What is a certified lactation consultant?

A lactation consultant is a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced in lactation or breastfeeding. The lactation consultant’s primary focus is to provide education, assistance and support to breastfeeding women. The only health care professionals specifically trained in breastfeeding have the title IBCLC, or International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant.

Only an IBCLC has completed the rigorous training and passed the exam given by the International Board of Lactation Examiner. This exam is given once a year and candidates must have completed all the requirements to be eligible to write the exam. The IBCLC must also be recertified every 5 years to maintain current status. Lactation consultants are trained in maternal and infant anatomy, physiology, pathology, and biochemistry, as well as technology related to breastfeeding and clinical management of breastfeeding. Lactation consultants work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices and private practice.

During consultation, the lactation consultant gathers information, which may include a medical history of the mother and baby, a breastfeeding history, and an observation of the baby nursing. This information will be used to formulate a plan of action to help the mother. Depending on the situation, the lactation consultant may also communicate with the primary healthcare provider or make referrals to other health professionals, community services, and support groups.

Contact a lactation consultant to help you succeed in your breastfeeding experience.

Reasons to consult an IBCLC

Prevention is always key!! Some patients like to consult a lactation consultant before the baby is born to make sure they understand the basics of breastfeeding. This is also a quiet time to address any questions the mother may have regarding breastfeeding.

Some situations that may require the use of a lactation consultant:

  • difficulties latching on; baby is refusing the breast
  • painful breastfeeding; sore, cracked nipples
  • inverted or flat nipples
  • engorgement
  • blocked ducts or mastitis, yeast or thrush
  • over supply or under supply
  • slow weight gain
  • breast reduction
  • premature baby
  • multiple birth
  • mother infant separation; back to work or hospitalization
  • advice on pumps for rental or purchase
  • questions about medications
  • adoption

Remember, even if you did not succeed in breastfeeding the first time around, a lactation consultant can help you this time. If you are tired or feeling discouraged with breastfeeding, call a lactation consultant now!

Chiropractic and Breastfeeding

When babies are not well positioned in the womb or the delivery has been difficult, breastfeeding can be negatively affected. A chiropractor will be able to identify the areas of your baby’s spine which are impeding effective sucking. By performing very gentle adjustments, your baby will be able to revert to breastfeeding without creating any pain for you.

If your baby is clamping onto or biting the breast, refusing to nurse on one side, taking the breast “cross cradle” on one side and only “football” on the other, he or she is showing signs that the neck and jaw are not working properly.

During the examination, I will be able to identify exactly what is causing the problems. My experience as a lactation consultant allows me to understand the mechanics of nursing and to locate more effectively the baby’s chiropractic problems.

Together, a lactation consultant and a chiropractic doctor make a winning health team!