How to Choose a Lactation Consultant
This is a delicate time for you and your growing family. You want to choose a lactation consultant who can flow with your family's culture and lifestyle. Our families come in many different races, creeds & colors. Can they support you if you prefer a more medical approach or perhaps a more natural / holistic approach? Are you planning to chest-feed? Are you adopting a baby and want to breastfeed? There is someone out there for everyone! Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Direct referrals are always nice to have. Do you know someone who had a good experience with your lactation consultant? Did your healthcare provider recommend that you see this person? A referral gives you the comfort in knowing someone you trust also trusts your lactation consultant.
Not only how much experience, but what kind of experience do they have. Was your baby born at home, a birth center or in the hospital? Is your baby a few hours, a few days or a few months old. Lactation consultants come from many different backgrounds. Hospitals, private practice, Le Leche League, WIC, & Baby Cafe' are just a few places lactation consultants may have received their experience. You want a lactation consultant who has experience with your specific situation.
Although the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) continues to set the standard for lactation care through producing International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC's), there are many different types of lactation professionals. Ask your lactation professional about their education, are they a CLC, an IBCLC, or perhaps a CBS. What type of continuing education have they taken? If you have a complex breastfeeding problem like tongue tie, failure to thrive, or any issue that has not gotten better with basic lactation support, you owe it to yourself and your baby to find an IBCLC who has specific training in your area of concern.
5. Multidisciplinary Approach
Is your lactation consultant prepared to work professionally with your pediatrician, midwife, chiropractor, dentist, speech language pathologist, obstetrician, etc, if needed? Do they have providers that they regularly work with or refer to if necessary? Fluid communication between your lactation consultant and your other healthcare providers is imperative to your breastfeeding success.