Breastfeeding support: how lactation consultants can help

International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, also known as IBCLC, are the real experts of breastfeeding. If you plan to breastfeed your baby or have just recently started to nurse your newborn, chances are you are facing many questions and concerns… Indeed, breastfeeding can sometimes prove to be more overwhelming and challeging than expected. A good preparation and the right support can make a real difference and help you breastfeed for as long as you wish to. IBCLC are here to help you! Here is how through the answers to the most frequently asked questions about breastfeeding:

Learn about lactation consultants

  1. What are the most common challenges when it comes to breastfeeding?
  2. What exactly is a lactation consultant?
  3. What can I expect during a lactation consultation?
  4. What type of doctor is a lactation consultant?
  5. When should I see a lactation consultant?
  6. Will a breastfeeding consultation by reimbursed by my health insurance?
  7. How to book a lactation consultant?

1. How to increase breastmilk supply, breast engorgement, sore nipples while breastfeeding…
What are the most common challenges when it comes to breastfeeding? 

If you are experiencing pain, discomfort or doubt during breastfeeding: first of all do not worry, it is only normal and you are not the only one. It is however important to seek help if you want to be able to continue breastfeeding your baby as planned. You might recognize one or more of the following most common challenges:

  • How to increase breastmilk supply: your baby does not seem to be contented after his feed, he/she is not gaining weight as quickly as he/she should, you have the feeling your baby is hungry.
  • Sore nipples while breastfeeding / painful latching: you have been nursing your baby for some days/weeks but still experience a vivid and lasting pain when he/she latches on your nipple.
  • Cracked nipples: you observe cracks/ fissures on one or both nipples causing bleeding and/or pain, especially while breastfeeding your baby.
  • Plugged or clogged ducts: you experience a lump in one area of your breast and feel engorgement around the lump. This is the result of a blockage in one of the milk ducts resulting in poor or insufficient drainage. 
  • Painful engorgement: engorgement is when your breast(s) become overly full. Your breasts feel hard, full and in some cases painful. 

These issues are very common when lactating your baby and can, in most cases, be resolved quickly. Lactation consultants or IBCLC are the right persons to reach out to to overcome these challenges. 

2. What exactly is a lactation consultant?

Lactation consultants are nursing professionals who help (expectant) mums in their efforts to breastfeed. You might also hear of IBCLC, which stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. This means the consultant is certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE). IBCLC or lactation consultants assist young mums in reaching their lactation goals:

  • During pregnancy: they offer breastfeeding classes to explain how to teach baby how to   latch on properly, how breastmilk works or what the best positions are for breastfeeding. 
  • After birth: they assist with most common breastfeeding challenges such as how to increase breastmilk supply or how to deal with engorgement for example.

3. What can I expect during a lactation consultation?

During a prenatal breastfeeding class, the IBCLC will give you all the information you need so you can start nursing your newborn in full confidence. You will mainly learn how to breastfeed, the different positions you can use during the day or during the night, how to maintain a healthy breastmilk supply, how to avoid the most common problems related to breastfeeding, how to take good care of yourself when breastfeeding and when to seek help.

If you plan a consultation to get help on a specific problem after you have started breastfeeding your baby, the ICBCLC will most probably observe your child, examine your breasts and nipples and watch you and your baby while breastfeeding so that he/she can give you the right recommendations. It could  be that your breastfeeding position needs to be adjusted, that you need to use a breast pump to increase breastmilk supply or release some of the engorgement for example. Discuss together with the consultant if the consultation will take place at home, online or at the consultant’s practice.

4. What type of doctor is a lactation consultant?

A lactation consultant is a healthcare professional who has specialized knowledge in the area of breastfeeding and lactation. Before choosing one, make sure the consultant you have selected has been certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. This is the best way to know that you will be talking to an accredited expert.  

5. When should I see a lactation consultant?

You reading these lines is most probably a good sign that you should see a lactation consultant already! Typically, if you feel lost and frustrated, if you feel breastfeeding is not going the right way and you are ready to give up, if you want to increase breastmilk supply, if you feel sore nipples while breastfeeding or experience pain and need reassurance or help, these are all good reason to get in touch with an IBCLC. Their help and guidance will help you nurse your baby in full confidence for as long as you want.  

6. Will a breastfeeding consultation be reimbursed by my health insurance?

Always contact your health insurance before booking an appointment if you would like to know if the consultation costs will be covered. This will depend on the insurance company you have chosen and the coverage you have selected. 

7. Browse through our network of selected IBCLC and book an appointment now!

Want to book a consultation now? Browse through our selected network of trustworthy lactation consultants, select the one who most closely meets your needs and plan an appointment when most convenient. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to our team hello@parentally.nl. Help is just around the corner! 

Looking for other types of support? Browse through our Pregnancy page or Postpartum page to discover the whole range of care available on Parentally!   


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