What is a Lactation Consultant?
A Lactation Consultant is a health care professional who has completed additional study and training in breast milk and breastfeeding and has been certified with the International Board of Lactation Consultants.
Why is breastfeeding important?
A baby’s brain continues to develop for the first 2 years of their life and breast milk is designed provide the perfect environment to support this development. For this reason the World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breast feeding for the first 6 months of life and ongoing breastfeeding for 2 years – longer if the mum and child wish to continue. As well as supporting brain development, breast milk also improves a baby’s gut health and immunity which means they are less at risk of developing gastric conditions, allergies and catching infections. Just as a woman’s body is made to nourish a baby while she is pregnant, so are a woman’s breasts designed to nourish a baby after birth. Humans are the only mammal who choose to feed their young on another animal’s milk (i.e. formula) instead of their own.
Why can breastfeeding be difficult?
Although a baby is born with a very strong instinct to suckle in order to survive, not all babies are good at suckling at the breast. Breastfeeding is a learnt skill for both mum and baby. Like learning to walk or riding a bike this skill can take time to learn and for some mum and baby pairs it never becomes an easy or pleasurable experience.
What are some common problems with breastfeeding?
Many problems can arise when breastfeeding such as latching difficulties, sore nipples, poor milk supply, too much milk, breast refusal and mastitis.
How can a Lactation Consultant help with breastfeeding?
As a Lactation Consultant and a midwife here at Peel Maternity,Â I can support you on your breastfeeding journey. All consultations involve an assessment of your breasts and your baby’s suck so that any immediate issues such as a tongue tie or inverted nipples can be identified and resolved. I will watch you feed your baby and offer suggestions of different ways to hold and position your baby at the breast. Your milk supply and a plan to develop strategies to help decrease or increase this supply will be discussed. I will listen to your concerns and frustrations and come up with a feeding plan that works for you. All the problems that arise can be dealt with and devise solutions that work for you and for your baby.
What help is there for non-breastfeeding mums?
While breast feeding is a wonderful thing for a mum to be able to do and has huge benefits for her baby, sometimes it just does not work for either mum or baby. So as a Lactation Consultant, I am here to support you when you decide to commence formula feeding and to assist you in the transition from breast to bottle or to come up with a solution that involves doing both.
How long are appointments?
Appointments last for 30-60 minutes and ongoing appointments can be made until your baby is feeding well, is settled between feeds and is gaining weight.
Elaine Daniels, RN, RM, Graduate Certificate in Adult and Tertiary Education, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)