Choosing a Lactation Consultant

Choosing a Lactation Consultant

Lactation consultants are specialists in the art and science of breastfeeding. If you’re having trouble breastfeeding, or if you just want to avoid trouble down the road, hiring a lactation consultant can be very helpful.

But how do you know if a particular lactation consultant has the experience and skills to help you?

You can start by asking your physician or midwife for a referral. Friends and neighbors are great referral sources as well. Make sure the lactation consultant is actually a lactation consultant! She should have the letters “IBCLC” after her name. Finally, when choosing a lactation consultant, ask about her experience and approach. Listen carefully when you talk to her about your particular concerns. Be wary of “guarantees” and words like “never” or “always.”

Many of my clients come to me after a bad experience with another lactation consultant. I have compiled a list of statements that clients have heard over and over again. These are red flags! If a lactation consultant (or anyone else for that matter) says any of the following, run the other direction!

  • Your baby will never breastfeed.
  • Your baby is too old to learn to breastfeed.
  • You’ve missed your “window of opportunity” to breastfeed.
  • You can exclusively breastfeed, no matter what.
  • Your breasts/nipples are too__________ to breastfeed.
  • If you eat ________ it will make your baby sick.
  • Your milk may not be good enough for your baby.
  • Your baby is allergic to your milk.
  • You’re not successful breastfeeding because you’re not trying hard enough.
  • Your baby doesn’t like/want your breast.
  • If you take this herb/medication, I promise you’ll make more milk.
  • If you’ve had any breast surgery, you will not make enough milk for your baby.
  • It’s normal to have nipple pain.
  • Your nipples need to toughen up.
  • Babies always have to eat on both sides each feeding.
  • Babies should always have just one breast per feeding.
  • Your baby should stay on the breast for _____ minutes.
  • Your baby is a lazy nurser.
  • Finger feeding is better than bottle feeding.
  • Your baby won’t want to breastfeed if you give her a bottle.

There are many highly skilled, compassionate lactation consultants who provide their clients with excellent care. Be discerning and you will find the right person to help you along your breastfeeding journey!