February 28, 2011

Lactation Consultants 101


And Other Resources For Breastfeeding Help

By Leah Black


I’d never heard of lactation consultants before I became pregnant. But, along with just about every other new mom I know, I ended up using one postpartum. There are so many issues that can get in the way of breastfeeding successfully–from a baby who won’t latch on to breast pain or infection–and sometimes, even if you’ve taken a breastfeeding class, hiring a consultant is your best solution.

In my situation, breastfeeding started out great. It was only after six weeks that I developed some issues that made me question whether I’d be able to continue. I am so glad I called a lactation consultant, who came to my apartment and was able to help get me back on track with some very simple tips.

If you are pregnant and plan on breastfeeding, it’s a good idea to make a list of a few consultants you can call if you develop any issues after the baby arrives. Most consultants make home visits and charge anywhere from $150 to $300 per visit (some insurance plans will cover a lactation consult).
It’s important to have more than just one name on hand; in my case, I had to call four before I found one who was available–the others were all booked up, and when you are in search of a lactation consultant, you generally need her asap.

You can start by asking any mom friends if they have any consultants they can recommend. It’s good to get a personal recommendation–consultants each have their own approach and you may find one better suits your personality than the others.

Perhaps one of the most widely known lactation consultants is Freda Rosenfeld, who was dubbed “The Breast Whisperer” in a New York Times article. I know several moms who used her and said she was great (she was booked up when I called her).

You can also try the New York Lactation Consultant Organization: they have a list of local, board-certified consultants (including Rosenfeld) who make home visits, and their contact information.

In my case, I found my lactation consultant through the website Park Slope Parents, whose members post reviews of consultants they love, which you can view here.


OTHER SOURCES FOR BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT

If you need immediate help and don’t want to hire a lactation consultant, there are other options available.

Breastfeeding Support Groups: La Leche League of New York holds meetings throughout the city (click here to find one near you) where you can bring your baby and get help from an experienced La Leche League leader.

Websites: There are two great websites for breastfeeding help. The first is kellymom.com, founded by a mom and lactation consultant and filled with extremely helpful articles on everything from milk supply issues to what to eat when nursing to weaning. The other is drjacknewman.com, run by a pediatrician and breastfeeding expert who founded The Newman Breastfeeding Clinic & Institute. It features articles on common breastfeeding problems and videos with tips and techniques.

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Find more great articles like this in our New York Family Baby section.

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