Here at Beginnings Birth Center, we know how important it is for mothers to be properly educated and supported during the entire breastfeeding process. First, we offer classes during pregnancy so you have the knowledge base to be confident going into your breastfeeding relationship. Our nurse-midwives and registered nurses are trained in helping with breastfeeding and can troubleshoot many issues that can arise with your breastfeeding journey. When problems arise that are beyond our expertise, we have lactation consultants and lactation counselors available for consultation whenever needed. There is usually an out-of-pocket cost for the visits, but prices can be discussed ahead of time (and are very reasonable) – so just let us know if you have questions – and please don’t just suffer if think you can’t afford a visit.
What are the differences between lactation consultants and lactation counselors?
When we say “lactation consultant,” we mean someone who holds the title “International Board Certified Lactation Consultant or IBCLC.” According to the International Lactation Consultant Association, “an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) is a healthcare professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding. An IBCLC is certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®), independently accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). An IBCLC works in a wide variety of settings, providing leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research in the lactation field.” They have many hours of formal education in fourteen health science subjects; followed by a minimum of 500 hours of lactation-specific clinical practice precepted by a practicing IBCLC, and finally pass a comprehensive certification exam. They maintain their credential with many hours of continuing education and testing.
When we say “lactation counselor,” we mean someone who holds the title “Certified Lactation Counselor, or CLC.” One of the organizations who certifies CLCs is The Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice (ALPP). According to ALPP, a CLC is, “a professional in lactation counseling who has demonstrated the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes to provide clinical breastfeeding counseling and management support to families who are thinking about breastfeeding or who have questions or problems during the course of breastfeeding/lactation.” The requirements for a CLC’s education are: A minimum three college credit course, 45 hours of training based on the WHO/UNICEF (World Health Organization/United Nations Children’s Fund) Breastfeeding Counseling Training Course, and demonstrate the competencies and skills required to provide safe, evidence-based counseling for pregnant, lactating, and breastfeeding women, within the context of the course. They then take the ALPP CLC exam and are required to maintain their certification with continuing education.
Are there online resources for help with some of my breastfeeding questions?
Breastfeeding in the early days can have its challenges, but we are here to help you off to the best start. Some of our favorite articles to refer to for breastfeeding help online are included here:
Breastfeeding your newborn — what to expect in the early weeks at Kellymom.com
Asymmetrical latch video – Dr. Jack Newman
Frequent nursing at Kellymom.com
Is baby getting enough milk? At Kellymom.com
Cluster feeding at Kellymom.com
When breastfeeding is hard at Kellymom.com
Breastfeeding challenges in the early days at Kellymom.com
Breastfeeding common concerns list at Kellymom.com
Breastfeeding and Vitamin D at Kellymom.com
Plugged ducts and mastitis at Kellymom.com
Baby gas massage and exercises video
What happens if my baby has a tongue or lip tie?
Tongue and/or lip ties exist when there is tissue in the baby’s mouth that is connected too tight for proper movement of the mouth. This can cause problems with getting a proper latch with feeding, problems with the baby transferring milk from the breast, constant and unrelenting nipple pain for the mom, and severe and recurrent clogged ducts for mom, among other problems. We refer to pediatric dental specialists when there are issues with lip or tongue ties that affect breastfeeding for you and your baby. Even if you don’t breastfeed, tongue and lip ties have the potential to affect bottle feeding and, later, speech, so evaluation and revision is usually ideal early on to prevent future problems. Often, appointments can be obtained within a week and revision can be done the same day. Revision usually involves a very fast procedure of cutting the tissue that is too tight with a laser that is designed for this purpose. Insurance coverage varies, but baby will need to have been added to your insurance plan prior to their appointment with the dentist. We primarily refer to Briargate Pediatric Dentistry and you may contact their office through their website here.
What about breast pumps?
A breast pump is often a help to have around if you plan to breastfeed. Being able to express milk so that you can be away from your baby is usually necessary at some point for moms. With most insurance plans, there is coverage for some type of breast pump. There are many companies that will coordinate getting a breast pump with your insurance coverage, and we usually refer to Aeroflow Breast Pumps. Also, some breast pumps are meant only for a single user, others can be re-used or shared. Some breast pumps are meant only for very occasional use and some are designed to be strong enough to be able to maintain your milk supply if you will need to be away from your baby for many hours most days. Be sure to discuss your options for breast pumps with your nurse-midwife, nurse, IBCLC, or CLC before choosing one to let us help you get the pump that is right for you. Most often, Medela (which are a single-user pump) or Spectra (which are reusable) are great options for pumps that will be helpful whether you need occasional pumping or frequent long-term pumping. Whether you need a few hours away or are going back to work full-time, a breast pump is a valuable tool. Once you’ve pumped the milk – storage and use guidelines for your milk can be found here.
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