more sensitive to it, but I think there are probably other people who feel the same way.
No one debates the benefits of breastfeeding and breastmilk. But, saying “breastmilk is best” can leave so many families behind. What about the mom with the baby the doctors are recommending formula supplementation to ensure her baby gets all the vitamins and nutrients they missed out on due to preterm birth? What about the mom who had a mastectomy? What about the couple who don’t have the option to give breastmilk. What about the mom who wasn’t able to pump after birth because she was rushed to the ICU to fight for her life due to a postpartum hemorrhage. What about the mom who isn’t enjoying her baby (or other children) because she’s having to triple feed due to a low milk supply from being induced for pre-eclampsia (and all the complications that come with that). What about the mom who is experiencing deep sadness (DMER) every time she breastfeeds. What about the family that just adopted their newborn baby.
I’ll say it again. “What is YOUR ideal feeding plan?” This is the question we should be asking parents. Not, “do you plan to breastfeed”… or “You know breastmilk is best, right?” … or, here’s the one that really makes me cringe, “Why aren’t you breastfeeding?”..
Lactation consultants are not all the same. I’ve met some incredible LC’s over the years. And, I’m sad to say…I’ve met (in real life and on social media) some really bad ones too…
But, don’t let that stop you! If you work with an LC and you don’t get the right vibe from them..move on! You don’t owe them anything! Side note: If you’re looking for an LC to work with in your home, please check out our amazing team of Lactation Consultants. We have a team of LC’s who are located all over the country. And I can guarantee you their first question will be, “What’s YOUR ideal feeding plan?”
You think working with a lactation consultant is going to be too expensive.
It’s free. You read that right. Free. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, working with a Lactation consultant is 100% covered by your insurance. The only exception to this is with grandfathered plans (there are VERY FEW of these plans out there!). If your Lactation consultant is in-network with your insurance company it should cost you $0 out of pocket. Why haven’t you heard this before? Well, honestly, it’s a benefit the insurance companies don’t shout about! I’m not going to put words into their mouth, but it seems like they don’t really want you to know about this benefit…
Baby Settler (and our consultants) are In-Network with many nationwide insurance companies. If you’re looking for an LC to work with (and you want to use your insurance to cover the cost) you can find out more here. We’ll confirm your coverage prior to your consult so you don’t have any unwanted surprises!
And last, but not least! If you haven’t yet googled, “How can a lactation consultant help me”, maybe you already know how important and beneficial it is to work with a lactation consultant during the postpartum period (whether you’re breastfeeding, exclusively pumping, combo feeding, dealing with complications like mastitis or cracked, bleeding nipples, need help with bottle feeding, or looking for information about how to wean from breastfeeding or pumping).
Trust me, it’s a GAME CHANGER!
You’ve got this!
XX- Hillary (The Baby Settler)