Yes, lactation consultants can be very helpful for new parents. In fact, research shows that women who are seen by a lactation consultant are significantly more likely to be exclusively breastfeeding at one month (Patel & Patel, 2015).
Lactation consultants are trained professionals who specialise in providing support, education, and guidance to new mothers who are experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding or have questions about feeding. They have extensive knowledge of lactation, breastfeeding techniques, and common challenges that parents may face.
Here are a few ways in which lactation consultants can be helpful:
- Assessing breastfeeding difficulties: Lactation consultants can assess the latch, positioning, and overall breastfeeding technique to identify any issues that may be causing discomfort or difficulties for both the mother and the baby.
- Providing education and guidance: They can educate mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding, proper latch techniques, breastfeeding positions, and how to establish and maintain a good milk supply. They can also provide information about common breastfeeding challenges such as engorgement, low milk supply, nipple pain, or blocked ducts.
- Addressing specific concerns: If a mother has specific concerns or questions related to breastfeeding, a lactation consultant can provide individualized advice and support. They can address issues like slow weight gain in the baby, breastfeeding after returning to work, breastfeeding multiples, or breastfeeding a premature baby.
- Troubleshooting problems: Lactation consultants can help identify and troubleshoot problems such as inadequate milk transfer, nipple soreness, mastitis, or thrush. They can provide strategies and techniques to overcome these challenges and continue breastfeeding successfully.
- Emotional support: Breastfeeding can sometimes be emotionally challenging for new mothers. Lactation consultants provide emotional support and encouragement to help mothers build confidence in their breastfeeding journey.
It’s important to note that lactation consultants work in collaboration with other healthcare providers, such as pediatricians or obstetricians, to ensure comprehensive care for the mother and baby. If you’re experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding or have concerns, consulting a lactation consultant can be a valuable resource – please reach out!