Lactation is the process of producing and secreting milk from mammary glands for the nourishment of newborns. Lactation consultants are healthcare professionals who specialize in providing support and education to mothers and families during the breastfeeding journey. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of what a LC is, what they do, and how they can help new mothers.
What is a Lactation Consultant?
A lactation consultant is a healthcare professional who specializes in supporting and educating mothers during the breastfeeding process. They help mothers overcome challenges and achieve their breastfeeding goals. Lactation consultants work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices.
Lactation consultants are usually certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE). To become certified, LCs must complete a minimum of 90 hours of lactation-specific education, 1,000 hours of clinical experience, and pass a rigorous exam.
What does a Lactation Consultant do? Lactation consultants play a critical role in helping mothers successfully breastfeed their newborns. They provide a range of services, including:
- Breastfeeding education: LC educate mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding, proper latch techniques, and milk production.
- Assessing breastfeeding difficulties: LC evaluate the mother and baby’s breastfeeding experience, including any difficulties or challenges, such as low milk supply, nipple pain, or poor latch.
- Providing solutions and recommendations: Based on their assessment, LC provide solutions and recommendations to help mothers overcome any challenges they may be facing. This may include advice on positioning, latch techniques, and breastfeeding frequency.
- Supporting mothers emotionally: Breastfeeding can be an emotional experience for many mothers, and lactation consultants provide emotional support and encouragement throughout the breastfeeding journey.
- Advocating for breastfeeding: LC are strong advocates for breastfeeding and work to promote and protect the practice.
How can a Lactation Consultant help new mothers?
Lactation consultants can be a valuable resource for new mothers, especially those who are experiencing difficulties or challenges with breastfeeding. Here are some of the ways lactation consultants can help new mothers:
- Provide support and encouragement: LC offer emotional support and encouragement to new mothers during the breastfeeding journey.
- Solve breastfeeding difficulties: LC can help new mothers overcome breastfeeding difficulties, such as poor latch, low milk supply, or nipple pain.
- Improve breastfeeding success: LC can help improve breastfeeding success rates by providing education and guidance on proper breastfeeding techniques and milk production.
- Reduce the risk of health problems: Breastfeeding has been linked to several health benefits for both mother and baby, and they can help new mothers achieve these benefits.
- Provide education and resources: LC provide education and resources to new mothers to help them make informed decisions about breastfeeding and promote a positive breastfeeding experience.
Lactation consultants play an important role in supporting and educating new mothers during the breastfeeding journey. They offer various services, such as breastfeeding education, assessing and solving difficulties, emotional support, and advocacy for breastfeeding. Lactation consultants can be a valuable resource for new mothers, especially those experiencing difficulties or challenges with breastfeeding. If you are a new mother struggling with breastfeeding, consider reaching out to a lactation consultant for support and guidance.