The Role of a Lactation Consultant

Lactation consultants are essentially specialists in breastfeeding and offer advice/training to new mothers for breast feeding. A lactation consultant can particularly help a woman who is experiencing problems while breastfeeding. The most common breastfeeding problems include painful nursing, latching issues and poor milk production. Lactation consultants are also known for helping babies gain healthy weight.

Why Lactation Consultants are Important
According to infant and maternal studies, almost one-fourth to two-thirds of women face significant problems related to breastfeeding in the first week itself. These women finally seek comfort and advice from professional lactation consultants so that they can feed their babies properly.

A lactation consultant usually offers a wide range of helpful services. Most importantly, they teach new moms how to correctly position the baby during breastfeeding. In addition to this, lactation consultants also offer tips on increasing natural milk production, handling breast infections and so on.

Often, lactation consultants come up with customized feeding plans and strategies for multiples, infants or preemies who are suffering from serious health conditions like cleft palate or heart disorder. Such babies require extra nutrition as well as additional attention as far as breastfeeding is concerned.

Extended Role of a Lactation Consultant
The role of a lactation consultant is not just limited to the initiation bit. In fact, even months after a mother has been breastfeeding, she might require help in purchasing a good breast pump or for understanding the potential nursing implications once the babies start eating solid foods.

Lactation consultants play a very important role in helping women who wish to get back to their job or other activities and manage breastfeeding simultaneously. These professionals have extensive knowledge about all kinds of breastfeeding equipment such as breast pumps. They also offer valuable tips to mothers regarding the safe storage of expressed breast milk.

A lactation consultant may work in a variety of different settings-a clinic, hospital, doctor’s office etc. Some lactation consultants even practice privately.

There are times when the most important role played by a lactation consultant is offering a simply reassurance to the new mother that she isn’t a failure if she is struggling to breast feed her baby and needs help. When you visit a lactation consultant, she may spend time talking to you about your specific difficulties and get you to feel more confident about breast feeding and child care.

Consulting a Certified Lactation Professional
Now you know the importance of having a lactation consultant around whether or not you’re facing serious breastfeeding problems. If you’re confused about which consultant to visit or take help from, try and get recommendations from friends and family members.

In order to ensure high standards of knowledge, training and experience, try and find a lactation consultant who has an IBCLC (International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants) certification. This organization (i.e. the IBCLC) demands several thousand hours of training and experience in physiology, psychology, anatomy, sociology, nutrition, medical terminology and child development. An IBCLC certified lactation consultant is sure to offer professional, good-quality services to clients.

Article Reviewed By Crystal Ibetoh MD, MBA reviews each article and ensures the accuracy of the health information. Dr. Ibetoh has strong medical interests in women's health and preventative medicine. She is also a mother of three and uses her medical expertise in addition to personal experience to provide advice about breastfeeding.

*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding breastfeeding.*

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