Breastfeeding isn't always easy for new moms and their babies. Enlisting the help of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) can help women learn how to overcome challenges and problems with breastfeeding, and go on to form a successful, happy nursing relationship with their babies. Here are five ways an IBCLC can help.
Establishing a breastfeeding habit can be challenging for new and experienced mothers. An IBCLC can make sure the baby is properly positioned at the breast and latched correctly. Lactation consultants can also help mothers deal with breastfeeding related health problems like engorgement, plugged ducts and mastitis.
Help with supply issues
Many women are told that they don't have enough milk to exclusively breastfeed their babies, but in many cases, this just isn't true. Low supply issues can often be caused by other problems that are fixable. According to the Mayo Clinic, some causes of low milk supply include not feeding frequently enough, introducing pacifiers and bottles too early and consuming alcohol and nicotine. An IBCLC can help women evaluate their breastfeeding habits to see if there's an identifiable cause for low supply.
Provide more accurate advice
Family doctors are a great resource, but getting advice from someone who is solely dedicated to mothers and babies can be a huge benefit. Most IBCLCs can identify when it's necessary to wean and may help mothers find alternatives.
Help with nursing strikes
Women often want to breastfeed their babies until solid food is established, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding until at least the age of one year. However, many mothers often find that their babies temporarily lose interest in nursing, especially once the little ones become more mobile and active. Fortunately, many babies can be encouraged to nurse again, and lactation consultants can help mothers learn these strategies.
Nursing mothers need support
Many lactation consultants have successfully nursed children of their own. The lactation consultant can stand in for the generations of women who once would have helped us learn how to breastfeed. Today's society does not always make it easy to be a nursing mother. A lactation consultant can provide the emotional support moms need to keep going.
Breastfeeding is excellent for both mothers and their babies. But women shouldn't go it alone if they run into difficulty along the way. In fact, the Affordable Care Act now requires insurance plans to cover the services of IBCLCs, because they're so useful in helping women breastfeed successfully. A lactation consultant can be a nursing mother's best friend! Your OB/GYN can help you find a lactation consultant in your area.