by Jack Newman
Finding a Lactation Consultant or breastfeeding-support person may seem like a daunting task but it is well worth the effort.
La Leche League is an international group of women who give mother-to-mother peer support. They are a wonderful resource for support and information and run support groups in cities all around the world.
Lactation Consultants are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants this means they are registered Lactation Consultants, IBCLC, RLC who are required to keep current with breastfeeding information and must recertify every five years. We provide hands-on clinical support and are trained to work with all breastfeeding-related problems. In order to certify we must have many thousands of hours of practical hands-on training and must have completed many education credits to write the international exam in the first place.
To find a Lactation Consultant, contact ILCA for a worldwide search or IBLCE or your local Lactation Consultant Association or, in Canada, the Canadian Lactation Consultants Association is also a good resource.
Breastfeeding Clinics may be found in many hospitals. Most clinics are staffed by IBCLCs, though not always. See Resources list (link to Resources under Breastfeeding Help)
Of course, getting the best start is the way to go, and having as few interventions during labor and delivery will help a mother to get that best start. Having a Midwife and/or Doula as support during labor is usually a good assurance that the labor will go as naturally as possible.
Midwives: though experts in pregnancy and labour support, they are also trained to counsel mothers in getting a good breastfeeding start.
1. When you seek help from a Lactation Consultant, you should not feel that she is mainly trying to rent or sell you some product. The Lactation Consultant is there to help you with your breastfeeding problem, and very often help does not require any products. Even if you do need to rent a pump, for example, you should not feel that the lactation consultant is focusing on sales or rentals. Certainly, if she does sell you a pump or product, this sale time should not be included in her hourly fee.
2. No matter what your problem, a good LC should not be telling you that you cannot breastfeed. We hear of some Lactation Consultants and doctors telling mothers they cannot breastfeed. Do not believe them. If you have nipples you can breastfeed. Women are often told they must stop or interrupt breastfeeding due to illness or a medication they are taking or a test they must undergo -- this is only very rarely true.