What Happens During a Lactation Consultation?

This post is sponsored by Gaea Breastfeeding Center. Please support our sponsors.

“I had no idea there was so much to know.” We often hear this when working with our families. As International Board Certified Consultants (IBCLC’s), we are often called when trouble with breastfeeding is brewing. We have all heard that breastfeeding is “natural “or that breastfeeding is what “nature intended. “This can imply that breastfeeding (or bottle feeding) your new baby should be simple or easy. Sometimes it is simple, and with a few days of practice, mom and baby move into a breastfeeding relationship where mom is pain-free, has milk, and baby is transferring and gaining weight well.  

Sometimes, parents can see how intricate breastfeeding is and how much there is to consider when it doesn’t happen that way. Breastfeeding involves two human bodies, and both systems need to be firing on all cylinders for these two puzzle pieces to fit together. If you run into questions, need more education, or struggle, scheduling a consultation with an IBCLC is the best way to get help fast.

When a parent calls with a struggle, as lactation consultants, we grab our Sherlock Holmes hats and get to work! “What could it be?!”

We start our investigation with the birth parents’ medical history. Are there any major medical conditions or minor ones? Simple things like a slightly underactive thyroid or gestational diabetes can cause trouble making breast milk. Then we want to know all about the birth. What kind of birth was it? Long? Super fast? Unplanned c-section? So many things like; medications used, the stress of labor and delivery, and the hours right after delivery play a huge role in setting up the breastfeeding relationship.

We take into consideration the physical aspects of birth and the emotional aspect of both parent and baby. 

Now we get to the baby! The other piece of the puzzle. How did the baby do during delivery? Were there any interventions used? We want to know all about the current situation: eating, sleeping, and pooping…lots of questions about pooping! Once we have the whole story, it’s game time! 

During a lactation consult, we assess a full feeding, including bottle feeding, if this applies. We weigh the baby before nursing and afterward with a sensitive scale that measures down to 2 gm. This allows us to accurately tell how much milk your baby removed from your breasts during the feeding. This is one data point in our assessment.

We watch the latch, the quality and pattern of the suckling and swallow at the breast and bottle. This is a critical element in discovering underlying feeding issues. IBCLC’s are trained in assessing and helping with bottle skills as well as lathing at the breast. We perform a functional oral assessment for your baby, review pumping guidance, evaluate your pump, and cover a flange fitting.

A highly individualized care plan is made based on the current feeding situation and the feeding goals of each specific family.

We work closely with other providers that may be needed with infant feeding challenges for more comprehensive care. These are (but are not limited to) pediatricians, nurse practitioners, osteopaths, pediatric physical therapists, craniosacral therapists, speech-language pathologists, pediatric dentists, and oral surgeons. 

Sometimes when the presenting question or problem is simple, one visit is all that is needed. For more complicated lactation issues, 1-3 lactation consultations are necessary to resolve breastfeeding challenges. We offer ongoing support for a follow-up period after the visit.

At Gaea Breastfeeding Center, you benefit from the full range of lactation services at a lower cost.

Schedule with either Cathy Walker, MA, RNC, IBCLC: text to 914-218-6231 or Carrie Dean, IBCLC, LMT, CST: text to 917-294-9277

Or book online at https://www.gaeabreastfeedingcenter.com/ and email us at [email protected]

We are located at 3630 Hill Boulevard, Suite 401, Jefferson Valley, NY, 10535, inside the Hudson Valley Tongue Tie Center.