Lactation Consultation

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What are the risks and/or side effects?

Lactation consultation is simply advice and coaching and does not have any risks. A lactation consultant can be a source of great support, but should not take the place of a doctor’s advice. Call your baby’s doctor today if you notice any of the following:

  • On the 1st day of life, your baby doesn’t have at least 1 wet diaper and 1 messy diaper in a 24‐hour period.
  • On the 2nd day of life, fewer than 2 wet diapers and 2 messy diapers in a 24‐hour period.
  • On the 3rd day of life, fewer than 3 wet diapers and 3 messy diapers in a 24‐hour period.
  • On the 4th day of life, your breastfed baby has fewer than 4 wet diapers and fewer than 4 mustard‐yellow stools (poops) in a 24‐hour period.
  • After the 4th day of life, your breastfed baby has fewer than 6 wet diapers and fewer than 4 mustard‐yellow stools (poops) in a 24‐hour period
  • In the first 2 months, no messy diapers at all in a 24-hour period. 
  • Sudden changes in bowel movements combined with irritability, poor eating, or other concerns.
  • Diarrhea, or stool that’s watery, green, foul‐smelling, or contains mucus or blood.
  • Signs of discomfort with urination (peeing) or failure to urinate within 24 hours of a circumcision.
  • Jaundice (a yellow appearance) that does not go away, or spreads to cover more of your baby’s body.
  • Poor eating (for example, refusal to eat at all, or consistently sleeping 5 to 6 hours between feedings).
  • Thrush, a condition in which white or grayish‐white, slightly raised patches that look like milk curds appear on the tongue, throat, inside of the cheeks, or the lips.

Call your doctor if:

  • Your milk has not come in by the morning of the 5th day (no change in your breasts).
  • You have extremely painful nipples or cracks blisters or blood on your nipples.
  • You have a sudden increase in nipple soreness (with or without a rash) that continues after the end of a breastfeeding session.
  • You have throbbing pain in one breast, or a part of your breast becomes red and extremely painful to the touch.
  • You have flu-like symptoms, such as chills, body aches, fatigue, or a headache.
  • You have a fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or greater.
  • You have a breast infection that doesn’t get better after 24 hours of being treated with antibiotics.
  • You have plugged milk ducts that don’t go away or that keep coming back.
  • You or your baby has a yeast infection, or your yeast infection doesn’t go away after treatment.

What are the benefits?

Lactation consultation has many benefits including:

  • Making breastfeeding go more smoothly
  • Helping you solve problems and overcome obstacles to breastfeeding
  • Giving you support and peace of mind, especially if you are breastfeeding for the first time.

How do I prepare?

You don’t need to do anything to prepare for lactation consultation. However, it helps to learn about breastfeeding before your baby is born so you can work together as a partner with the lactation consultant.

How is it done or administered?

The lactation consultant will ask you questions about how breastfeeding is going, how you’re feeling, and any problems you’re having. The consultant will also watch you breastfeed your baby and make suggestions about how to hold the baby and help the baby latch on. The lactation consultant may also recommend ways to soothe sore or cracked nipples. A good lactation consultant will provide encouragement as well as advice.

Support and Resources

Intermountain Healthcare, “A Guide to Breastfeeding: Living and Learning Together”: https://intermountainhealthcare.org/ext/Dcmnt?ncid=51062832

(Intermountain has a number of other handouts about specific aspects of breastfeeding that may be useful to patients)

International Lactation Consultant Association, “Find a Lactation Consultant”: http://www.ilca.org/why-ibclc/falc

Lactation consultation is coaching and support for women to help them breastfeed. Lactation consultation gives you the extra support you need for solving problems such as positioning the baby and making sure the baby is getting enough milk. Lactation consultation can also help women understand how to take care of themselves while breastfeeding, including problems with sore nipples and questions about nutrition. Lactation consultation may be done by a nurse, doctor, or certified lactation consultant.

Many hospitals offer this service. You can also find your own lactation consultant to help you in the hospital or at home. Check with your insurance company for in-network consultants.

What is Lactation Consultation?

Lactation consultation is coaching and support for women to help them breastfeed. Breastfeeding has many benefits for both you and your baby. However, breastfeeding doesn’t come easily for everyone. It takes practice and patience to find what works best for you and your baby. Lactation consultation gives you the extra support you need for practicing and solving problems with breastfeeding.

Lactation consultation can be helpful in addressing challenges and concerns such as:

  • Trouble with positioning the baby and helping the baby latch on
  • Questions about how often to feed the baby
  • Worrying that your baby is not getting enough milk
  • Sore or tender nipples
  • Breast engorgement and plugged milk ducts
  • Pumping and fitting breastfeeding into your life
  • How to take care of your health and nutrition while breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding babies with special health needs

Lactation consultation may be done by a nurse, doctor, or certified lactation consultant.

Lactation Consultation in the Hospital

After your baby is born, a nurse will likely help you start with breastfeeding and give you some support and coaching. Many hospitals also have a certified lactation consultant who can help you, especially if breastfeeding is not going as smoothly as you’d like. A lactation consultant can also be helpful when you or your baby have special healthcare needs that make breastfeeding a challenge.

Lactation Consultation After You Bring the Baby Home

Many women need support for breastfeeding after they leave the hospital. You may want to find a lactation consultant before you need one. This way, you can make the call as soon as you need help without having to look for someone.

To find a lactation consultant, ask your doctor or the baby’s pediatrician for a recommendation. You can also find a lactation consultant by going to the International Lactation Consultant Association’s website. Enter your zip code to find a consultant near you.

Under the Affordable Care Act, lactation consultation should be covered by your health plan without cost sharing (co-payments). Some consultants accept health insurance and some don’t. Check with your health insurance plan about what is covered and which consultants are in your network.