When Should I Call a Lactation Consultant?
Breastfeeding should be pleasant for you and your baby! If either one of you is not having a good time, something is not right. As a new mom, you have instincts to guide you. Your baby has instincts and very strong reflexes to guide him. But neither one of you has ever done this before and, most likely, you have never seen a baby breastfeed. It’s likely you will need some help.
Contact a lactation consultant immediately if you experience:
- Any nipple pain in the first 24 hours after birth. Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt—ever! Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is not right.
- Sore nipples that are not feeling and looking better each day.
- Redness, pain or severe swelling in the breast.
- Twins or more.
Or if your baby experiences:
- Inadequate weight gain or inadequate wet/dirty diapers at any time.
- Weight loss after day four.
- Trouble latching on to the breast or seeming to latch on but “falling off” after a short time.
- Long feeds after day three (over 45 minutes of continuous nursing) or feeding very frequently (every hour or less).
- Fussiness or inability to settle after feedings.
- Very short feedings (less than 5 minutes) or no interest in feeding at least every 3 hours.
You may consider meeting with a lactation consultant before the birth of your baby if you had trouble breastfeeding a previous child. A visit with a skilled LC can put things in perspective for you and help you avoid problems with the new baby. Prenatal consultations are also helpful if you have any concerns regarding your health, you’re expecting multiples, or you’ve had any surgery on your breasts or chest.
A lactation consultant can be invaluable when you’re preparing to return to the work force. She can guide you in maintaining a milk supply, pumping at work, helping baby learn to drink from a bottle or cup and assuring that you get enough sleep!
Are you returning to work soon? Wondering how to pump enough milk for your baby, get all your work done, AND get a decent amount of sleep? You don’t have to live in Seattle to receive expert guidance from our resident lactation consultant. Renee Beebe, M.Ed., IBCLC, is available for phone consultations for moms anywhere. You may reach her at www.second9months.com. Send her an email and she’ll call you the same day to set up a “meeting.” She will help you develop a customized plan for meeting your baby’s needs while you’re at work or school.
For hands-on help outside of the Seattle area, ask your health care provider for a referral to a reputable lactation consultant. A directory of lactation consultants can be found at the International Lactation Consultant Association website: www.ilca.org.