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Your Lactation Support Team...Planning For Success!

Updated: Apr 9


Ipad and planner

I’m a planner. I always have been. One thing I recommend for all new moms is to get a plan for the “what if’s” with regards to lactation. Not to dwell on things that might not go as planned, but just to have a solid plan for who to call when you need some help along the way! As a Family Nurse Practitioner with additional certification as an IBCLC, it’s one of the most common questions I hear from clients planning for breastfeeding success - “Who do I call for help?”. So, who do you call for help? Who are you going to call?


Here are my top tips for building your stellar support system!


1. Plan for initial support


Some things to consider: Does your birth location offer lactation support? Find out if your hospital or birth center has a Lactation Consultant on staff for evaluation the first few days. Even if things are going well, a latch check before you go home is a great idea! Whether or not you had access to an IBCLC after birth, I recommend you go ahead and plan for a Lactation Consultation around day 3-4. I've worked in the hospital supporting new families and I promise you will be overloaded with information! You can only retain so much so a dedicated session focused on you and your baby will be time well spent! Quite often, minor issues can be identified and addressed before they become big deals!


For my home birth mommas, your birth support team will likely be well versed in initial breastfeeding support! You can schedule your initial IBCLC consult at home as soon as you want. Timing for scheduling of that initial home consult is something to keep in mind as you are planning your support. For example, in my practice, clients who have completed a prenatal consultation have priority scheduling and I can often see you and your little one the day after your birth! Ask about how far out your potential IBCLC is booking and what the process is if you need an urgent visit those first few days.


2. Plan for ongoing support


A Prenatal Lactation Consultation is a great place to start and it's beneficial to identify the Lactation Consultant that will be able to help you before and after delivery. This is your go-to person for latch checks, initial investigation of supply issues, pain with latch, how to use your pump, bottle feeding challenges, etc. A location-based Google search is a great place to start. In addition, ICLA (https://ilca.org/why-ibclc-falc/) and USLCA (https://uslca.org/resources/find-an-ibclc/) are two national organizations with directories based on location. Some considerations include: home vs clinic visits, availability of telehealth, how long you can expect to wait to be seen, type of provider: IBCLC vs CLC, areas of expertise and follow up process.


3. Plan for mom to mom support: Support groups


Did you know many hospitals have a breastfeeding support group? I helped start one at a large hospital in Fort Worth, TX when I was on staff and it was amazing! The moms loved it and honestly it was one of the highlights of MY week! If your hospital does not have a group, La Leche League is a great resource (https://www.llli.org/get-help/ )! Find out when your local group meets and get it on your calendar for after delivery. I recommend you go at least one to see what it’s all about! There are a plethora of online support groups as well and I promise there's something out there for you! A little digging before birth will help you tremendously and many will let you participate even before your baby arrives. New mommas are such a wealth of information!


4. Plan for insurance coverage


Do you know what your insurance covers for lactation support? If you have health insurance, your plan should cover lactation consultation visits. Generally, they cover a certain number of visits and MAY want you to see someone in their network. The Lactation Network has made this process easier and you can check your coverage here. Your visit fee may be covered 100% so I encourage everyone to check benefits.


For more info on insurance coverage, see the link below. It is from the New York Lactation Consultant Association and references New York but the information applies no matter where you live! https://www.nylca.org/blog/how-to-get-insurance-to-pay-for-your-lactation-consultant


5. Plan for medical concerns


Do you know who to call for help with persistent low milk supply, nipple damage, rashes on the breast, or other issues requiring specialized lactation support or medical investigation and treatment? I recommend you locate a Provider supportive of lactation that can treat you for medical concerns (this may be your OB-GYN or midwife). Not every Provider is comfortable treating lactating women. Often mothers are incorrectly told that certain medications cannot be taken during lactation and they need to “pump and dump” or, worse, wean their baby. LactMap is a great place to help you find a Provider in your area. Many Providers listed can provide services via telehealth beyond the State listed so be sure to read the descriptions for more info on this. My practice offers Lactation Medicine services via telehealth to Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico, Vermont and West Virginia. More States coming soon! Your personal IBCLC may have some recommendations as well!


In conclusion, identifying and building a support system is an important part of your lactation “tool box”. A little groundwork ahead of time can lessen the stress down the road. Worst case, you won’t need it and you can be a resource to another mother in your area when she needs help!


Information presented is educational only and not to be taken as medical advice. If you have specific questions about lactation in the context of your unique health profile or would like to schedule a Virtual Lactation Medicine Visit, get in touch and we would be honored to join your team!




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